Sunday at the Track: Garrity picks races at Belmont, Gulfstream and Santa Anita, including the Cinema Stakes
Garrity's first post is 3:34 pm EDT.
We have four plays on this hot spring Sunday: two at Belmont Park, and one each at Gulfstream and Santa Anita. We are playing for fast dirt and firm turf, so let’s go.
Belmont Park, Race 6, 3:34 pm ET
Starter Allowance, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
This starter allowance, which is restricted to horses who have started for a claiming price of $50,000 or less and which have never won two races, drew seven runners. 1-Indian Counselor comes pretty close to our embodiment of handicapping perfection: he has speed, he finishes his races strongly, he has superior speed and pace figures, and he cuts back to this 7-furlong distance after running in a couple of longer races. He will not get the lead here -- the early pacesetter should be the swift 3-Mister Phil -- but we think Indian Counselor can catch him with a big stretch move. We will bet Indian Counselor to win at 5/2. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 6, $40 to win on 1-Indian Counselor.
Belmont Park, Race 8, 4:40 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up
This is a very tough third-level allowance race, and in a race at this level, we would expect to see stakes-level runners. That is exactly the case, as most of the seven entrants are coming off starts in stakes races. We like 4-Speaktomeofsummer, a Christophe Clement filly who was last seen in December, spinning her wheels trying to make up ground on the speed-favoring turf course at Gulfstream Park. That she managed to finish third under those circumstances is quite an achievement, and in this spot, on the much fairer sod at Belmont, we expect her to run big. We will bet her to win at 3-1. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 8, $40 to win on 4-Speaktomeofsummer.
Gulfstream Park, Race 9, 5:02 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
A tough field of six goes in this tough second-level allowance dirt sprint. We’re all in on favored 3-Chance It, who returns from a long layoff, having last raced in last year’s Tampa Bay Derby, which was run in early March, just before the pandemic hit. That’s a long time away from the races, but his recent morning workouts, which have been very fast, seem to indicate that he is back, and ready to run off the bench. We also like that trainer Saffie Joseph is exceptionally good in this spot, with a superior 35% strike rate with horses coming off layoffs of six months or longer. He should be mid-pack early, and take the prize here with a strong move around the turn and down the stretch. We will bet him to win at 2-1. The bet: Gulfstream Park, Race 9, $40 to win on 3-Chance It.
Santa Anita Park, Race 7, 7:20 pm ET
$100,000 Cinema Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, 3-Year-Olds
The Cinema is another stakes race out West with a small field -- it drew just five entrants -- but we like it as a betting race, as on paper, the early pace should be somewhere between average and fast, and that will set up the powerful late charge of 2-Sword Zorro, who starts for trainer John Sadler, and who won his last start, the Singletary Stakes, with a furious closing rally. We see a repeat today for this Irish-bred colt, which makes his 5/2 morning line price more than appealing. We will bet him to win. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 7, $40 to win on 2-Sword Zorro.
That’s all for today. Until the next time, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.