Thursday at the track: Garrity goes to Phoenix, Arizona to pick 4 races at Turf Paradise
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Thursday at the track: Garrity goes to Phoenix, Arizona to pick 4 races at Turf Paradise

First picked race, the third at Turf Paradise, has a post time of 3:28 pm ET

With the weather looking wet in most places east of the Mississippi River, we’re going West, to Turf Paradise in Phoenix, where it will be a Chamber of Commerce kind of day, mid-70s and sunny. It’s a mixed-breed card, with two Quarter Horse dashes to start, followed by seven longer races for Thoroughbreds, and we have four plays in the Thoroughbred races. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them, so let’s go.

Turf Paradise, Race 3, 3:28 pm ET

$3,500 Maiden Claiming, 1 mile, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up

Maiden claiming races don’t come much cheaper than this one, but that’s OK, as they pay at the windows the same as a Grade 1 stakes race. WIth most of these older females having failed to win at this level multiple times, we’re going with a 4-year-old filly who has done so only once: it’s 1-Sarah’s Star, a Colorado-bred who chased a slow pace in her last start, at Turf Paradise and at this distance on January 21. There are a couple of runners in this field with early speed and little stamina, which should result in a race shape that is a better fit for her midpack, stalking running style. At 3-1, that’s enough for us: we will bet Sarah’s Star to win. The bet: Turf Paradise, Race 3, $35 to win on 1-Sarah’s Star.

Turf Paradise, Race 5, 4:32 pm ET

$3,500 Maiden Claiming, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 4 & Up

This is another bottom-level maiden claimer, a sprint for older males. We like a Southern California shipper, 3-Boisterous Rascal. He’s been running in shorter races at Los Alamitos, but the speed figures he earned there are superior to those earned by his rivals, and his human connections are a positive as well: when trainer Candelario Villamar and jockey Enrique Garcia have paired up at the young Turf Paradise meeting, they’ve won at an otherworldly 57% clip. We will bet Boisterous Rascal to win. The bet: Turf Paradise, Race 5, $40 to win on 3-Boisterous Rascal.

Turf Paradise, Race 7, 5:28 pm ET

Allowance, 7 ½ furlongs, Turf, 3-Year-Olds

This allowance turf race for sophomore colts has pace meltdown written all over it, as the logical contenders are all fast early/slow late types. That means we’re looking for a closer, a late runner who can make up ground down the stretch when the pacesetters get tired and slow down. We think we’ve found one, and he should be a very nice price: it’s 1-Sebastian’s Boy, who makes the first turf start of 2021 after two races last summer at Prairie Meadows in Iowa and Canterbury Downs in Minnesota. Look for him to be midpack, or even a little farther back, early, and moving forward late. He’s never run on turf, but both his pedigree and running style suggest he should do well on it; at 10-1, we’re betting on it. We will play him to win. The bet: Turf Paradise, Race 7, $35 to win on 1-Sebastian’s Boy.

Turf Paradise, Race 9, 6:24 pm ET

$3,500 Maiden Claiming, 6 furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up

Speed figures are always important, but they are more important in shorter races, and this race, another maiden claimer and the Turf Paradise nightcap, is a good example, as 2-Let’s Pardi Marti, is a solid speed-figure play. She ran second at this $3,500 level in her last start, and there are two reasons we think she will do better today: this race is longer, 6 furlongs versus the 4 ½ furlong distance of her last; and this is her second start off a layoff, a spot in which many horses run the best races they are capable of running. And perhaps most important, Let’s Pardi Marti will not have to be the second coming of Ruffian to beat this weak group. We will bet her to win at 7/2. The bet: Turf Paradise, Race 9, $40 to win on 2-Let’s Pardi Marti.

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

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