Friday Dad's Hat Happy Hour Horse Racing: Garrity picks Belmont, Churchill Downs, Santa Anita, and Monmouth
First race is at 4:08 pm EDT, last race is at 5 pm. Let it rye-d.
WIth the Triple Crown over, we are settling into the heart of the summer racing season. We will do that with another Friday edition of Dad’s Had Happy Hour Handicapping, in which we will play five races at four track in just under an hour’s time. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all races, so pour yourself about three fingers of one of the fine libations from Dad’s Hat, and let’s go.
Belmont Park, Race 7, 4:08 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
This second-level allowance dirt sprint drew a field of seven. We like 7-Finding Fame, who has missed at this level in her last three tries, but who did not run a bad race in any of them. She should get an ideal trip from her advantageous outside post, stalking the leaders while steering clear of traffic trouble on the rail, and win with a move when the field straightens for home. We will bet her to win at 5/2. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 7, $40 to win on 7-Finding Fame.
Churchill Downs, Race 8, 4:22 pm ET
Allowance, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, 3 & Up
This interesting first-level allowance drew a field of nine. We like 2-Imani’s Eagle, and we like him for two reasons: One is that he earned a good speed figure in his last start, when he finished second in an allowance race; and the second is that he ran that race at Oaklawn Park, and since the Oaklawn meeting ended a bit over a month ago, horses who spent the winter and spring there have done very, very well moving on to new tracks. Imani’s Eagle fits that profile, and as a 4-year-old son of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, he still appears to have quite a bit of upside. He should get a forwardly placed, pace-pressing trip from his inside post; we will bet him to win at 4-1. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 8, $35 to win on 2-Imani’s Eagle.
Santa Anita Park, Race 2, 4:37 pm ET
$75,000 Maiden Claiming, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
This $75,000 maiden claimer at Santa Anita drew a field of seven. We like 1-Allaboutthemoney, who has a lot going on: he drops into maiden claiming company after running exclusively in straight maiden races; he cuts back to sprinting after running in route races; and this will be his first start after being gelded. Any of those things can cause a dramatic improvement in a horse’s results, but what we like the most about his chances is the race shape we are projecting: He’s a closer in a race that looks to have a fast pace, and a winner coming from behind. We will bet him to win at 6-1. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 2, $35 to win on 2-Allaboutthemoney.
Belmont Park, Race 8, 4:40 pm ET
Allowance, 1 ¼ miles, Turf, 3 & Up
Eight go in this first-level allowance at 10 furlongs on grass. We’re all over favored 7-Shamrocket, a 4-year-old Todd Pletcher trainee who comes off an excellent fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Man ‘o War Stakes at Belmont on May 8. He was only a length and a half behind the winner that day, and if he runs back to that effort, he’s going to win this one easily. We think he will do just that, which makes his 8/5 morning line price more than palatable. Look for him to be in the rear early, and to earn a trip to the winner’s circle with a powerful late rally. We will bet him to win. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 8, $40 to win on 7-Shamrocket.
Monmouth Park, Race 1, 5:00 pm ET
Starter Allowance, 1 mile, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
Seven females go in the opener on the Friday evening twilight card at the Jersey Shore. The pick is the stretch-running 2-Unbridledadventure, an admirably consistent 7-year-old mare who has been competing at a similar level at Parx in suburban Philadelphia. She figures to get an ideal trip, sitting behind a couple of speed-and-fade types, and we think the kind of late rally she has shown in all of her races this year will be good enough to beat this mediocre group. We will bet her to win at 7/2. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 1, $35 to win on 2-Unbridedadventure.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.