Thursday at the track: Garrity picks 4 races at Belmont Park and Keeneland
Belmont Park and Keeneland are the marquee tracks running today, and we have a pair of plays at each. The weather will be perfect in both New York and Kentucky, and the dirt fast and the turf firm. Let’s go.
Belmont Park, Race 6, 3:38 pm EDT
Maiden Special Weight, 1⅜ miles, Turf, 3 & Up
A field of nine maidens goes to the post for this maiden turf race. We like a horse at a price, 1-Pure Carmine. He starts for Neil Drysdale, a Hall of Fame trainer who is based in Southern California, and therefore does not start many horses on the New York circuit.
We can see why Drysdale is running Pure Carmine here, rather than at Santa Anita, as the 3-year-old colt’s stretch-running style is a better fit for the sweeping turns of the Belmont Park turf than it is for the more speed-oriented grass racing out West. Pure Carmine is lightly raced, still appears to have quite a bit of upside, and while this 11-furlong distance is longer than the mile and an eighth in his last, we think he will appreciate the additional ground. We think he has a big shot at a good price; we will bet Pure Carmine to win at 8-1. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 6, $35 to win on 1-Pure Carmine.
Keeneland, Race 7, 4:24 pm ET
Allowance, 1½ miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
Nine older females go in this second-level allowance, and we like the filly on the rail, 1-Eliade. She’s a French-bred 4-year-old Chad Brown trainee who has been seeming to ask for more ground, for longer races, than the 1 ⅜ distance of her last three starts. We think this mile and a half on firm turf is perfect, as she did well on it in Europe; she seems to be rounding into form, and appears to be ready to best this modest group. We will bet her to win at 2-1. The bet: Keeneland, Race 7, $50 to win on 1-Eliade.
Belmont Park, Race 8, 4:47 pm ET
Allowance, 6 furlongs, Dirt, New York-breds 3 & Up
A full field of eleven state-breds goes to the post here, and we are going with a straight speed-figure play in the form of 11-Bears Mafia. This 5-year-old gelding has been on a tear of late, winning his last five races, and his speed figures in those races are better than just about anything any other runner in the field has managed. If he’d earned those figs at Belmont or Saratoga, he’s probably be 7/5, but because they were earned at Finger Lakes, a second-string track, he’s 4-1. We’ll take that all day long, because speed figures take into account the nature of a racetrack, and the 88 Beyer Speed Figure Bears Mafia earned winning an allowance at Finger Lakes last out is the same as an 88 anywhere else. He looks better than the other runners, and he has speed and an outside post position, so we’re going to the window. We will bet him to win at 4-1. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 8, $40 to win on 11-Bears Mafia.
Keeneland, Race 9, 5:30 pm ET
Allowance, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, 3 & Up
The second of our two turf races at Keeneland today is this allowance for older males. The pick is 6-Spectacular Gem, who starts for trainer Jimmy Baker. He last ran in the Grade 1 Turf Classic at Churchill Downs, which was on the Kentucky Derby undercard on September 5, and though his running line shows he finished sixth, we think that he ran a deceptively good race that day, contesting a pretty quick pace, and continuing to try down the stretch. He gets relief today in two ways that we think are important: he drops from graded stakes to allowance company, and he cuts back to a mile and a sixteenth from a mile and an eighth in his last. Look for him to press the pace early, open up at the top of the stretch, and win going away. We think Spectacular Gem is sitting on a big one, and will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Keeneland, Race 9, $40 to win on 6-Spectacuar Gem.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.