Dad's Hat Happy Hour Horse Racing: Garrity picks Pimlico, Churchill Downs, Gulfstream, Santa Anita, Belmont
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Dad's Hat Happy Hour Horse Racing: Garrity picks Pimlico, Churchill Downs, Gulfstream, Santa Anita, Belmont

Races run today from 4:15 pm EDT to 4:40 pm. Let it rye-d.

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another here-comes-the-weekend edition of Dad’s Hat Happy Hour Handicapping, in which we play a bunch of races in a short period of time. Today, we have five plays in five races in just 35 minutes, at tracks from one end of the country to the other. We expect fine spring weather, and fast dirt and firm turf, at all of them, so pour yourself three fingers of one of the fine, hand-crafted concoctions from Dad’s Hat, and let’s go.

Pimlico, Race 8, 4:15 pm ET

Allowance, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

Eight go in this first-level allowance for turf females. The pace looks fast, which makes the pick 7-Mosalah, a Maryland-bred 4-year-old filly who was last seen running a decent third in a state-bred stakes at Laurel Park. That was last October, so she’s coming off a layoff, but we think this race will set up perfectly for her, as the other entrants are either speed types or appear to prefer dirt to grass, and the shape of the race should set the table quite nicely for her late charge. We will bet her to win at 5-1. The bet: Pimlico, Race 8, $30 to win on 7-Mosalah.

Churchill Downs, Race 8, 4:22 pm ET

Allowance, 5 furlongs, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

This race is the most fun, and the toughest, race to handicap that we’ve seen in a while. A full field of twelve goes to the gate, the kind of race that practically begs the player to take a shot with a runner at a price, and we are doing just that, in the form of 2-Coppelia, who showed quite a bit of quality breaking her maiden at Oaklawn Park last month. That race was on dirt, and this is on turf, but she has both the pedigree and the running style to suggest that she will like the sod, and trainer Phil Bauer has a good eye for moving horses from dirt to turf. We don’t think she is quite fast enough to get the early lead, but that is a good thing, as the pace here looks hot, too fast for the pacesetters to last through the finish line. So look for Coppelia to sit just behind the first group early, and to win with a big move in the stretch. We will bet her to win at 10-1. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 8, $30 to win on 2-Coppelia.

Gulfstream Park, Race 8, 4:32 pm ET

Starter Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds

A field of nine lines up for the 8th at Gulfstream Park, a conditioned allowance restricted to 3-year-olds who have started for a claiming price of $25,000 or less. The presence of a couple of one-dimensional speedballs should ensure a fast pace, a winner coming from just off it, and we think that will be 5-Flamingo Hawk, who starts for trainer Saffie Joseph. He broke his maiden quite impressively at Gulfstream Park on March 5, earning a very good speed figure, and then chased a very fast early pace to finish third in his first try against winners on April 10. He should get an ideal trip sitting just behind the leaders early, and move to the front when the speed horses begin to shorten stride when the field turns for home. We will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Gulfstream Park, Race 8, $35 to win on 5-Flamingo Hawk.

Santa Anita Park, Race 2, 4:34 pm ET

Maiden Special Weight, 4 ½ furlongs, Dirt, 2-Year-Old Fillies

This is the first baby race we’ve played this year, and that by itself is a reason for celebration. A new crop of racehorses is a glorious thing, a sign that life goes on, that the world keeps spinning, even in the midst of a pandemic.

The field is comprised of six juvenile fillies, and they are all first-time starters, so we’re relying on pedigrees, workout information, and trainer skills in assessing them. The one who combines them the best is on the inside, 1-Distorted Diva, who is by win-early stallion Distorted Humor, and who has workouts that suggest she has speed. Look for her to go right to the front from her rail post, and to take the prize in wire-to-wire fashion. We will bet her to win at 7/2. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 2, $35 to win on 1-Distorted Diva.

Belmont Park, Race 8, 4:40 pm ET

Allowance, 1 ¼ miles. Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

Seven go in this first-level grass allowance, but we have eyes for only one, 5-Caen Na Coille, a 5-year-old mare who was bred in Kentucky, began her career in England, and made her stateside debut for trainer Graham Motion a month ago at Aqueduct, where she finished fourth. That was a tougher field than this one, and we expect a step forward in her second start on this side of the pond. Those two together should produce a trip to the winner’s circle, especially since she’s got a bit of early speed, and if the early pace is nonexistent, which is definitely possible, she may end up with a dream trip, running loose on the lead in very, very slow fractions. We will bet her to win at 9/5. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 8, $40 to win on 5-Caen Na Coille.

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

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