Garrity's Sunday Stakes picks races at Gulfstream Park, Belmont, and Los Alamitos
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Garrity's Sunday Stakes picks races at Gulfstream Park, Belmont, and Los Alamitos

Garrity's first post is at 4:40 pm EDT.

We have five plays in four races on this Independence Day, from Belmont and Gulfstream Parks and Los Alamitos Race Course. While some like actual fireworks, we very much prefer those of a pari-mutuel variety: Let’s try to celebrate the 4th by blowing up the tote board, figuratively speaking, of course.

We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all races, except as noted below. Let’s go.

Belmont Park, Race 8, 4:40 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 furlongs, Turf, 3 & Up

A lot of rain fell in New York the past few days, and we’re expecting both this race, which drew a field of eight, and the Manila, which follows, to be run over yielding turf.

The pick here is 1-Maxwell Esquire, a Christophe Clement trainee whose form is a pretty good illustration of the importance of pace on the grass: in races with fast early fractions, he’s run big; in slower-paced races, his stretch run has been muted, and his results have been less good. We’re expecting the fractions here to be swift, which should set the table for him nicely; the fact that he has run well on yielding turf before is a nice plus. Look for him to be flying late. We bet him to win at 7/2, and we will play him in the Double (see below) comprising Races 8 and 9. The bets: Belmont Park, Race 8, $35 to win on 1-Maxwell Esquire; $25 double, 1 (Maxwell Esquire) with 2 (Public Sector).

Gulfstream Park, Race 9, 5:02 pm ET

$100,000 Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint, 5 furlongs, Turf, 3 & Up

We’re expecting the Bob Umphrey to be run on firm turf, but it rains almost every day in South Florida this time of year, so check conditions prior to post time.

If the turf does come up firm, we like 6-Ete Indian, who returns from a long layoff here, having last run over a year ago. He won the Fountain of Youth Stakes last year, and while that race was on dirt, he’s always looked more like a turf runner to us. He probably wants more ground than the five furlongs here, but we think that his innate class will make up for the less-than-optimal distance. And he has enough natural early speed to stay close to the early pace, which should be quick -- this is an important factor, as deep closers are up against it on the Gulfstream Park turf course. We will bet Ete Indian to win at 9/2. The bet: Gulfstream Park, Race 9, $35 to win on 6-Ete Indian.

Belmont Park, Race 9, 5:12 pm ET
$100,000 Manila Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 3-Year-Olds

Eight go in the Manila. The going makes 2-Public Sector a strong play: he’s an English-bred colt, and Chad Brown trainee, whose pedigree and race record show an affinity for softer going. Today will also be his third race of the year, and the way he ran the first two suggests that he will run big in this spot. We will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 9, $40 to win on 2-Public Sector.

Los Alamitos, Race 4, 5:28 pm ET
Grade 3 Los Alamitos Derby, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds

Just five go in the Los Al Derby, and trainer Bob Baffert -- you might have heard of him -- would appear to have the field over a barrel, as he has two entrants, 1-Classier and 3-Defunded, who appear to be better than the other three. But we are playing against both, as Baffert has been in a terrible slump since Medina Spirit’s positive test for betamethasone in May.

We’re throwing both of Baffert’s runners out, and going with longshot 4-Back Ring Luck, a John Sadler trainee who is 15-1, mostly because his last three races have been pretty poor. But he showed some ability prior to those, winning a good allowance at Oaklawn Park in March, and we think he just may wake up in his first try on the Los Alamitos racing surface, which is different than the one at Santa Anita, where his last three races were run. We will bet him to win at 15-1. The bet: Los Alamitos, Race 4, $30 to win on 4-Back Ring Luck.

That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.

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