Horse Racing: Garrity picks Aqueduct, Tampa Bay Downs, Gulfstream Park & the Spring Fever at Santa Anita
The simulcast schedule is light today, at least as far as stakes races go, so we are going to take a cafeteria approach: of the available options today (i.e. the tracks running), we’ve selected four races, one each from Aqueduct in New York, Tampa Bay Downs and Gulfstream Park in Florida, and Santa Anita Park in California. We expect fast dirt and firm turf, except as noted below. Let’s go.
Tampa Bay Downs, Race 7, 3:16 pm ET
Maiden Special Weight, 1 mile, Turf, 4 & Up
Seven older maidens line up for this mile turf race. 8-Kuramata, a Chad Brown entrant who is making his first U.S. start for owner Peter Brant, is certain to get a lot of support at the betting windows, but it won’t be from us, as Brown has been cold (one for his last sixteen) with horses debuting in North America. This kind of negative trend plus relatively short odds equals underlay city, so we are looking elsewhere.
We like 1-Implication. He’s a 5-year-old with only two career starts, the last of which was nearly a year ago, so he’s obviously had some physical problems, but he’s got a terrific pedigree (by War Front, out of a Thunder Gulch mare),and he did show an affinity for the turf in his career debut last March, when he came from far back, took the lead in deep stretch, and got caught late to finish second. There seems to be enough early pace in the field that if he runs a similar race today, he can win, and at 6-1, we think he’s an overlay. We will bet him to win. The bet: Tampa Bay, Race 7, $40 to win on 1-Implication.
Gulfstream Park, Race 9, 4:44 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up
Six older females line up for this main track sprint in South Florida. The slam dunk pick is 6-Slam Dunk, who has high speed, good stamina, and an outside post position that is an advantage, as she can either set the pace or, if one of the runners to her inside wants to go fast early, sit just off it. We would empty our pockets on this 4-year-old daughter of Into Mischief if we thought we could get anything near her 5/2 morning line price; since we think her post-time odds will be lower, we will back her slightly more prudently. We will bet her to win. The bet: Gulfstream Park, Race 9, $50 to win on 6-Slam Dunk.
Aqueduct, Race 8, 4:50 pm ET
Allowance, 1 mile, Dirt, 4 & Up
Eight go in this very competitive first-level allowance. We like 4-Malibu Star, a horse looking to rebound from a dreadful effort in his last, when he trailed the field throughout and was eased down the stretch. That race was at a mile and an eighth, his first try around two turns, and we think he’ll appreciate cutting back to this one-turn mile distance. But the main reason we like him is back form: Put bluntly, he’s too good to run that badly twice in a row. His recent morning works are sharp, suggesting he’s back; we will bet him to win at 7/2. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 8, $40 to win on 4-Malibu Star.
Santa Anita, Race 8, 7:20 pm ET
$100,000 Spring Fever Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, California-bred Fillies & Mares 4 & Up
The day’s lone stakes race is the Spring Fever, which drew a field of seven. At the risk of looking stupid, or at least more stupid than usual, we will note that this race looks easy: 7-Bella Vita has superior speed figures, a stalking running style that is an ideal match for the way that the Santa Anita main track has been playing, a good trainer in Simon Callaghan, and a rider, Flavien Prat, who has been winning on everything lately. Oh, and the 4-year-old daughter of Bayern drew the outside post, which gives her a tactical advantage on the rest of the field. Go to the windows with this one, because we will: we will bet her to win at 2-1, and we will do so with gusto. The bet: Santa Anita Park, Race 8, $60 to win on 7-Bella Vita.
That’s all for today. Until the next time, enjoy the races, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.