Sunday Horse Racing: Garrity picks races at Belmont, Oaklawn & Santa Anita, including the Singletary Stakes
We’re in the calm before the storm now, as the Kentucky Derby is less than a week away, and the stakes schedule on this late April Sunday is consequently and understandably a bit light. But while there might not be a plethora of big races, there is no shortage of bettable ones, and we’ve assembled four plays, at three tracks, to wet your pari-mutuel whistle this afternoon. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them, except as noted below. Let’s go.
Belmont Park, Race 7, 4:08 pm ET
Allowance, 6 furlongs, Dirt, New York-bred Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
The rains came to Long Island overnight, and we’re expecting this first-level allowance for state-breds to be run on a sloppy main track. That makes the pick 6-Rainbow Gal, who broke her maiden in her last start on a wet track. We see a repeat today, as she has speed, gets the services of top rider Joel Rosario, and faces a group of horses who have repeatedly tried and failed at this level. We will bet her to win at 7/2. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 7, $35 to win on 6-Rainbow Gal.
Santa Anita Park, Race 5, 6:08 pm ET
Allowance, 6 furlongs, Turf, 4 & Up
Sometimes handicapping turf races involves deciding whether to take a horse with high early speed, or a horse with a strong closing kick. We don’t have to do that here, as 1-Bombard has both: He has good natural early speed, which he’ll need from his rail post, and the ability to finish strongly. He simply looks better than the rest, and his human connections inspire further confidence, as trainer Richard Mandella and jockey Flavien Prat have won an incredible 43% of the time, 20 wins from 47 starts, when they’ve teamed up at the current Santa Anita meeting. Bombard comes into this off a layoff, having last run in the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint in November, but that is a non-issue to us, as Mandella also excels (32% strike rate) with horses coming off the bench. We will bet him to win at 8/5. The bet: Santa Anita Park, Race 5, $40 to win on 1-Bombard.
Oaklawn Park, Race 9, 6:10 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up
Six go in this tough second-level allowance for older females. The pick is favored 4-Perfect Happiness, who has lost as the chalk in each of her last two starts. She earned superior speed figures for those efforts, which is good, but what make us really favor her is her new trainer, Brad Cox, who hits with a very good 27% of horses making their first start in his barn. She has quite a bit of early zip, and an outside post; both are advantages, and while there is some speed to her inside, the post will allow rider Francisco Arrietta the luxury of using her speed as he sees fit. What causes perfect happiness at the track? Cashing tickets: we will bet Perfect Happiness to win at 3/2, and we will do so enthusiastically. The bet: Oaklawn Park, Race 9, $50 to win on 4-Perfect Happiness.
Santa Anita Park, Race 9, 8:22 pm ET
$100,000 Singletary Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 3-Year-Olds
A field of six lines up for the Singletary. We like 5-Gator Shining, who boasts an impressive pedigree for turf racing: He’s a Kentucky-bred by Noble Mission, a Giant’s Causeway stallion, and he’s out of a Galileo mare. While he’s not exactly been a win machine, with just one victory in five lifetime starts, he’s failed to hit the board only once, and they’ve all been in sprints, and he seems bred to be better at longer distances like this two-turn mile. He comes off a sharp effort when he tried closing into a slow pace to finish third; that was at 6 furlongs, and we think a similar effort today puts him in the winner’s circle. We will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 9, $40 to win on 5-Gator Shining.
That’s all for today. Until the next time, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.