Garrity's Saturday Stakes picks the Singspiel at Woodbine, the Alabama at Saratoga and Del Mar's biggest day
It’s peak summer racing on this August Saturday, with some terrific stakes in the East, and the biggest day of the season out West. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get to it: we have a half dozen plays today, a Saturday six-pack, and we expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them. Let’s go.
Woodbine, Race 8, 4:47 pm ET
Grade 3 Singspiel Stakes, 1 ¼ miles, Turf, 3 & Up
NIne go in the Singspiel. 1-Eons is a strong pick: he comes into this race off a good win in the Buckland Stakes at Colonial Downs, and we think his run that day was even better than it looks on paper, as he mounted his late charge into a moderate early pace. Today, at a longer distance that he should relish, and on the undulating, sweeping Woodbine turf course that favors his closing running style, we think he’s going to run big. At 2-1, we are betting on it. We will play him to win. The bet: Woodbine, Race 8, $40 to win on 1-Eons.
Saratoga, Race 10, 6:13 pm ET
Grade 1 Alabama Stakes, 1 ¼ miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies
The question in assessing the Alabama, for handicapping purposes, anyway, is very simple: can we try to beat morning line favorite, 6-Malathaat? The Todd Pletcher trainee has been impressive any way you slice it, against the clock or visually, and her win in the Kentucky Oaks, when she beat Search Results after a thrilling stretch duel, was one of the best races of the year. She is certainly the deserving chalk here.
But we think we can play against Malathaat, and we think so for a couple of reasons. One is that her lone defeat was in her last race, when she was all out to run second in the Coaching Club American Oaks. She may rebound today, but it’s just as easy to imagine that she may be a bit short after a race that appeared to be pretty draining. Another reason is that the 10 furlongs of the Alabama is a new distance for her: she’s never run this far before, and while her pedigree suggests she will get a mile and a quarter, it’s never a sure thing until you see a horse do it. And the last and probably most important reason is price: she’s going to be something like 2/5, and as a card-carrying contrarian, we are almost obligated to take a swing against her.
We like 1-Crazy Beautiful. She has always been a highly regarded filly, but she seemed to find a new dimension in her last start, when she won the Delaware Oaks by six lengths under a hand ride. She was visually gorgeous winning that race, and she looks to us like a long-striding late bloomer, and these types of horses are always dangerous at this time of year. Look for her to sit behind the speed early, and to be rolling late. We will bet her to win at 6-1. The bet: Saratoga, Race 10, $40 to win on 1-Crazy Beautiful.
Del Mar, Race 7, 8:04 pm ET
Grade 2 Del Mar Mile, 1 mile, Turf, 3 & Up
The Del Mar Mile, one of five stakes on the biggest day of the Del Mar meet, drew a field of six. We like 6-Mo Forza, who has been away for a while, with his last start in October, but he won this race off a layoff last year, and when he is right, he is better than the rest of this group. We will bet him to win at 8/5. The bet: Del Mar, Race 7, $35 to win on 6-Mo Forza.
Del Mar, Race 9, 9:03 pm ET
Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks, 1 mile, Turf, 3-Year-Old Fillies
A field of nine lines up for the Del Mar Oaks, and while the leading sophomore filly turf runners on the West Coast, including 3-Going Global and 4-Madone, are among them, we like an outsider, 9-Soaring Sky, whom trainer Jessica Harrington ships to Southern California all the way from her native Ireland. She has run well without winning in her last few starts, but those races were on softer ground, and a couple of them were against open company and older horses. In the Del Mar Oaks, against fellow 3-year-old fillies and over firm turf she should find very much to her liking, we think she is in with a big chance, which makes her 12-1 morning line price enormously attractive. We will bet her to win. The bet: Del Mar, Race 9, $40 to win on 9-Soaring Sky.
Del Mar, Race 10, 9:33 pm ET
Grade 1 Pacific Classic, 1 ¼ miles, Dirt, 3 & Up
The Pacific Classic, the West Coast’s premier summer race, goes as the 10th at Del Mar. It drew a field of nine, and while it’s not the most impressive assemblage of talent in the race’s history, it is a good betting race, as the runners are pretty evenly matched. Our pick is 4-Royal Ship, and the race’s mile and a quarter distance is a big reason why: Most of the entrants have never run this far, and quite a few of them have race records that suggest that the distance is farther than they’d like to go. This is not so for Royal Ship, who ran the best race of his life two back, when he ran second, a head behind Country Grammer, in the 10-furlong Hollywood Gold Cup at Santa Anita on May 31. His recent workouts have been good, and Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella, who is a maestro at getting horses prepared to run in big spots, appears to have him ready. We will bet Royal Ship to win at 7/2. The bet: Del Mar, Race 10, $40 to win on 4-Royal Ship.
Del Mar, Race 11, 10:03 pm ET
Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap, 1 ⅜ miles, Turf, 3 & Up
The nightcap at Del Mar is a good one: the grade 2 Del Mar Handicap, in which eleven older horses will traverse a mile and three quarters on the sod. We liked 4-United in his last start, when he won the Eddie Read at Del Mar on July 24, and we see no reason to stop backing him here: He is supremely fit, and has some versatility, which will allow him to sit close to the pacesetters if the early fractions are slow, which on paper looks likely. This kind of forwardly-placed trip gives him the nod over the other contenders, who are good, but who are late runners, and whose abilities will be compromised by both the way the race is run and the configuration of the Del Mar turf course, which plays against deep closers. We will bet United to win at 2-1. The bet: Del Mar, Race 11, $40 to win on 4-United.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.