Garrity's Saturday Stakes picks NY-bred races at Belmont & the Snow Chief, San Juan Capistrano at Santa Anita
It’s a Saturday in early summer, which means horse racing: there are good stakes all across the country. We have plays in four of them, a pair each at Belmont and Santa Anita Parks. It’s an all-grass lineup today, and we expect firm turf in all of them. So let’s go.
Belmont Park, Race 6, 3:34 pm ET
New York Stallion Series Stakes, 7 furlongs, Turf, New York-bred 3-Year-Old Fillies
The Cupecoy’s Joy division of the New York Stallion Series, a group of stakes races for New York-breds, goes as Race 6 at Belmont today, and it drew a nice field of eleven. The favorite is 10-Ava’s Grace, who has only one win in her four career starts, but they were all against open company, meaning horses bred in any state, including such Thoroughbred factories as Kentucky and Florida. On class, she would appear to be a strong play, but we think that at a short price she is a bet-against, as she has yet to run on turf, and both her pedigree and running style suggest she may be a far better dirt than grass runner.
We like 1-Show Me the Honey, who like Ava’s Grace last ran against open company, finishing fourth in a stakes at Aqueduct last fall; but unlike the favorite, she has shown that she is a quite competent turf filly. We also like the fact that she is a strong finisher among a group of speed-and-fade types. She last ran in November, and the layoff is a concern, but if trainer Michelle Nevin can have her ready, we think she can win at the very nice price of 8-1. We will bet her to win. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 6, $30 to win on 1-Show Me the Honey.
Belmont Park, Race 9, 5:12 pm ET
New York Stallion Series Stakes, 7 furlongs, Turf, New York-bred 3-Year-Olds
The Spectacular Bid division of the New York Stallion Series is for 3-year-old colts, and a full field of thirteen of them go to the gate. We like 13-Step Dancer, a Barclay Tagg trainee who has run twice in 2021. He spun his wheels in the first of them, trying to make up ground on Gulfstream Park’s speed-favoring turf course, and then ran a very good race last month at Belmont Park, finishing third, just a neck behind the winner, in an allowance race. He had some traffic trouble in that Belmont race, going eight wide around the far turn, and with a cleaner trip today, we think he is headed to the winner’s circle. We will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 9, $40 to win on 13-Step Dancer.
Santa Anita, Race 9, 8:23 pm ET
$150,000 Snow Chief Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, California-breds 3-Year-Olds
A field of nine California-bred colts lines up for the Snow Chief. The pick is 4-Big Talker, a Tim Yakteen trainee who should get an ideal setup, as he’s a closer, and we expect the pace to be swift, setting up his late run. We also like the fact that Yakteen adds blinkers, as they should help keep him engaged during the early stages of the race, when he has had a tendency to lose his focus a little bit. Look for Big Talker to be toward the rear early, but first where it matters. We will bet him to win at 4-1. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 9, $35 to win on 4-Big Talker. \
Santa Anita Park, Race 11, 9:29 pm ET
Grade 3 San Juan Capistrano Stakes, 1 ¾ miles, Turf, 3 & Up
It’s closing weekend in Southern California, and the San Juan Capistrano is in its traditional place at the conclusion of the long Santa Anita meeting. We’ve always liked the race, partly on its own merits, but also because it’s a sign of the change of seasons: a meet that started in deep winter and ran through the spring concludes on the summer solstice.
The 2021 edition of the San Juan Capistrano drew a field of six. Most of them look like they are going to struggle to stay the race’s mile and three-quarters distance, which makes the pick 2-Red King, who won the race last year. He’s been running in shorter races, mostly because stakes at this distance are rare, but we think he’ll show that he’s a true stayer. We will bet him to win at 5/2, and enjoy one last chance to watch horses come down the Santa Anita hillside turf course. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 11, $50 to win on 2-Red King.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.