Sunday Horse Racing: Garrity picks Belmont, Churchill Downs & Woodbine, plus 2 stakes at Lone Star Park
With a dearth of stakes action at the major tracks, we’re turning to Lone Star Park, which puts on Lone Star Showcase Day, featuring four stakes for state-breds. We have two of the races from deep in the heart of Texas, plus three allowance elsewhere, for a five-spot of Sunday action. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them, so let’s go.
Belmont Park, Race 8, 4:40 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
Seven line up for this second-level allowance for turf females. The Chad Brown-trained 7-Kalifornia Queen is a 4-year-old German-bred filly who has burned some money since coming to North America from Europe over the winter, finishing fourth and sixth in a pair of stakes races at Gulfstream Park and Keeneland, respectively. We think those were a function of pace more than ability, as she is a stone-cold deep closer, and the pace in both of her prior races was slow, which largely negated her late kick. She should get an ideal setup here, as there is enough early zip in the group to ensure at least reasonably fast early fractions, and we think that will allow Kalifornia Queen to run the best race of which she is capable. And that should be enough to take the prize here. We will bet her to win at 2-1. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 8, $40 to win on 7-Kalifornia Queen.
Churchill Downs, Race 9, 4:55 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
Races at this third-level allowance level are usually very, very tough, with fields similar to stakes races, so it’s a bit surprising to see that the field of eight older females here came up pretty weak. The one entrant with good recent form is 5-Sister Hanan, a 5-year-old daughter of Orb whose last three starts were in graded stakes races. She didn’t win any of them, but she ran passably well, and that makes her strictly the one to beat here. We also like that she has some versatility, as she can sit back if the early pace is fast, or go to the front if the pace is slow. We will bet her to win at 5/2. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 9, $40 to win on 5-Sister Hanan.
Woodbine, Race 9, 5:31 pm ET
Allowance, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, 3 & Up
This is one of the most wide-open races of the day, with a field of 14 entered to traverse eight-and-a-half furlongs over Woodbine’s sweeping turf course. We like 5-English Conqueror, who was last seen finishing third in a $400,000 stakes in October. That race was at a mile and a half, and over good turf; he cuts back to a mile-and-a-sixteenth here, and gets firm turf, both conditions for which he is better suited. He should be mid-pack early, move to the front at the top of the stretch, and hold off the closers late. We will bet him to win at 6-1. The bet: Woodbine, Race 9, $35 to win on 5-English Conqueror.
Lone Star Park, Race 7, 6:23 pm ET
$75,000 Lane’s End Danny Shifflett Scholarship Stakes, 7 ½ furlongs, Turf, Texas-bred Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
An even dozen Texas-bred turf females line up for the Danny Shifflett. A fast pace looks likely, as there is quite a bit of speed in the group, including a couple of stretch-out sprinters, which should set the table nicely for 3-No Mas Tequila, a confirmed closer who should get an ideal setup here. She finished third in her last, an allowance at this 7½-furlong distance, and while on the surface that result may seem a bit lacking, she had heaps of trouble, drawing the outside post and going very wide around both turns. Despite the extra ground she covered, she ran quite well, taking the lead at the top of the stretch, only to get caught late. We think she’s live here, and at 12-1, that makes her an excellent play. We will bet her to win. The bet: Lone Star, Race 7, $35 to win on 3-No Mas Tequila.
Lone Star Park, Race 8, 6:51 pm ET
$75,000 Tex Stallion Pan Zareta Division Stakes, 4 ½ furlongs, Dirt, 2-Year-Old Fillies
This stakes drew a field of eight juvenile filles bred in the Lone Star State. We like a first-time starter, 2-Texas Thunder, who has a fairly ordinary-looking pedigree, but who sold for $112,000 as a yearling, a whopping figure for a Texas-bred. She looks like she may be a runner, with a couple of sneaky good morning workouts in the past few weeks, and that’s enough to take a stab with her at very appealing 8-1 odds. We will bet her to win. The bet: Lone Star, Race 8, $30 to win on 2-Texas Thunder.
That’s all for today. Until the next time, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.