Friday at the track: Garrity picks 2 races at Belmont and 3 at Keeneland, including the Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes
The next few weeks stack up to be pretty good in our little horsey corner of the world. Tomorrow is a big day, with major stakes at Belmont Park and Keeneland, and then, believe it or not, we can start the countdown to the Breeders Cup, which begins four weeks from today. It is something good to look forward to, and we’ll take every one of those we can get in this truly awful year.
But before we get to the weekend, and to what lies beyond, we have today, and that means two good cards in New York and Kentucky. Both places have had a run of sublime fall weather in recent days, and that will continue this afternoon, as conditions will be perfect both on Long Island and in the Kentucky bluegrass. We have four plays today, in four races, and expect fast and firm conditions in all of them. Let’s go.
Belmont Park, Race 8, 4:47 pm ET
Allowance, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 3 & Up
This first-level allowance drew a field of eight. We like 3-Adare, who starts for Neil Drysdale. He has run four times, all in Southern California, and he has improved every time he has run. Further improvement here means the rest of the field is running for second money -- and we think that is exactly what will happen here. We will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 8, $40 to win on 3-Adare.
Keeneland, Race 8, 4:57 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
This very tough non-winners-of-three allowance dirt sprint drew a full field of twelve. The pick is 4-Looking at Bikinis, who starts for trainer Chad Brown. He checks a lot of our handicapping boxes: he is coming out of a Grade 1 race, he’s got the best last-race speed figure in the field, he’s a lightly raced 4-year-old who seems to be hitting his best stride right now, and he cuts back to 7 furlongs from a one-turn mile. We think he wins this race impressively, and our only hope is that when the gates open, he is remotely close to his 3-1 morning line price. We will bet him to win, and we will do so aggressively. We will also use him to leverage a short-price standout in Race 9 (see below for race analysis) by betting the Double comprising Races 8 and 9. The bets: Keeneland, Race 8, $60 to win on 4-Looking at Bikinis; $50 double, 4 (Looking at Bikinis) with 10 (Get Stormy).
Keeneland, Race 9, 5:30 pm ET
Grade 3 Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes, 5 ½ furlongs, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
Twelve go in the day’s lone graded stakes race, a 5 ½ furlong turf sprint for older females, but any analysis of the race has to go through 6/5 morning line favorite 10-Got Stormy. She is by far the most accomplished runner in the field, and her recent form towers over what the other 11 have done.
As much as we’d love to take a swing against her, we think that Got Stormy is just too good. There’s no such thing as a sure thing in horse racing -- too much can go wrong, especially in a field this size -- but she is about as close as it gets. We don’t think that she will offer much value in the win pool, but we can use our pick in Race 8 (see above) to leverage her odds in the Double. She’ll probably go off at something like 4/5, but look for Got Stormy to make odds that short look like a bargain.
Belmont Park, Race 9, 5:20 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
Only seven older females line up for this turf allowance, but it’s a pretty good group, and a good betting race. Chad Brown starts two of them, and we like the one with the bigger price, 4-Orglandes. She’s a French-bred 4-year-old filly with a pretty good turf pedigree, and she won a couple of pretty good races in France last year, before coming back from a layoff of over a year to finish third in her American debut, which was in an allowance race at Monmouth Park on September 6. We think she probably needed that race, and we like to see that Brown has put three good morning works into her since. We think she’s sitting on a big race today, and at 5-1, that makes her a very good play. Look for her to be flying late. We will bet her to win. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 9, $40 to win on 4-Orglandes.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.