Garrity's Saturday Stakes picks races at Belmont, Woodbine, Keeneland and Santa Anita
There’s a mixed bag of stakes racing today: with the Breeders Cup in just two weeks, the top horses are all in their barns, training and getting ready for that terrific championship event, leaving it to the second- and third-stringers to fill out the fields in today’s black-type races.
But that’s OK, as cash taken away from the window after an overnight stakes is just as sweet as cashing in a Grade 1. There are four stakes today, from one end of the continent to the other, and they comprise our four plays for this Saturday. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them, except as noted below. Let’s go.
Belmont Park, Race 9, 4:47 pm ET
$80,000 Floral Park Stakes, 6 furlongs, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
There was a goodly amount of rain in New York yesterday, and the turf course at Belmont was unsurprisingly listed as soft on Saturday morning. That changes the complexion of this race pretty significantly, as a couple of the twelve runners who would be logical contenders on firm turf are going to find the boggy going very tough.
We like a big price here, 11-Sunny Dale. She has been running exclusively on dirt of late: the first three races of her career were on turf, but after she showed little promise on the sod, finishing far back each time, she was moved to the main track, and has run on dirt ever since, 13 times in all.
She’s hard to endorse based on the running lines in her past performances, but we think she may wake up, in a big way, running over the soft Belmont turf. Is she a sure thing? No. But in a field where virtually all of the runners appear to have little affinity for the kind of going they will get today, we think she’s in with a shot at a big price. We will be betting on it. She’s 15-1, and could go off at an even higher price. We will bet her to win and to place. The bets: Belmont Park, Race 9, $25 to win/$20 to place on 11-Sunny Dale.
Woodbine, Race 8, 5:10 pm ET
$100,000 Glorious Song Stakes, 7 furlongs, Synthetic (Tapeta), 2-Year-Old Fillies
Seven lightly raced juvenile fillies line up for the Glorious Song. We’re all over the chalk, 3-Souper Sensational. She’s very well-bred, by top sire Curlin out of an Indian Charlie mare, and while she has only one career start, it was a sharp effort, a win in a maiden race on Sept. 26, in which she earned very good speed and pace figures. That race was at Woodbine, and over the same surface and distance as this race. She looks to us to be a filly on the come, as is evidenced by her lone workout since her maiden win, which was absolutely sensational. It looks to us like she is the class of the field, so we will bet her to win at 2-1. The bet: Woodbine, Race 8, $40 to win on 3-Souper Sensational.
Keeneland, Race 9, 5:30 pm ET
Grade 2 Raven Run Stakes, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Old FIllies
The Raven Run drew a field of ten. It’s a pretty talented group, but there is one filly who seems significantly more talented than the rest: 5-Venetian Harbor. She comes from the Richie Baltas barn, and while she comes into this race off three consecutive runner-up finishes, they were in unbelievably tough races, especially her last, when she finished behind Gamine, who is probably going to be this year’s champion 3-year-old filly. The other nine fillies entered in the Raven Run are not pushovers, so she’s going to have to run to beat them, but Venetian Harbor looks to us to be superior, and even better, we think she’s sitting on a big race today. We like her so much that we are comfortable taking her at relatively short odds of 7/5. We will bet her to win, and we will do so enthusiastically and aggressively. The bet: Keeneland, Race 9, $75 to win on 5-Venetian Harbor.
Santa Anita Park, Race 9, 8:15 pm ET
Grade 3 Autumn Miss Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 3-Year-Old FIllies
Seven line up for the Autumn Miss. It’s a chalky pick, but we think that you won’t miss with 5-Warren’s Showtime. She’s a Craig Lewis-trained California-bred with a modest pedigree, but she has outrun her modest breeding in her twelve-race career so far, winning a couple of minor stakes earlier this year, and being very competitive in some bigger races, including her last start, when she took the lead at the top of the stretch, and looked like a winner, in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks, only to be passed very late, and finishing third. That was a big effort, and while we might normally be a bit concerned with her regressing after such a taxing race, that start was nearly two months ago, so we think she has had enough time to recover and be physically primed to run today. She looks to be the best of the field by a pretty wide margin, so we will bet her to win at 9/5. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 9, $40 to win on 5-Warren’s Showtime.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.