Garrity's Saturday Stakes picks 3 races at Belmont Park and the Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park
The racing world on this summer Saturday awaits the opening of the marquee summer meets in New York and California next week, but there is still good stakes racing this afternoon, with three graded stakes for 3-year-olds of both sexes at Belmont Park, and older females contesting the Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park. We expect fast dirt in the main track races, and good turf in the grass races, both of which are in New York. With that out of the way, let’s go.
Belmont Park, Race 7, 4:06 pm ET
Grade 1 Belmont Oaks, 1 ¼ miles, Turf, 3-Year-Old FIllies
Eight go in the Belmont Oaks. The heavy favorite is 5-Santa Barbara, a European-based filly who comes into this race off a strong runner-up finish in a Group 1 race at the Curragh in her native Ireland. A win by her would not be a surprise, but at even money on the morning line, we think she is a poor play, and are looking to go elsewhere with our pari-mutuel dollars.
We like 2-Cirona. Like the favorite, she has been running against tough company in Europe, with her last three in Group races in France. She has the looks to us of a runner who has been brought to the U.S. for firmer going, and while the good turf at Belmont this afternoon is probably a bit softer than trainer Christophe Ferland was hoping for, we think she has a big chance. At 12-1, that makes her an enticing proposition; we will bet her to win. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 7, $40 to win on 2-Cirona.
Belmont Park, Race 8, 4:38 pm ET
Grade 3 Victory Ride Stakes, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies
The Victory Ride drew a field of six. 7-Australasia is a strong play: the Brad Cox trainee comes off a very sharp win in the Jersey Girl, and while she earned a good speed figure for that effort, what makes us like her in this spot is pace, as she’s a stalker in a race that has plenty of speed, and she should get an ideal trip just behind the early leaders, moving to the front when the fillies in front of her begin to slow down. We will bet Australasia to win at 2-1 odds, and we will do so enthusiastically. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 8, $50 to win on 7-Australasia.
Belmont Park, Race 9, 5:12 pm ET
Grade 1 Belmont Derby, 1 ¼ miles, Turf, 3-Year-Olds
Superstar Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien starts 2-Bolshoi Ballet here, who is the 7/5 morning line choice after winning a couple of Group 3 races earlier this year in his native Ireland. He could win, but we are going to try to beat him, and we will do so with longshot 7-Tokyo Gold, who has a Japanese name but was bred in France, and won a Group 2 race in Italy in his last start. He will like the going, he will love the distance, and at 15-1, we think he’s a terrific wager. We will bet him to win. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 9, $40 to win on 7-Tokyo Gold.
Delaware Park, Race 9, 5:15 pm ET
Grade 2 Delaware Handicap, 1 ¼ miles, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up
It’s the biggest day of the year for horse racing in Delaware, as the DelCap headlines a 10 race card. Seven go to the gate, and we see no reason to look past favored 5-Bonny South, who has an edge in both speed figures and in class, as her last few starts have been in tough stakes races in New York and Kentucky. Look for her to sit just behind the first flight of horses through the first six furlongs, to loom threateningly on the far turn, and to win going away with a strong finishing kick down the Delaware Park stretch. We will bet her to win at 3/2. The bet: Delaware Park, Race 9, $50 to win on 5-Bonny South.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.