Garrity's Saturday Stakes picks the Florida Derby, Gulfstream Park Oaks, Santa Ana from Santa Anita, and more
Garrity's first post is at 4:09 pm EDT.
It’s a big day today. The Kentucky Derby picture has been in flux for much of the year, and is even more unsettled since presumptive favorite Life is Good was knocked off the Derby trail by an injury last week. But the Florida Derby should provide much needed clarity to this year’s class of 3-year-old colts.
We have plays in five races today, and we expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them. Let’s go.
Gulfstream Park, Race 10, 4:09 pm ET
Grade 2 Pan American Stakes, 1 ½ miles, Turf, 4 & Up
Eight older turf horses go in the Pan Am. We like 1-Cross Border, a Mike Maker trainee who comes off a sharp third in a Grade 1 race in January. He’s in good form, and he will get a forwardly-placed trip here, which is important, as the current configuration of the Gulfstream turf favors speed, and plays against closers. We will bet Cross Border to win at 3-1. The bet: Gulfstream Park, Race 10, $35 to win on 1-Cross Border.
Gulfstream Park, Race 12, 5:17 pm ET
Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies
The Gulfstream Park Oaks drew a field of seven sophomore fillies, and most of them appear to be on the slow side. We like one who has earned good speed figures before: it’s 6-Millefeuille, who got good numbers on the New York circuit last fall, but ran a dismal race last out, in the Grade 2 Davona Dale, in her debut as a 3-year-old. We are drawing a line through that race, as Millefeuille had a rough trip, running in traffic and then getting bumped approaching the far turn. We think she will rebound today, and her morning works of late suggest that she will do so in a big way. We will bet her to win at 7/2. The bet: Gulfstream Park, Race 12, $40 to win on 6-Millefeuille.
Gulfstream Park, Race 13, 5:55 pm ET
Grade 3 Orchid Stakes, 1 ⅜ miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up
When we see European horses making their North American debut in American races, there are two things that we look at to assess their chances. The first is the level at which they raced in Europe, and the second is the level of competition they will face in their stateside debut.
In this case, the Euro import is 5-Sorrel, and we think that the company she kept in England was pretty good, especially her last race, when she beat a big field at Lingfield. We think that she is probably good enough to beat the nine other horses here, and because Sorrel is somewhat of an unknown commodity, we will get a square price of 5-1. We will bet her to win. The bet: Gulfstream Park, Race 13, $35 to win on 5-Sorrel.
Gulfstream Park, Race 14, 6:40 pm ET
Grade 1 Curlin Florida Derby, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds
The headliner in the Florida Derby is 7-Greatest Honour, and on the surface, he would seem to be a solid choice, as he won the Holy Bull and the Fountain of Youth in his last two starts. A win here would stamp him as a very legitimate favorite for the Kentucky Derby.
But there is a problem with Greatest Honour: He hasn’t run fast. He beat bad fields in both of his stakes wins, and he has yet to run a truly fast speed figure. He’s 6/5 on the morning line, and will likely be shorter at post time; at odds-on, he’s the biggest underlay since Goliath. We would swim through shark-infested waters for a chance to bet against him.
We like 6-Collaborate. He has just a maiden win to his credit, but it was a doozy, a 12 ½ length win at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 27, and we think he will be even better today. He may not have enough experience to be ready for the Kentucky Derby in five weeks, but that is an issue for another time: we think he will be able to handle the Florida Derby today. We will bet him to win at 6-1. The bet: Gulfstream Park, Race 14, $40 to win on 6-Collaborate.
Santa Anita Park, Race 9, 8:25 pm ET
Grade 3 Santa Ana Stakes, 1 ¼ miles, Turf, FIllies & Mares 4 & Up
We’re going chalky in the Santa Ana, as the pick is 8/5 morning line favorite 1-Mucho Unusual. She simply looks too good, as she’s run extremely well in her last three races, and she also is the only entrant in the field with a win at this 10 furlong distance. Look for her to press the pace early, and to be in front at the wire. We will bet her to win at 8/5. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 9, $40 to win on 1-Mucho Unusual.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.