Garrity gives Thanksgiving stakes picks from Fair Grounds, Churchill Downs, and Del Mar
There are three stakes races today, and they comprise our three plays on this Turkey Day. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them. Let’s go.
Fair Grounds, Race 8, 3:35 pm ET
$125,000 Thanksgiving Classic, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
This dirt sprint drew a field of eight, and it’s a fascinating race to handicap, primarily due to the presence of 4-Bobby’s Wicked One, who is one of the fastest horses in training right now. He won this race last year as he’s earned all six of his career victories, by virtue of his overwhelming early speed, but the question here is whether he can use that early foot to control this race on the front end.
We think the answer is no. He’s coming off two bad races and a long layoff, and though it’s a cinch that he gets the lead, Bobby’s Wicked One probably needs a race, and will not be able to sustain his speed long enough to wire this group. That makes the pick 5-Manny Wah, who comes off a terrific fifth in the Breeders Cup Sprint in his last start. His effort on racing’s biggest day shows he’s in razor-sharp form, and we think the shape of the race, especially the fast pace that the presence of Bobby’s Wicked One virtually guarantees, will favor his stalking running style. Look for him to sit just behind the early leaders and win with a big move down the stretch. We will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Fair Grounds, Race 8, $40 to win on 5-Manny Wah.
Churchill Downs, Race 10, 3:53 pm ET
Grade 3 Falls City Handicap, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
Nine females line up for the Falls City. We’re all in on the favorite, 3-Bonny South, who starts for trainer Brad Cox. She’s a 3-year-old filly who has run three good races in a row, and while she didn’t win any of them, she’s been butting heads with some of the top 3-year-old fillies in training, finishing behind Speech in the Ashland at Keeneland and Swiss Skydiver in the Alabama at Saratoga. There are no runners of that quality here, and her speed figures, plus the company she has been keeping, are signs that she should dominate this race. We will bet her to win at 8/5, and we will do so with the enthusiasm of your Uncle Pete working the gravy boat. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 10, $50 to win on 3-Bonny South.
Del Mar, Race 6, 4:30 pm ET
Grade 3 Red Carpet Handicap, 1 ⅜ miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
A good and deep field of ten fillies and mares lines up to run eleven furlongs on the Del Mar turf in the Red Carpet. The turf division in California has been pretty weak all year, which makes East Coast invader 4-Orglandes the pick. She’s a Chad Brown-trained filly who started her career in her native France and has done pretty well since being brought to North America a few months ago, finishing third and first in two allowance races at Monmouth and Belmont Parks. It’s her last race that we particularly fancy, as she won by closing very, very strongly into a very slow early pace -- that is not easy to do, and it is a powerful sign that she is a quality filly. Chad Brown brought Orglandes a long way to run in this race, and we don’t think he did it so she could lose. We will bet her to win at 5/2. The bet: Del Mar, Race 6, $50 to win on 4-Orglandes.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, which is the start of a terrific three-day weekend of truly top-notch stakes action, enjoy the races, enjoy the turkey, and, as always, good luck at the windows.