Friday at the track: Garrity picks 4 races at Belmont Park including the 3rd, a $50,000 Maiden Claiming
With racing on the West Coast dark until tomorrow, when Del Mar opens its fall meeting, the action in the racing world is focused east of the Mississippi River, where it’s been very wet the past few days. We will head back to Belmont Park today, then, for four more plays on an afternoon that looks like a perfect candidate for fuzzy bunny slippers, a warm sweater, a hot toddy, and speed in the slop.
All races at Big Sandy are off the turf and will be run over a sloppy main track. Let’s go.
Belmont Park, Race 3, 1:45 pm ET
$50,000 Maiden Claiming, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, 2-Year-Old Fillies
After scratches, a field of seven will line up for this maiden claimer for juveniles. 4-Well Kept Secret is the pick, and a strong one: he did a speed-and-fade in his career debut, setting the pace before finishing last at Belmont on October 9, and while horses making their second start after doing that frequently improve, we think two things make a step forward even more likely for him: one is that has a pretty good off-track pedigree, and the other is that his career debut was in a Maiden Special Weight race, and here he drops to maiden claiming (this is, as we’ve said countless times, the biggest class drop in horse racing).
We think Well Kept will make the lead pretty easily and will win this race in wire-to-wire fashion. We will bet him to win, and we will do so enthusiastically. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 3, $50 to win on 4-Well Kept.
Belmont Park, Race 5, 2:49 pm ET
$10,000 Claiming, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
A full field of ten goes to the starting gate in this claiming race. Partly because of the size of the field and partly because of the tendencies of the horses who comprise it, we see the pace as being very fast, which will lead to a winner coming from a bit behind, and we think that will be 2-Deep Sea. He earned competitive speed figures in his last three starts, all claiming races run on fast tracks, but in the past, he has run well in the slop, with three wins and two seconds in eight career wet-track starts. Look for him to be about five lengths behind the horses leading during the first four furlongs of this race, and to move to the front when that group begins to tire and shorten stride. We will bet him to win at 4-1. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 5, $30 to win on 2-Deep Sea.
Belmont Park, Race 7, 3:22 pm ET
Allowance, 7 furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
This race was originally scheduled for turf, and the rain-induced switch to dirt has resulted in a host of scratches, leaving six females to go to the gate. We fancy one of them, 3-My Sweet Wife, who broke her maiden in her last start in a race that was rained off the turf and onto the main track. That was on fast dirt, and today the going will be different, but that actually causes us to like her more, as she has a superb wet-track pedigree (by Candy Ride, out of an Arch mare), and we think she moves up in the slop. She’s 10-1 on the morning line, but those odds were set for grass, and for a bigger field; we think she’ll probably be something like 2-1 at post time, and at that price, we think she’s a good play. We will bet her to win. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 7, $40 to win on 3-My Sweet Wife.
Belmont Park, Race 9, 4:57 pm ET
Allowance, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
This first-level allowance drew a field of nine. There are two things about this race that we think we know: one is that it will be a slopfest, and the other is that 2-Foolish Ghost, who has an inside post and by far the most early speed in the field, will get the early lead. The question is whether he can keep it.
We think the answer is no, that he will not be able to wire this pretty tough group at this 7-furlong distance, and that makes the pick 3-Edge of Fire, who starts for trainer Jimmy Jerkens. He comes into this race off a layoff, having last run on July 2, but we think he will be sharp today, and he should get a good trip here from a pace standpoint, sitting behind what we think will be fast early fractions. From there, it’s just a question of whether he’s good enough, but both his running style (he won his career debut with a similar stalking trip), and his superb sloppy-track breeding (he’s by Curlin, out of a Tapit mare) make us think that he will be. We will bet him to win at 5-1. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 9, $40 to win on 3-Edge of Fire.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.