Garrity picks 3 Friday races at Aqueduct and 2 sprints at Los Alamitos
We’re back today, after a brief freshening, to take on a five-spot of races, from Aqueduct, which will enjoy an unseasonably pleasant day for December, and Los Alamitos, which has seen quite a few big-priced winners in recent days. It’s an all-dirt lineup today, and we expect a fast track in all races. Let’s go.
Aqueduct, Race 3, 1:18 pm ET
Starter Allowance, 1 mile, Dirt, FIllies & Mares 3 & Up
Seven go in this starter allowance, which is restricted to horses who have started for a claiming price of $50,000 or less. The pick is 6-Chaysenbryn, who woke up in a big way in her last start, a $16,000 claimer on November 7. That race, which was at Aqueduct and at this mile distance, was miles better than any of her previous six lifetime starts, and while we are normally hesitant to back a horse off a race that looks like an outlier -- they are frequently flukes, and flukes, by definition, only happen once -- but we think this is rather a case of Chaysenbryn finally living up to her potential, and to the positive presence of apprentice jockey Luis Cardenas, who rode her the first time last out, and whose skills have impressed us of late. Look for Chaysenbryn to stalk the pace from her outside post, and to win with a strong rally in the race’s final three furlongs. We will bet her to win at 5/2. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 2, $35 to win on 6-Chaysenbryn.
Aqueduct, Race 6, 2:45 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
This very tough third-level allowance dirt sprint will have a field of six go to the starting gate. Second choice 6-Mihos looks very, very good: his last two races were excellent, and were against far tougher horses than he’ll face today.
A repeat of either of his last two would probably be good enough for Mihos to take this race, but we think he’s actually been running better than it looks on paper: he’s a late runner, and the pace in each of his last two was slow, which lessened the effectiveness of his late charge (and his last start, a 4th-place finish in the Bold Ruler at Belmont on October 31, was run on a muddy track that he probably didn’t like). He gets a fast track today, draws the coveted outside post, and has a couple of speed horses inside him -- look out. We will bet him to win at 2-1, and we will do so with gusto. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 6, $50 to win on 6-Mihos.
Aqueduct, Race 8, 3:45 pm ET
Allowance, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
A full field of thirteen goes in this first-level allowance. We like a 3-year-old who looks to be improving rapidly: it’s 12-More Graytful, a New York-bred Brad Cox trainee who beat state-breds quite impressively in his last start. He moves up to open company here, which is a big jump, but his pace and speed figures indicate that he should be able to handle the company here. Look for him to press the pace from his outside post, to move to the front around the turn, and to hold off the closers late. We will bet him to win at 7/2. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 8, $35 to win on 12-More Graytful.
Los Alamitos, Race 2, 4:28 pm ET
$32,000 Claiming, 5 ½ furlongs, 2-Year-Olds
The past few years, the December Los Alamitos meeting, which occupies a lousy position on the racing calendar, stuck between the Del Mar fall meet and the Santa Anita winter/spring meet, has been plagued by short fields, short prices, and utterly forgettable racing. As a result, we’ve tended to ignore it.
But this year is different: field size is up markedly, and while it’s the result of something awful -- the pandemic has shut down Golden Gate Fields, and horses from Northern California have been shipping to Los Al in big numbers -- there is nothing wrong with trying to make a few bucks out of it.
This race, a $32k claiming dirt sprint, is a good example of what’s going on: ten colts are entered, and six of them are coming out of races at Golden Gate. While Bay Area invaders have done quite well the past few days at Los Al, some scoring at boxcar odds, we’re going against that trend, and playing against the shippers, and doing so with a locally-based horse, 4-Joe Don Looney. He has good early speed, and we expect him to win this by stalking what looks to be a very fast pace (a horse just to his outside, 6-Lucky Rocket, is one of the fastest 2-year-olds we’ve seen in a while, and should set very fast fractions). We think Joe Don Looney will pounce when the speed horses tire; we will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Los Alamitos, Race 2, $40 to win on 4-Joe Don Looney.
Los Alamitos, Race 5, 5:58 pm ET
Maiden Special Weight, 5 ½ furlongs, Dirt, California-Breds 3 & Up
Ten go in this state-bred maiden dash. The pick is 2-Summer Rose, a 4-year-old filly from the Phil D’Amato barn. We can’t remember the last time we picked a horse coming off a layoff of over two years -- Summer Rose last ran as a 2-year-old, in a maiden race at Del Mar in September 2018 -- but she showed ability in that effort, and should be able to handle this field, which on paper looks very weak. The long layoff is a concern, but both her strong recent morning workouts, and Amato’s skill at getting horses to fire off the bench (15% win rate with horses coming off layoff longer than six months) tell us that Summer Rose will be ready this afternoon. We will bet her to win at 2-1. The bet: Los Alamitos, Race 5, $40 to win on 2-Summer Rose.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.