Friday Dad's Hat Happy Hour Horse Racing: Garrity picks Belmont, Pimlico, Churchill Downs, Santa Anita
Garrity's first post is at 4:08 pm EDT. Let it rye-d.
It feels like it’s been a while since we’ve done this, so we’re thrilled that it’s Friday, and that it’s time for another edition of Dad’s Hat Happy Hour Handicapping. We have five plays at four tracks, in five races that will be run about forty minutes’ time, and we expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them. So pour yourself a tumbler of your favorite hand-crafted libation from Dad’s Hat, and let’s go.
Belmont Park, Race 7, 4:08 pm ET
Maiden Special Weight, 1 mile, Dirt, New York-bred FIllies & Mares 3 & Up
A field of eight goes to the post in the 7th at Belmont, a maiden race for females bred in the Empire State. We like a first-time starter, 4-Tapple Cider, a 3-year-old filly who is owned by Sackatoga Stable, trained by Barclay Tagg, and will be ridden by Manny Franco. If these names sound familiar, they are the same connections behind Tiz the Law, who won last year’s Belmont Stakes. Tagg is not known for winning with debut horses, but Tapple Cider looks like a runner, and we think she can beat this pedestrian group. We will bet her to win at 5-1. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 7, $35 to win on 4-Tapple Cider.
Pimlico Race Course, Race 8, 4:15 pm ET
Starter Allowance, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 3 & Up
We’re going chalky in the 8th in Baltimore, as favored 2-Belfour looks better than the five who line up against him. He’s won two in a row, and we would normally try to beat a favorite like him -- he stays in the starter allowance ranks, rather than moving up in class, even though his last two wins were at this level -- the short field lacks a viable alternative. Belfour can win on the lead, or he can win by sitting just off it; either way, he appears headed to the winner’s circle, and we will bet him to win at 8/5. The bet: Pimlico, Race 8, $40 to win on 2-Belfour.
Churchill Downs, Race 8, 4:22 pm ET
Allowance, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds
A good field of ten first-level allowance horses goes to the gate in the 8th at Churchill Downs. We like 4-Mr Sippi, who moved forward in a big way in his last start, when he got big figures winning a maiden race on the Kentucky Derby undercard. We like that recency, and we also like that he has shown that he likes the dirt at Churchill, as not all horses do. We think he can work a good stalking trip from his inside post, behind what should be legitimate early fractions, and win with a big move turning for home. We will bet him to win at 7/2. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 8, $35 to win on 4-Mr Sippi.
Santa Anita Park, Race 2, 4:34 pm ET
Maiden Special Weight, 4 ½ furlongs, Dirt, 2-Year-Old Fillies
This is a real handicapper's race, with seven juvenile fillies entered, and six of them first-time starters. There are a couple of things we look for with firsters, and 7-Harddiane has all of them: she is by Hard Spun, a good win-early sire; she is trained by Ryan Hanson, who is good with debuting runners; and she has shown some ability, and some speed, in her morning workouts leading up to this spot. She also gets an advantageous outside post, and will be ridden by Emily Ellingwood, who has impressed us as a talented young rider, and who as an apprentice gets a 7-pound break in the weights. Add all this up, and we’re all in: we will bet Harddiane to win at 7/2. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 2, $35 to win on 7-Harddiane.
Belmont Park, Race 8, 4:40 pm ET
Allowance, 6 furlongs, Turf, 3 & Up
A field of seven lines up to sprint six turf furlongs in today’s featured race at Belmont Park. The pick is 3-Into the Sunrise, who comes into this allowance after running in three consecutive stakes races. He has only one win in six career starts, but he has been running against much tougher, and he starts for trainer Wesley Ward, whose barn has gotten quite hot in the past week or so. Look for Into the Sunrise to stalk the early pace, move to the lead in mid-stretch, and hold off the closers late. We will bet him to win at 7/2. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 8, $40 to win on 3-Into the Sunrise.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.