Thursday 5-pack of race picks from Garrity include Aqueduct, Gulfstream Park, Delta Downs, and Fair Grounds
First picked race, the 5th at Aqueduct, has a post time of 2:50 pm ET
The usual midweek suspects are running today, Aqueduct, Gulfstream, and the Fair Grounds, and we have four plays from those three tracks. We’ve also, just for the hell of it, thrown in a race at Delta Downs in Louisiana, for a Thursday five-pack of races. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them, so let’s go.
Aqueduct, Race 5, 2:50 pm ET
Maiden Special Weight, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds
This maiden affair at the Big A drew a field of eight; with two of them coupled due to common ownership, there are seven betting interests. There are some very, very well-bred and good-looking colts in here, but the one we fancy is a first-time starter who drew the rail, 2-Ranger Fox. He’s by Nyquist, out of a Quality Road mare, and we like that win-early pedigree, but we also like the fact that trainer John Terranova is an ace with firsters, winning at almost a 20% clip. A couple of the other logical contenders figure to be overbet, either because of their human connections or because of pedigree, and this means Ranger Fox is not only the top pick, but should be a good price as well, somewhere around his 5-1 morning line number. We will bet him to win. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 5, $30 to win on 2-Ranger Fox.
Gulfstream Park, Race 6, 3:09 pm
Maiden Special Weight, 6½ furlongs, Dirt, Florida-bred 3-year-olds
Seven state-bred maidens go to the post in the 6th at Gulfstream. From a class and breeding standpoint, a first-time starter stands above the rest: it’s 4-Soup and Sandwich, a Live Oak Plantation homebred by red-hot stallion Into Mischief, and a Tapit mare. This is a world-class pedigree, but even better than that is that his morning workouts leading in recent days mark him a runner. Against a modest field, we think Soup and Sandwich can break his maiden at first asking. We will bet him to win at 7/2, and we will also play him in the Race 6 Double, where we will couple him with 1-Dr. Shane in Race 7, who looks to have an insuperable edge over his rivals in the 7 ½ furlong turf claimer. The bets: Gulfstream Park, Race 6, $25 to win on 4-Soup and Sandwich; $30 double, 4 (Soup and Sandwich) with 1 (Dr. Shane).
Delta Downs, Race 7, 4:39 pm ET
$10,000 Claiming, 5 furlongs, Dirt, Louisiana-breds 4 & Up
The 7th at Delta Downs could be included in a handicapping textbook under the subject of a negative class drop. 9/5 morning line favorite 8-Dejoke’s Song is a 5-year-old mare who looked like a runner a bit over a year ago, winning the first two races of her career, both at Evangeline Downs, in dominating fashion, earning very good speed figures in the process. Then something must have gone wrong, because she was away from the races from December 2019 until three weeks ago, when she barely picked up her feet, finishing last in a stakes race at Delta Downs on January 5.
Now she drops from stakes company to a $10,000 claiming race, which is roughly the equivalent of going from the Division 2 college level to a neighborhood CYO game. The only conclusion to draw from this mammoth drop is that she’s damaged goods, and this is doubly true since she has not had a published workout since her last race, and because she is running against colts today for the first time in her life.
Dejoke’s Song may win this race by sheer virtue of her superior class. But at a short price, 9/5 on the morning line, we bet against her every day of the week, and twice on Sunday. We will do so in the form of 3-King Cookie, who has high speed, good recent form, and an inside post position in this short race. We think he goes right to the front and wires this field, and because of the presence of the mammothly underlaid favorite, we should get a very square price. We will bet King Cookie to win at 7/2. The bet: Delta Downs, Race 7, $40 to win on 3-King Cookie.
Fair Grounds, Race 8, 5:23 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 5 ½ furlongs, Turf, 4 & Up
This Big Easy a second-level allowance drew a field of nine. The pick is 6-Sir Alfred James. He brings excellent dirt form into this race, having run well in all six of his career starts, and while five of them were on conventional dirt, both his pedigree and his lone turf start, a runner-up finish in a starter allowance at Saratoga in July, suggest that he’ll be just fine in this turf contest. Look for him to sit just behind the pacesetters early, to move into contention at the top of the long Fair Grounds stretch, and to get the lead in deep stretch. We will bet him to win at 7/2. The bet: Fair Grounds, Race 8, $30 to win on 6-Sir Alfred James.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.