Garrity's Saturday Stakes picks the Remsen, Cigar Mile, 2 more at Aqueduct & an astute choice at Los Alamitos
The great Catholic Boy won the Remsen Stakes in 2017. Who will win it in 2020?NYRA / Joe Labozzetta

Garrity's Saturday Stakes picks the Remsen, Cigar Mile, 2 more at Aqueduct & an astute choice at Los Alamitos

Garrity's first post is the Remsen Stakes at 1 pm EST.

It’s Cigar Mile day in New York, and unfortunately for the folks at the New York Racing Association, the weather has come up lousy: It figures to be a wet afternoon at the Big A, with all races off the turf, and the main track listed as sloppy as late this morning.

But there are still four graded stakes to be run, and we are taking a stab at all of them. We’ve thrown in a Grade 1 race out West, the Starlet at Los Alamitos, for a Saturday five-pack of plays to keep you warm on this December day. It’s an all-dirt affair today, and we expect a sloppy track at Aqueduct, and a fast one at Los Al. Let’s go.

Aqueduct, Race 4, 1:00 pm ET

Grade 2 Remsen Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, 2-Year-Olds

The Remsen drew a field of just five, which is not great, but it’s a good group, and we think it’s a good betting race. On a dry track, we’d like 2-Known Agenda, but in the slop, the pick is 5-Ten for Ten: Pace figures give him a huge tactical advantage, as he should get a very easy early lead. That is dangerous on a dry track, but is doubly so on a wet one. Even better is the fact that Ten for Ten ran the best race of his life on a sloppy track two races back, breaking his maiden at Belmont Park on Oct. 16, which shows he relishes wet going. We think he wires this group, and will bet him at 2-1 to win the Remsen. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 4, $40 to win on 5-Ten for Ten.

Aqueduct, Race 6, 2:07 pm ET
Grade 3 Go for Wand Stakes, 1 mile, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

Six females were entered in the Go for Wand. We are all over 3/2 second choice 3-Sharp Starr. She’s a filly who is a pretty good illustration of how horses can improve quickly and dramatically in the fall of their 3-year-old season, as she was consistently earning Beyer Speed Figures in the mid-70s before running off the screen in a Nov. 7 allowance at Aqueduct, winning by over 15 lengths and earning a mammoth 101 Beyer fig. While horses can sometimes earn inflated speed figures with the aid of a perfect and/or fluky trip, we think Sharp Starr’s effort was legitimate, as she stalked a fast pace before drawing off to win. A repeat will earn her the win here, and will do so easily. And while she’s never run in the slop before, she’s bred top and bottom to like it, and we have zero concerns about the wet going. We will bet her to win, and we will do so with gusto. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 6, $50 to win on 3-Sharp Starr.

Aqueduct, Race 9, 3:44 pm ET

Grade 2 Demoiselle Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, 2-Year-Old Fillies

The Demoiselle is the filly counterpart to the Remsen, but it has a better field, with six juvenile fillies, after scratches, going to the post. We would normally be tempted to try to beat morning line favorite 1-Malathaat, if only because of her short 4/5 odds, but on a wet track, she looks virtually unbeatable to us, as she has one of the best off-track pedigrees we’ve seen in a while: She’s by Curlin, out of an A.P. Indy mare, and these are perhaps the two best wet-track sires of the past 30 years. She’s won both her starts, figures to thrive over the going and at this 1 ⅛ mile distance, and Malathaat is going to win the Demoiselle Stakes this afternoon. We can’t bet her to win at miserly odds, so to leverage her price, we will play her in the Double covering races 9 and 10. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 9, $40 double, 1 (Malathaat) with 1 (Performer).

Aqueduct, Race 10, 4:13 pm ET
Grade 1 Cigar Mile, 1 mile, Dirt, 3 & Up

A Saturday morning scratch leaves eight to go in the Cigar Mile. The race looks chalky to us: 1-Performer is a 4-year-old Phipps Stable homebred and Shug McCaughey trainee who has a lot of talent, and figured to be a major player this year, but an ankle injury in the spring put him on the sidelines until Oct. 17, when he won an allowance race at Belmont Park. He is probably not at a maximum level of fitness for this race, but he just looks better to us than the other runners, and he’s another horse who moves way up on a wet track. He’s got some speed, but we think he figures to stalk here, sitting just behind the first flight of horses, and taking over at the top of the stretch. We will bet him to win at 7/5. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 10, $50 to win on 1-Performer.

Los Alamitos, Race 5, 5:58 pm ET

Grade 1 Starlet, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 2-Year-Old FIllies

Five go in the Starlet, but we like it as a betting race, despite the short field, because we dislike the even-money morning line choice, 3-Princess Noor, who is coming off a fifth-place finish, as the betting favorite, in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies. Coming out of that race, and with Bob Baffert as trainer, she figures to get plenty of betting support, but she looks like a filly who has already hit her peak, and that peak is not good enough to win this.

We think 4-Astute, who is trained by Richard Mandella, simply looks better. She comes out of a sensational win in the Desi Arnaz stakes at Del Mar, and we think that is just a stepping stone for her, as her pedigree suggests that she will be even better at this 1 1/16 mile distance than she was sprinting. We also like that her trainer has placed her aggressively here: The Arnaz was on Nov. 14, which was just three weeks ago; Mandella usually gives horses more time between races than that, so if he’s running her back that quickly, it’s a powerful sign to us that she’s sitting on a big race. We think Astute wins the Starlet this afternoon, and does so under new rider Flavien Prat, who fills in for Mike Smith, who is sidelined after testing positive for Covid-19. We will bet Astute to win at 7/5, and will do so enthusiastically. The bet: Los Alamitos, Race 5, $60 to win on 4-Astute.

That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the races, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.

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