Garrity's Saturday Stakes picks races at Laurel Park, Aqueduct, Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita
Mrs. Danvers, easily winning the Comely Stakes at Aqueduct in November. Today she runs at Gulfstream, because in New York, with all the snow, you wouldn't be able to see her.NYRA

Garrity's Saturday Stakes picks races at Laurel Park, Aqueduct, Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita

Garrity's first post is at 3:12 pm EST.

It’s a relatively quiet day at the major tracks, but it’s a big day in Maryland, where six stakes will be run as part of the Winter Racing Carnival at Laurel Park. It will be cold, but the horses won’t mind, and neither will we, as we will be warm on the couch in our living room. We have five plays for this late-winter Saturday afternoon, and we expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them. Let’s go.

Laurel Park, Race 6, 3:12 pm ET

$100,000 Wide Country Stakes, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies

Nine go in the Wide Country. The pick is 3-Fraudulent Charge, a Lacey Gaudet trainee who just missed in her last, when she closed into a fast pace, losing by a short nose, in a similar spot at Laurel Park on Dec. 26. We see a similar pace setup for her today, fast early fractions that will set the table for her stretch run, but a better result for her in the end. We will bet her to win at 6-1. The bet: Laurel Park, Race 6, $30 to win on 3-Fraudulent Charge.

Laurel Park, Race 7, 3:46 pm ET
Grade 3 Runhappy Barbara Fritchie Stakes, 7 furlongs, Dirt, FIllies & Mares 4 & Up

The Fritchie is a good race, with an excellent field of eight older females. We’ve looked in our crystal ball, and we see a pace duel between 3-Dontletsweetfoolya and 8-Hello Beautiful, two 4-year-old speedballs who should set wickedly fast fractions while trying to establish early superiority. We think neither will succeed, as they possess an equal amount of early foot, and that will leave both of them out of gas when the field turns for home.

The beneficiary of this pace meltdown should be 1-Sharp Starr, who should be sitting in the garden spot, three lengths or so behind the dueling pacesetters, ready to pounce when they begin to shorten stride. From there she should be able to get first jump on the closers, and reach the finish line in front. We will bet her to win at 3-1. The bet: Laurel Park, Race 7, $35 to win on 1-Sharp Starr.

Aqueduct, Race 8, 4:50 pm ET

$100,000 Maddie May Stakes, 1 mile, Dirt, New York-bred 3-Year-Old Fillies

The Maddie May, a one-turn mile stakes for state-bred sophomore fillies, drew a field of nine. We like 2-Frost Me, who starts for trainer John Kimmel. She’s done quite a bit right in her three career starts, winning two of them, and improving from a speed figure standpoint, each time. Another step forward would put her in the winner’s circle today, and that is exactly what we expect to happen, as from a pace standpoint, she ran against the grain of her last two races, which means her efforts in them were better than they appear on paper. Look for her to press the pace, and to win with a powerful move down the Aqueduct stretch. And how can you not like a horse named Frost Me on a day at Aqueduct that will be colder than a loan shark’s heart?

We will bet her to win at 9/2. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 8, $40 to win on 2-Frost Me.

Gulfstream Park, Race 11, 5:16 pm ET
Grade 3 Royal Delta Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up

A field of eight lines up for the Royal Delta. The pick is 7-Mrs. Danvers, a Shug McGaughey trainee who comes off a win in the Comely Stakes at Aqueduct, a race in which she earned a career-best 102 Beyer Speed figure.

It pays to be skeptical when a horse earns a big number, especially if it’s a new career top, because the figs can sometimes be a result of fluky circumstances. But we think Mrs. Danvers’s Comely figure (Comely figure -- get it?) is legitimate, as it was in the fall of her 3-year-old campaign, and she has the looks of a late-blooming sort -- if anything, we think the fig is better than it looks, as she set a quick pace, and still finished strongly. Mrs. Danvers is 4 now, and she comes into this race off a layoff, having last run in November, but she’s been working very well in the morning, and we think she’s going to run this field off their feet. We feel this strongly enough that we will bet her to win at 2-1. The bet: Gulfstream Park, Race 11, $40 to win on 7-Mrs. Danvers.

Santa Anita, Race 7, 6:46 pm ET

Grade 2 Buena Vista Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, FIllies & Mares 4 & Up

The Buena Vista drew a good and deep field of ten older female turf milers. It’s a terrific betting race. The pick is 3-Warren’s Showtime, who disappointed last out, losing as the favorite in a Santa Anita state-bred stakes, but that was at 6 furlongs, which is shorter than her best distance. We think a mile is right up her alley, but what really makes us like her today is pace: We think the early fractions of the Buena Vista will be quick, and that should put Warren’s Showtime in an ideal position in the middle of the pack, a spot from which she can launch her strong finishing kick. We think she gets first jump on the deep closers here, and at 5-1, she’s a terrific price. We will bet her to win. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 7, $40 to win on 3-Warren’s Showtime.

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

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