Garrity's Saturday Stakes has picks at Belmont, Santa Anita, Churchill Downs; hopes to rejoice with La Gioiosa
There are five stakes races today across the country, and we are playing four of them: one in New York, one in Southern California, and a pair in Kentucky, where Churchill Downs will run an evening card. We’ve thrown in two additional races on each coast, for a Saturday six-pack of pari-mutuel fun. We are playing for fast dirt and firm turf in all of them, so let’s go.
Belmont Park, Race 8, 4:40 pm ET
Allowance, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, New York-bred Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
A field of ten lines up for this first-level allowance for state-bred females. We see no reason to look past favored 7-Breakfastatbonnies, who looked like a star breaking her maiden at Aqueduct on January 2, winning that race by over 11 lengths. She disappointed as the favorite in her next and last start, an allowance on March 20, but she did finish second, so she didn’t embarrass herself, especially considering that the race was at a mile, which is probably a bit farther than her optimum distance. The 6 ½ furlongs of this race should be right up her alley, and if she’s on her game, which we think she will be, then the rest of the field is running strictly for second money. We will bet her to win at 9/5. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 8, $40 to win on 7-Breakfastatbonnies.
Belmont Park, Race 9, 5:12 pm ET
$100,000 Seek Again Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 4 & Up
A field of eight older turf runners lines up for the Seek Again. We liked Chad Brown’s 6-Delaware in his last race, when he sprung an upset winning the Danger’s Hour Stakes at Aqueduct a month ago, and we see no reason to get off him now, as he has the best late kick in the field, a style that should work well with a rapid early pace likely. He’ll be in the rear early, as he was last time, but we think he will be first where it matters. We will bet him to win at 4-1. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 9, $40 to win on 6-Delaware.
Santa Anita Park, Race 5, 6:15 pm ET
Maiden Special Weight, 1 mile, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
We are suckers for European horses debuting in North American, but even by our admittedly biased standards, 1-La Gioiosa stands out. The French-bred sophomore filly actually finished first in a race as a 2-year-old last year, only to be disqualified and place fifth; she backed that up with a placing in a Group 3 race in France, finishing second to Tiger Tanaka in the Prix Francois Bouton at Deauville. Considering that Tiger Tanaka is a Group 1 winner who would be about 1/100 if she were running against this nondescript group of maidens, taking 9/5 on La Gioiosa seems like a pretty good wager, especially since her races in France last year were all run on soft going, and she figures to do better over the firm turf she will get at Santa Anita. We think we are going to see La Gioiosa in stakes races very soon, so we will jump on her bandwagon early. Look out for this one: we think she is going to do something special this afternoon. We will bet her to win, and we will do so with gusto. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 5, $60 to win on 1-La Gioiosa.
Santa Anita Park, Race 7, 7:19 pm ET
Grade 3 Honeymoon Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, 3-Year-Old Fillies
Seven go in the Honeymoon. We like the one all the way on the outside, 7-Madone, who has four wins in five career starts, her only loss coming in last year’s Breeders Cup Juvenile Filly Turf. She won her 2021 seasonal debut in her last start, taking the Grade 2 Senorita Stakes at Santa Anita on May 1, and while her figure for that effort was a bit light, and she will need to improve to take the Honeymoon, a step forward is exactly what we see, as this is her second start off a layoff, and horses typically deliver top performances in that spot. Look for her to earn a trip to the winner’s circle with a forwardly-placed trip, and a strong finish. We will bet her to win at 9/5. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 7, $35 to win on 7-Madone.
Churchill Downs, Race 5, 7:57 pm ET
Grade 3 Winning Colors Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up
They’ll be running under the lights at Churchill Downs by the time the gates open for the Winning Colors, which drew a field of six. We like 5-Bayerness, a 4-year-old filly who seems to be on the come: Her human connections ran her in longer races last year, without much success, including the Kentucky Oaks, where she finished a well-beaten seventh. Our take is that her poor results were the result of distance limitations, but now that she’s back to sprinting, we think she is quite dangerous. She won her last start, her first of the year, in very impressive fashion, and while her big speed figure in that race might have been inflated by the sloppy track, we think it’s more a case of a talented filly coming back to what she does best. She is 2-for-2 in her career at this distance, and we think she makes it a perfect 3-for-3 taking the Winning Colors. We will bet her to win at 5-1. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 5, $35 to win on 5-Bayerness.
Churchill Downs, Race 9, 10:11 pm ET
$100,000 Keertana Overnight Stakes, 1 ½ miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares, 4 & Up
A field of nine older female turf marathoners lines up for the Keertana, a good race to cap off a Saturday. Favored 8-Delta’s Kingdom, who runs for trainer Bill Mott, is an amazingly consistent 5-year-old mare who has earned virtually identical speed figures in her last half dozen starts, all of which were on the grass, and all of which were either at a mile and a half or a mile and three-eighths. She figures to run her typical effort in here, so the question is whether any of the other runners can beat her.
We think the answer is no: The past performances of the other entrants do not show that any of them are capable of beating Delta’s Kingdom. So we’ll take the chalk, and use it as a reminder that no matter how complex handicapping can be, sometimes the smartest angle is the simplest one: identify the best horse, and bet her to win. We will do that with Delta’s Kingdom, who’s 5/2. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 9, $40 to win on 8-Delta’s Kingdom.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.