Friday Dad's Hat Happy Hour Handicapping: Garrity picks races at Keeneland, Oaklawn and Delta Downs
Royal Flag, winning the Turnback the Alarm Stakes, Nov. 7, 2020, at Aqueduct.NYRA / Janet Garaguso

Friday Dad's Hat Happy Hour Handicapping: Garrity picks races at Keeneland, Oaklawn and Delta Downs

The cocktails start at 4: 57 pm EDT and run until around 6:15 pm.

Fridays around here mean two things. The first is that we’ve made it through another week, and the reward, the weekend, is at hand. The second is that it’s time for another installment of Dad’s Hat Happy Hour Handicapping, where we play a bunch of races that go off in rapid succession. Today we have five plays in five races, all of which take place in a bit more than an hour’s time. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them, so let’s go.

Keeneland, Race 8, 4:57 pm ET

Allowance 5 ½ furlongs, Turf, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up

A full field of twelve lines up for this first-level allowance turf sprint. Eleven of them are 4-year-olds, but we like the one who is older: It’s 10-Lexintonia, who comes from the Christophe Clement barn. She is a 5-year-old mare who returned to the races after an 18-month layoff on March 21, running third in a Gulfstream Park allowance. She has speed, which is key in a race this short, and we’re expecting an improved effort in her second start off the bench. We will bet her to win at 5-1. The bet: Keeneland, Race 8, $35 to win on 10-Lexintonia.

Oaklawn Park, Race 7, 5:09 pm ET

$150,000 Rainbow Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Arkansas-breds

The Rainbow drew a field of nine, which is not that surprising, considering it’s a big purse for state-breds. Most of them are slow, which should allow 9-Blame J D, who has early speed and good figures, to take the prize. Look for him to go right to the front, and to stay that way all the way around the track. We will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Oaklawn Park, Race 7, $35 to win on 9-Blame J D.

Keeneland, Race 9, 5:30 pm ET

Grade 3 Baird Doubledogdare Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up

Seven older females go in this good renewal of the Doubledogdare Stakes. The filly likely to get the most attention at the betting windows is 6-Speech, who won the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland last spring. That’s a big deal, but we think she’s a bet-against in this spot, as she’s coming off a layoff, and her last two races were bad ones, up-the-track finishes in the Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Sprint and the Kentucky Oaks.

We like 1-Royal Flag, a Chad Brown runner who is admirably consistent, earning similar figures in all six of her starts last year. She too comes into this race off a layoff, but we’re OK with that, as she has run well in similar spots before, and Brown is good at getting horses to fire off the bench. Royal Flag is a grinder, so look for her to be mid-pack early, and moving late. We will bet her to win at 5/2. The bet: Keeneland, Race 9, $40 to win on 1-Royal Flag.

Delta Downs, Race 9, 5:35 pm ET

Allowance, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up

7 furlong races at Delta Downs are run around two turns, which is important, because that configuration, plus the presence of a lot of speed in this group of ten allowance runners, makes 4-Sermononthemount the pick, and the play. He’s a 3-year-old who was claimed out of his last start by new trainer Tom Amoss, who switches him from turf to dirt. Look for him to be last early, but first where it matters. We will bet him to win at 2-1. The bet: Delta Downs, Race 9, $30 to win on 4-Sermononthemount.

Oaklawn Park, Race 9, 6:10 pm ET

$150,000 Rainbow Miss Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Arkansas-bred Fillies

The Rainbow Miss is a terrific betting race, partly because there’s a big field, with eleven state-breds going to the gate, and partly because the top contenders appear on paper to be evenly matched. We like the one all the way on the outside, 11-Kaboom Baby, who broke her maiden in her last start, and did so coming from off the pace. We think that kind of closing style is just the ticket, as there’s a lot of speed drawn inside of her, which should lead to a quick pace, the early leaders getting the staggers in the stretch, and Kaboom Baby picking up the pieces. We will bet her to win at 4-1. The bet: Oaklawn Park, Race 9, $35 to win on 11-Kaboom Baby.

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

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