Garrity's Saturday Stakes picks for Aqueduct, Churchill Downs & Del Mar, with the Desi Arnaz, Artie Schiller
It’s a relatively quiet Saturday in the horse racing world, which is unsurprising, as the biggest event of the year, the Breeders Cup, was last week, and we’re now heading into the shank end of the racing calendar.
But there are still races to be played, and though they might not be Breeders Cup or Grade 1 stakes, we’ve found four good ones this afternoon, a pair at Aqueduct and one each at Churchill Downs and Del Mar. We expect fast dirt in the three dirt races, and yielding turf (see below) in the grass race in New York.
Aqueduct, Race 7, 2:45 pm ET
$100,000 Notebook Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, New York-bred 2-Year-Olds
The main track at the Big A was listed as muddy on Saturday morning, but with sunny and dry conditions expected throughout the day, we think it should be fast by post time of the Notebook stakes, which drew a field of seven.
There is a ton of speed in the race, enough that we’re expecting an unsustainably fast pace, and a winner coming from just behind it. That makes the pick 4-Eagle Orb. He set the pace in his last, a runner-up finish in the Sleepy Hollow at Belmont on Oct. 24, but that race was at a mile, and in this shorter race, the early fractions should be much faster. We think that with the cutback to six furlongs here, Eagle Orb should be back to doing what he did best earlier this year, which is to be a stalking sprinter. We see him sitting just behind the pacesetters, and seizing control when they begin to tire in mid-stretch. We will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 7, $40 to win on 4-Eagle Orb.
Aqueduct, Race 9, 3:47 pm ET
$100,000 Artie Schiller Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 3 & Up
After a goodly amount of rain this week, the outer turf course at the Big A, over which the Artie Schiller will be run, will be yielding. Eight horses, after scratches, will go to the post.
We think we’d like 4-Delaware on a firm turf course, but we like him a lot more on grass with some cut in it. The Juddmonte Farms homebred 4-year-old has been mostly a disappointment for trainer Chad Brown since being brought to the United States over the summer, having gone winless in three starts, including a disappointing fifth-place finish as the favorite in his last, the Grade 2 King Edward Stakes at Woodbine. But all three of his North American races were on firm turf, and we move him up over the yielding going, as he did well over similar ground in France last year. Look for him to be just behind the pacesetters early, to move to the front at the top of the stretch, and to hold off the closers late. We will bet him to win at 9/2. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 9, $40 to win on 4-Delaware.
Churchill Downs, Race 10, 5:36 pm ET
Grade 2 Mrs. Revere Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies
The Mrs. Revere was originally scheduled to be run on turf, but on Saturday morning was moved to dirt, which will be fast. After scratches, six sophomore fillies will go to the gate.
We like 2-Positive Danger. We wouldn’t bet counterfeit money on her if this were being run on turf, but on dirt we like her chances, even though she’s never run on dirt before, as she has a good dirt-oriented pedigree (by Uncle Mo, out of a Smart Strike mare). Far more important, though, is the fact that she has a huge pace edge on the rest of the field: She has good early speed, and the other five fillies have little. We see her getting a ridiculously easy early lead, and if there is one thing that is almost always true in this game, it’s that horses run the best they can when they can set the pace while staying well within themselves. We think Positive Danger is a positive danger to win the Mrs. Revere, and though we will not get her 15-1 morning line price -- those odds were set for grass -- we think she should still be a healthy number, probably something in the 6-1 range. We will take that all day, and will bet her to win. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 10, $40 to win on 2-Positive Danger.
Del Mar, Race 8, 7:00 pm ET
$100,000 Desi Arnaz Stakes, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, 2-Year-Old Fillies
Eight go in the Arnaz. It’s a corker of a race, with a couple of very promising fillies in the group. The one we like is 5-Queengol, who starts for trainer John Sadler. She broke her maiden in very impressive fashion, in her first start on Sept. 5, and finished second in her next race, in the Anoakia Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 18. We think that her run in the Anoakia was better than it looks, as she was wide throughout, and she seems to be sitting on a big race today. Look for her to stalk just behind the leaders early, and to move to the front with a strong stretch rally. We will bet her to win at 4-1 -- and when she crosses the wire first, we will say, Lucy, I’m home! The bet: Del Mar, Race 8, $40 to win on 5-Queengol.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.