Friday Dad's Hat Happy Hour Horse Racing: Garrity picks races at Belmont, Los Alamitos and Ellis Park
It’s Friday, and the start of the long Independence Day weekend. We will celebrate with another installment of Dad’s Hat Happy Hour Handicapping, with today’s edition containing plays in five races from three tracks in just under an hour’s time. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all races, except as noted below, so pour yourself one of the fine hand-crafted libations from our friends at Dad’s Hat, and let’s go.
Belmont Park, Race 7, 4:08 pm ET
Starter Allowance, 1 mile, Dirt, 3 & Up
The rains came to Belmont Park yesterday, and the main track on Friday morning was listed as sloppy. We expect dry conditions throughout the day, and that should leave the track fast, or close to it, for this starter allowance that goes as Race 7.
The pick, of the six who remain after scratches, is 2-Kid Bourbon, who has good pace and speed figures, and gets the services of top jockey Irad Ortiz. Look for him to stalk the leaders from his inside post, and win with a big move at the top of the stretch. We will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 7, $35 to win on 2-Kid Bourbon.
Los Alamitos (Thoroughbred), Race 2, 4:28 pm ET
$8,000 Claiming, 5 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
Seven go in the 2nd at Los Al, and the pick is favored 4-Shuster, a California-bred who has been finishing last, or close to it, all year, but was getting trounced at much higher levels than this bottom-level $8,000 claimer. Speed figures say he’s the likeliest winner, and so do we. We will bet him to win at 9/5. The bet: Los Alamitos, Race 2, $40 to win on 4-Shuster.
Ellis Park, Race 7, 4:40 pm ET
Allowance, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
The field of seven in this Ellis Park allowance is pretty evenly matched in terms of speed figures, so we are going to separate them using an old trick we learned many, many years ago, which is to take the horse with the most early speed. That is 1-Edge to Edge, who should get the lead from his inside post, and from there, is going to be very hard to catch. He’s won his last two starts, and while they were at a lower level than this, we think he is sharp enough to handle this group. We will bet that Edge to Edge can wire the field at 5-1, and will bet him to win. The bet: Ellis Park, Race 7, $40 to win on 1-Edge to Edge.
Belmont Park, Race 8, 4:40 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 7 furlongs, Turf, New York-bred Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
We are expecting yielding turf for the featured race at Belmont today, a 7 furlong turf sprint for state-bred fillies and mares. 9-Kopopelli is a strong play: she comes from the Christophe Clement barn, and is undefeated after two starts, and will make it three-for-three today. She won’t be a huge price, but there is value in every winner, and Kopopelli is far and away the likeliest winner in this group. We will bet her to win at 9/5. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 8, $50 to win on 9-Kopopelli.
Los Alamitos (Thoroughbred), Race 3, 4:58 pm ET
$20,000 Maiden Claiming, 1 mile, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
A field of eight lines up for the 3rd at Los Alamitos, and while it’s not the fastest group of maidens ever assembled in the Golden State, it’s a good betting race. We like 6-Predetermination, who was thoroughly outrun in his two career starts, but who today switches from grass to dirt. He has a dirt-oriented pedigree, and a trainer, Andy Mathis, who excels (26% win rate) with horses switching from the sod to conventional dirt. At 6-1, we think he’s in with a big shot, and will play him to win. The bet: Los Alamitos, Race 3, $30 to win on 6-Predetermination.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.