Garrity's Saturday Stakes has 5 picks, including two Derby preps, at Aqueduct, Gulfstream and Santa Anita
We’re taking a scattershot approach again today, playing five stakes from New York, South Florida, and Southern California. Like yesterday, we expect the dirt to be fast, and the turf firm. Let’s go.
Aqueduct, Race 8, 3:50 pm ET
$100,000 Gravesend Stakes, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, 4 & Up
Of the five entrants in the Gravesend, the one on the outside, 5-Stan the Man, comes pretty close to embodying our idea of handicapping perfection: he’s very consistent; he’s been running, and faring very well, in some pretty tough races; he has good early speed; his morning workouts of late have been excellent; and he gets an outside post position that is a tactical advantage and a perfect fit for his pace-pressing running style. There are a couple of speedballs entered to his inside, so look for Stan the Man to sit outside them, a couple of lengths behind, and to take command of the race at the top of the stretch. We will bet him to win at 9/5. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 8, $50 to win on 5-Stan the Man.
Gulfstream Park, Race 9, 4:13 pm ET
$75,000 Ginger Brew Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 3-Year-Old Fillies
Nine 3-year-old fillies line up for the Ginger Brew. It’s a deep and evenly matched field, and a terrific betting race. We are expecting a fast pace, and that will set the table for 7-Designer Ready, who won her career debut at Woodbine on Oct. 3. She closed strongly that day, coming from far back to win by a smooth 2 ½ lengths, and we see a similar result in this spot. We will bet her to win at 9/2. The bet: Gulfstream Park, Race 9, $35 to win on 7-Designer Ready.
Gulfstream Park, Race 10, 4:45 pm ET
$100,000 Mucho Macho Man Stakes, 1 mile, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds
The Mucho Macho Man, a very, very early prep race for the Kentucky Derby, drew a field of ten 3-year-old colts. We’re against the favorite, Todd Pletcher’s 5-Mutasaabeq, who has been going the wrong direction -- slower -- since he broke his maiden quite impressively at Saratoga in August. He could win, but at relatively short odds, we think he’s a play-against.
We like 3-Easy TIme. He has just one start, a maiden win in October, and while it was run over Woodbine’s synthetic surface, he has a pedigree that suggests that he will thrive on conventional dirt. He’s been working well leading up to this, and we think he is a contender here, at generous odds of 12-1. We will bet him to win and to place. The bets: Gulfstream Park, Race 10, $25 to win/$10 to place on 3-Easy Time.
Santa Anita Park, Race 7, 6:35 pm ET
Grade 2 San Gabriel Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, 4 & Up
Seven older horses go to the post for the San Gabriel. The pick is 2-Next Shares, a deep closer from the Richie Baltas stable. Look for him to be last early, and moving late. Horses with this running style are usually at the mercy of what happens in front of them -- they need a decent early pace to set up their late charge -- but we think Next Shares will get that here, as a couple of the other horses in the gate like to go fast early. We will bet him to win at 2-1. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 7, $40 to win on 2-Next Shares.
Santa Anita Park,, Race 8, 7:05 pm ET
Grade 3 Sham Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds
The Sham is another very early race on the road to the Kentucky Derby. It was won last year by Authentic, a Bob Baffert trainee who went on to win the Run for the Roses in September (and the Breeders Cup Classic in November). Baffert has two of the five entrants here, and one of them, 2/5 morning line favorite 5-Life is Good, surely has Baffert thinking of the first Saturday in May, as he won his career debut, a Del Mar maiden race in November, in eye-popping fashion, earning a speed figure that that marks him as a legitimate Derby horse.
Life is Good may win, but at minuscule odds, he’s an underlay, and we are betting against him. The pick is 3-Parnelli, who is trained by John Shirreffs. It took Parnelli four tries to break his maiden, but when he did, in his last start, he showed something new, the ability to relax early, sitting behind horses and finishing strongly. The sky appears to be the limit for this colt, and considering he was 1/5 in his last start, his 5/2 price odds in the Sham look juicy. We will bet him to win. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 8, $40 to win on 3-Parnelli.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.