Garrity's Friday Stakes and Dad's Hat Happy Hour has picks for Saratoga, Del Mar and big night at Charles Town
It’s Friday, which means another installment of Dad’s Hat Happy Hour Handicapping. With too much good racing on the docket to squeeze into just 60 minutes, we are going to take a page from our younger days, and spread happy hour over most of the evening. So pour yourself one of the delicious, hand-crafted libations from our friends at Dad’s Hat, but pace yourself, for we have plays in seven races this afternoon and evening, and we expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them. Let’s go.
Saratoga, Race 8, 5:03 pm ET
$150,000 West Point Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, New York-breds 3 & Up
Eight state-breds line up to go eight and a half furlongs in the West Point. We like 7-City Man, a Christophe Clement trainee whose recent results appear less than stellar, at least at first glance, but who we think has been running better than it seems. He ran a terrific race three back, finishing second in the Grade 2 Fort Marcy at Belmont in May; then was overmatched in the Grade 1 Manhattan in June (there is no shame in this; the Manhattan is one of the top turf races of the year), and then had buzzard’s luck in his last, when he was bumped at the start, but still managed to make up ground late. With a cleaner trip today, we are expecting a big run from this son of Mucho Macho Man. Look for him to sit mid-pack early, and be rolling late. We will bet him to win at 9/2. The bet: Saratoga, Race 8, $35 to win on 7-City Man.
Saratoga, Race 9, 5:39 pm ET
$250,000 Albany Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, New York-bred 3-Year Olds
The Albany drew a field of nine, but two of the colts appear to stand out: 2-American Revolution, who starts for Todd Pletcher, and 5-Bobby Bo, who goes for Bob Baffert. They earned identical 87 Beyer Speed Figures winning their last start, so they may appear to be very close in ability, but we think that American Revolution’s is much more legitimate, as Bobby Bo earned his fig in a maiden race at Del Mar, and did so with the aid of a marshmallow-soft trip, leading gate to wire to beat just four other horses. We think he’s going to find the going much more difficult today, which makes the pick American Revolution. Look for him to win going away after a speed-stalking trip from his inside post. We will bet him to win at 9/5. The bet: Saratoga, Race 9, $40 to win on 2-American Revolution.
Charles Town, Race 7, 7:36 pm ET
$75,000 Sylvia Bishop Memorial Stakes, 7 furlongs, Dirt, West Virginia-bred 3-Year-Old Fillies
Seven go in the Sylvia Bishop, one of the many stakes on the card tonight at Charles Town. We like 1-Door Buster, who should get a good trip in two ways: She should be able to save ground from her rail post, and she should be able to benefit from what looks like a suicidal speed duel that will occur in front of her. We see three fillies vying for the early lead, running unsustainably fast in doing so, and Door Buster in the garden spot, right behind them, ready to pounce around the far turn. We will bet her to win at 7/2. The bet: Charles Town, Race 7, $35 to win on 1-Door Buster.
Charles Town, Race 9, 8:39 pm ET
$150,000 Robert Hilton Memorial Stakes, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
The Robert Hilton drew nine 3-year-olds. One of them, 6-Helium, ran in the Kentucky Derby, and though we hated him in that race, we think he fits here, as the field is not quite as difficult as the one he faced on the first Saturday in May. Helium ran eighth in the Derby, finishing behind horses like Mandaloun, Hot Rod Charlie, and Essential Quality; suffice it to say that there are no runners in this field even remotely close to that trio. Helium appears to outclass this group; we will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Charles Town, Race 9, $40 to win on 6-Helium.
Del Mar, Race 6, 9:00 pm ET
$80,000 Tranquility Lake Stakes, 1 mile, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
Six go in the Tranquility Lake. The pick is a chalky one: 3-Miss Bigly has been running well against tougher company than the fillies and mares that will line up against her here, and with a clean trip, should win comfortably. We will bet her to win at 8/5. The bet: Del Mar, Race 6, $40 to win on 3-Miss Bigly.
Charles Town, Race 11, 9:45 pm ET
Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies
We like a speed play in the Charles Town Oaks. Overall, it’s a nice field of ten sophomore fillies, but one of the first things we noticed at the group is that most of them have somewhere between little and no early speed. We think that makes 8-R Adios Jersey a very live contender, as she has the most natural early speed in the field, and should be able to go right to the front, and stay there all the way around the track. She’s 12-1 on the morning line, and though we think she will get bet, and be a shorter price at post time, we think she’s a good play even at a slightly lower number. We will bet her to win. The bet: Charles Town, Race 11, $30 to win on 8-R Adios Jersey.
Charles Town, Race 12, 10:18 pm ET
Grade 2 Charles Town Classic, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, 3 & Up
Ten go in the Charles Town Classic. We like 1-Warrior’s Charge, who comes into this race in fine form. Charles Town is just ⅝ of a mile in circumference -- railbirds call it a “bullring” -- and Warrior’s Charge has the perfect style for it: He has enough natural speed to avoid trouble, especially around the tight turns, and he finishes his races strongly. And races of this distance are run around three turns at Charles Town, Warrior’s Charge’s inside post gives him a tactical advantage over his rivals, especially 8-Art Collector, who has high early speed, but whose outside post is going to be a difficult obstacle to overcome. We will bet Warrior’s Charge to win at 5/2. The bet: Charles Town, Race 12, $40 to win on 1-Warrior’s Charge.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.