Sunday at the track: Garrity picks stakes at Aqueduct, Del Mar, and the $100,000 Frost King Stakes at Woodbine
We have five plays today, in four races from tracks in the East, North, and West. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them, except as noted. Let’s go.
Aqueduct, Race 9, 3:47 pm ET
$100,000 Winter Memories Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, 3-Year-Old Fillies
We’re expecting the inner turf course at Aqueduct to be good today, not a yielding bog, but not firm either. That is a huge factor in handicapping the seven entrants in the Winter Memories, as a couple of these fillies appear talented, but want more solid going than they are going to get today.
The picks is 1-Speaktomeofsummer, who comes from the Christophe Clement barn. She comes off a good runner-up finish in the Grade 2 Sands Point Stakes at Belmont Park on October 10, and that race continued the steady improvement she’s shown since starting her seasonal campaign in June. She has a strong finishing kick, we think there will be enough early pace to set it up, and we think she will like the going, as she won a minor stakes a year ago on a good Aqueduct turf course. Add it up, and we think she’s headed to the winner’s circle -- and how could you not like a horse named after summer in a stakes named after winter? We will bet her to win at 2-1. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 9, $40 to win on 1-Speaktomeofsummer.
Woodbine, Race 8 4:58 pm ET
$100,000 Frost King Stakes, 6 ½ furlongs, Synthetic, Ontario-bred 2-Year-Olds
Nine juveniles go to the post in the Frost King. We like the form of the one on the rail, 1-Avoman. He’s run twice, both at Woodbine, and he’s run well twice, finishing third in a maiden race on September 2, and then winning a stakes race on turf on September 27. He’s been working very well since, and he looks to us to be the class of this field by a pretty wide margin. Look for him to be toward the rear early, but in front where it matters, at the wire. We will bet him to win at 2-1. The bet: Woodbine, Race 8, $40 to win on 1-Avoman.
Del Mar, Race 7, 6:30 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 1 mile, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
This first-level allowance drew a field of seven females. Six of them have the same style, which is fast early and slow late, and that should set the table for the seventh entrant, 6-Hermaphrodite, who makes her North American debut here for trainer John Sadler. She is a pretty classy 5-year-old mare who ran in some good races in her native France, and while they were quite a while ago -- her last start was in Group 2 race at Deauville in August of 2019 -- the layoff does not concern us, as Sadler is quite good with horses coming off the bench. Hermaphrodite appears to outclass this modest group, and the pace scenario should favor her, so we are going to the windows. We will bet her to win at 5/2, and also play her in the Double (see below) that comprises Races 7 and 8. The bets: Del Mar, Race 7, $30 to win on 6-Hermaphrodite, $50 double, 6 (Hermaphrodite) with 2 (Spielberg).
Del Mar, Race 8, 7:00 pm ET
Grade 3 Bob Hope Stakes, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 2-Year-Olds
Six go in the Hope. There are a couple of things that this race has in common with the Desi Arnaz stakes at Del Mar yesterday: both are named for Hollywood legends, both are for 2-year-olds, and in both, the favorite runs for trainer Bob Baffert: he had Private Mission in the Arnaz yesterday, and he starts favored 2-Spielberg here.
Unlike yesterday, when we hated Private Mission (she ran fourth as the 1/2 favorite), we like Spielberg in this spot: he has a big edge in both speed and pace figures, and looks to be simply better than the other colts entered. He looks like the real deal to us, especially at this 7 furlong distance. While we will play him a bit to win, we will use him primarily in the Race 7-8 Double, where we will try to leverage his likely short price (he’s 6/5 on the morning line, and will likely be shorter at post time) via a multi-race wager. The bets: Del Mar, Race 8, $20 to win on 2-Spielberg.
That’s all for today. Until the next time, enjoy the races, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.