Dad's Hat Happy Hour Horse Racing: Garrity picks Aqueduct, Gulfstream, Tampa Bay, Fair Grounds, & Santa Anita
It’s a Friday, the end of the work week, so it’s time for another edition of Dad’s Hat Happy Hour Handicapping. We have five plays today, at five tracks, all in a cocktail-friendly late-afternoon window of about 45 minutes. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all five races, so let’s go.
Aqueduct, Race 7, 3:50 pm ET
Allowance, 7 furlongs, Dirt, New York-breds 4 & Up
This first-level allowance for state-bred sprinters drew a field of eight. Favored 5-Wudda U Think Now looks like an absolute standout, with superior pace and speed figures, and the best last race, a second at this level at Aqueduct on December 10. We also like the fact that he cuts back in distance, to 7 furlongs here from a mile in his last. This is an obvious pick, and he’s not going to make anyone rich, but we think there is value in every winner, and Wudda U Think Now looks overwhelmingly the likeliest winner here. We will bet him to win at 8/5. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 7, $40 to win on 5-Wudda U Think Now.
Gulfstream Park, Race 8, 4:11 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 furlongs, Dirt, Florida-bred FIllies & Mares 4 & Up
Six go in this sprint for older females bred in the Sunshine State. The pick is 4-Bramble Berry, and she gets the nod because of pace: she should get a perfect trip just behind two speedballs, 3-Comp’d and 6-Sunset Empire, who figure to run each other into submission through swift early fractions. We see Bramble Berry sitting third, in the garden spot, and pouncing when the pacesetters begin to shorten stride. We will be Bramble Berry to win at 5/2. The bet: Gulfstream Park, Race 8, $30 to win on 4-Bramble Berry.
Tampa Bay Downs, Race 8, 4:22 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 4 & Up
This is another allowance sprint on the dirt. The eight older horses entered are pretty evenly matched, which makes it a good betting race. We like 8-Hauntedbythemusic, whose pace and speed figures are good, but the deciding factor, we think, is the post: drawing outside is a tactical edge that will put him over the top. We also like that he gets the services of Antonio Gallardo, one of the top riders at Tampa Bay. Look for him to press the pace, take control at the top of the stretch, and hold off the closers late. We will bet him to win at 7/2. The bet: Tampa Bay Downs, Race 8, $25 to win on 8-Hauntedbythemusic.
Fair Grounds, Race 6, 4:25 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 5 ½ furlongs, Turf, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up
Eight older females go in this turf sprint; with two of them coupled in the wagering, there seven disparate betting interests. The pick is 4-Originator, who makes her first start for new trainer Tom Amoss. She spent the latter half of 2020 butting heads with very tough allowance runners at Churchill Downs, Saratoga, Kentucky Downs, and Keeneland, and we think she’s going to find the company here, which is decidedly weaker than she’s been facing, very much to her liking. These turf sprints are rarely won by big margins, but Originator appears to outclass the rest of the field here, and we think she is going to run huge today. We will bet her to win at 5/2. The bet: Fair Grounds, Race 6, $40 to win on 4-Originator.
Santa Anita Park, Race 3, 4:32 pm ET
Maiden Special Weight, 1 mile, Turf, California-bred 3-Year-Olds
This maiden race for state-breds drew a field of ten. There’s a lot of speed in the group, but not much stamina, which makes the pick 5-J C Express. The Peter Eurton trainee’s last two races were in this exact spot, mile turf maiden affairs, and while he wasn’t terrific in either, his effort was honest, and that, combined with his ability to close well, should be enough for him to handle this weak field. Look for him to be in the middle of the pack early, and passing very, very tired horses down the stretch. We will bet him to win at 6-1. The bet: Santa Anita Park, Race 3, $40 to win on 5-J C Express.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.