Friday Dad's Hat Happy Hour Horse Racing: Garrity picks Churchill Downs, Belmont, Los Alamitos and Monmouth
It’s Friday, and you know what that means: it’s time for another edition of Dad’s Hat Happy Hour Handicapping. Today we will play five races from four tracks, all of which go off in a cocktail-friendly, late afternoon window of about 45 minutes. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all races, so let’s go.
Churchill Downs, Race 8, 4:22 pm ET
Allowance, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
A full field of ten goes to the gate in this turf affair. We like 7-Vividly, who finished a close third in her last start, which was at this first-level allowance level. We think that result was better than it looks on paper, as Vividly is a closer, and she was trying to rally behind slow fractions that day. That is not easy to do, so the fact that she made up any ground is a plus. With a much swifter early pace likely today, we think her late rally will be much more effective; effective enough, in fact, to carry her to the winner’s circle. We will bet her to win at 7/2. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 8, $35 to win on 7-Vividly.
Belmont Park, Race 8, 4:40 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, 3-Year-Old Fillies
A good field of seven sophomore fillies lines up for today’s 8th at Belmont Park. We like 5-Line Dancing, who broke her maiden for trainer Michael Matz last August at Laurel Park, and did so impressively enough that she has run exclusively in stakes since. She didn’t win any of her four tries in those black-type races, but she didn’t embarrass herself either, and we think dropping back into allowance company is going to be just the ticket for getting her back to the winner’s circle. We will bet her to win at 4-1. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 8, $40 to win on 5-Line Dancing.
Churchill Downs, Race 9, 4:55 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
Eleven go here. The pick is 8-Answer In, a 4-year-old Brad Cox trainee who was the beaten favorite in last year’s Southwest Stakes, an early Kentucky Derby prep. His results since have been mixed at best, but we think that is a case of distance, as he’s been running in long races. His two best races, of the six since the 2020 Southwest, were at this 6 furlongs, and we think that he will show today that this is his preferred distance. Look for him to stalk the leaders, and to win with a powerful late move. We will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 9, $35 to win on 8-Answer In.
Los Alamitos (Thoroughbred), Race 3, 4:58 pm ET
$50,000 Maiden Claiming, 5 ½ furlongs, Dirt, California-breds 3 & Up
With the marathon Santa Anita meeting finally concluded, and the boutique Del Mar summer meet not starting for another three weeks, Los Alamitos, which is primarily a track for Quarter Horse racing, steps in to fill the gap in the calendar. Today’s 3rd at Los Al is a state-bred maiden claimer that drew a field of eight.
We think the change of scenery will be just what the doctor ordered for 2-Supersonic Flyer, who in five career starts seems to have mastered the art of the speed-and-fade. But she’s done all her running at Santa Anita, where the dirt course is pretty significantly less speed-favoring the one at Los Al. We think today her high early speed is going to be an unmitigated asset, and will in fact carry her to the winner’s circle. We will bet her to win at 5/2. The bet: Los Alamitos, Race 3, $35 to win on 2-Supersonic Flyer.
Monmouth Park, Race 1, 5:00 pm ET
Maiden Special Weight, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, New Jersey-bred Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
The opener at the Jersey Shore, a maiden race for state-breds, drew a field of eight. 6-Ageless Artist is a strong play: While her recent tries were in the maiden claiming ranks, they were against open company (i.e. horses bred in other states, including Kentucky and Florida) at Tampa Bay Downs, and here her competition is strictly her fellow Jersey girls. This is a case where going from a maiden claiming to a straight maiden race is a drop in class -- and we think it is a significant drop, and that as a result, Ageless Artist is going to demolish this field. She simply looks better than the other seven, so we will bet her to win at 5/2. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 1, $40 to win on 6-Ageless Artist.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.