Garrity's Saturday Stakes picks races at Thistledown, Belmont and Churchill Downs, including the Wise Dan
On this sultry early summer Saturday, we have plays in five stakes races, from New York to Ohio to Kentucky. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all five, so let’s go.
Thistledown, Race 8, 4:14 pm ET
$250,000 Lady Jacqueline Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
There’s some good racing at Thistledown today, including this one, the Lady Jacqueline, whose $250,000 purse has attracted some of the sport’s big names: Bill Mott, Steve Asmussen, and Brad Cox all have runners. But it is an entrant from a fourth big name, Todd Pletcher’s 9-Spice is Nice, that we fancy: she’s coming off two very fast races, wins in an allowance at Keeneland and a Grade 3 stakes at Pimlico, and she seems poised for a third big effort in this spot. That makes her 3-1 morning line price very appealing. We will bet her to win. The bet: Thistledown, Race 8, $30 to win on 9-Spice is Nice.
Thistledown, Race 9, 5:04 pm ET
Grade 3 Ohio Derby, 1 ⅛ miles, 3-Year-Olds
A good field of eleven 3-year-olds lines up for the Ohio Derby. We like 9-Proxy, who spent the winter in Louisiana, and looked like he might be a Triple Crown runner until the competition got just a little bit too tough for him. This is a colt who finished second to Mandaloun in the Risen Star, and 3 ¾ lengths behind Hot Rod Charlie in the Louisiana Derby so there is some ability there, and we think that today in suburban Cleveland, Proxy will show it. At 5-1, he’s a terrific play; we will bet him to win. The bet: Thistledown, Race 9, $40 to win on 9-Proxy.
Belmont Park, Race 9, 5:12 pm ET
$100,000 Wild Applause Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 3-Year-Old Fillies
Nine 3-year-old fillies line up for the Wild Applause. We like 6-Bubbles on Ice, who won a minor stakes race at Aqueduct in April, then appeared to flop in the Hilltop Stakes at Pimlico last month, finishing fifth as the favorite. A look at the replay of the Hilltop suggests that Bubbles on Ice ran much, much better that day than her running line would indicate, as she was trapped on the rail at the top of the stretch, and was bumped repeatedly down the stretch as her jockey tried to find some room for her to unleash her late run. This was not minor contact -- at one point it looked like she was playing bumper cars -- so it’s a sign of her quality that she managed to finish only a bit over two lengths behind the winner. We think she is very dangerous here, but because of that superficially bad race in Baltimore, she’s a juicy 8-1 on the morning line. We’ll take that all day long, and will bet her to win. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 9, $50 to win on 6-Bubbles on Ice.
Churchill Downs, Race 10, 5:26 pm ET
Grade 2 Wise Dan Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, 4 & Up
A terrific field of eleven lines up for the Wise Dan. 7-Ride a Comet is a strong play: he’s run in three straight Grade 1 races going back to March, knocking heads with some very tough turf horses, and here gets a bit of class relief. Look for him to sit mid-pack, or perhaps just a bit farther back, early, and to be rolling late. We will bet him to win at 5-1. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 10, $40 to win on 7-Ride a Comet.
Churchill Downs, Race 12, 6:27 pm ET
Tepin Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 3-Year-Old Fillies
Thirteen 3-year-old fillies line up for the Tepin, but we have eyes for just one: 1-Invincible Gal, a Graham Motion trainee who had a near miss in her last, finishing second, a neck behind the winner, in the Soaring Softly Stakes at Belmont on May 15. We think that was a fine effort, especially since it was her first race since November, and she should be primed to run even better here today in her second start off the layoff. That makes her strictly the one to beat. We will bet her to win at 9/2. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 12, $40 to win on 1-Invincible Gal.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.