Garrity's Saturday Stakes pick 6 graded races at Saratoga and Del Mar, including the Jockey Club Gold Cup
It is fitting that on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, the unofficial close of the summer here in the United States, that the big races are at the major summer meetings, at Saratoga in the East and Del Mar in the West, both of which wrap up their boutique summer meets on Monday. We will savor the last of the summer wine with plays in six races, all graded stakes, at those two tracks, and we expect fast dirt and firm turf in all six of them. Let’s go.
Saratoga, Race 5, 2:47 pm ET
Grade 2 Prioress Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies
Six go in the Prioress. The headliner, and morning line favorite, is 6-Souper Sensational, who has indeed been very good this year, winning the Grade 3 Victory Ride two back, and finishing an excellent second in the Grade 1 Test Stakes last out. She is probably the most likely winner, but we think she is a play-against, as her odds, which will be minuscule, will be shorter than her actual chances of winning the race.
We like 2-Edie Meeny Miny Mo. This Maryland-bred filly began her career in modest fashion, beating a field of maiden claimers at Pimlico in April, then stepped forward in a big way, earning a big speed figure beating a group of allowance runners in June. She ran a good third in her last start, in the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks at the Jersey Shore; that race was at a mile and a sixteenth, which may have been just a bit too far for her, so we like the cutback to this 6 furlong distance. There is no doubt that this will be a test of class for Edie Meeny Miny Mo, but at 9/2, we think she is a better wager than the underlaid favorite, especially since she has abundant early speed, which has played well at Saratoga the last few days. We will bet her to win. The bet: Saratoga, Race 5, $30 to win on 2-Edie Meeny Miny Mo.
Saratoga, Race 8, 4:27 pm ET
Grade 3 Saranac Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, 3-Year-Olds
The Saranac drew a field of six. With the logical contenders all having question marks attached to their form, we are taking a shot with a price, in the form of 6-Mohs, who was last seen winning an allowance race at Monmouth Park three weeks ago. We like that recency, and we like his running style, which combines tactical early speed with a decent finishing kick. We will bet him to win at 12-1. The bet: Saratoga, Race 8, $30 to win on 6-Mohs.
Saratoga, Race 11, 6:11 pm ET
Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational, 1 ⅜ miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up
Seven older females line up for the Flower Bowl. The field is pretty accomplished, but has little early speed, so this looks like it might be one of those maddening turf races at Saratoga where the early fractions are glacially slow, and the lack of pace favors front-runners. That makes the pick 1-La Signare, who is not exactly a speedball, but whose reasonable early zip should put her on a galloping lead that will make her difficult to catch. We will bet her to win at 5-1. The bet: Saratoga, Race 11, $40 to win on 1-La Signare.
Saratoga, Race 12, 6:46 pm ET
Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup, 1 ¼ miles, Dirt, 3 & Up
A field of six lines up for the Jockey Club Gold Cup. We would probably like favored 1-Forza di Oro, who has won his last two races in fast time, under any circumstances, but with the lack of speed among the other five entrants giving him what on paper looks to be a significant pace advantage, we like him even more. Sometimes handicapping involves an assessment of whether a superior horse can overcome a disadvantageous trip; in this case, we think it’s a case of the race shape favoring the better horse. There’s only one thing to do with that: take it to the windows. We will bet Forza Di Oro to win at 8/5. The bet: Saratoga, Race 12, $50 to win on 1-Forza Di Oro.
Del Mar, Race 9, 8:30 pm ET
Grade 2 John C. Mabee Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
The field of nine that lines up for the Mabee is deep, which makes it a good betting race. We like 1-Maxim Rate, who starts for trainer Simon Callaghan, as she is an admirably consistent 5-year-old mare who seems to run her race every time. Sometimes, that’s good enough, as shown by her win in the Grade 1 Gamley at Santa Anita in May; sometimes, it is not, like when she finished third in the Yellow Ribbon at Del Mar a month ago. We think her typical effort is going to be good enough today, and will bet her to win at 7/2. The bet: Del Mar, Race 9, $40 to win on 1-Maxim Rate.
Del Mar, Race 11, 9:30 pm ET
Grade 2 Del Mar Derby, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, 3-Year-Olds
The 14 3-year-olds who line up for the Del Mar Derby make this a good betting race, but an awful Grade 2 -- this might be the worst stakes field we’ve seen all year. There is only one in the group who has won a graded stakes race, 13-Sword Zorro, and he is the pick. The Irish-bred John Sadler trainee won the Grade 3 La Jolla in his last start, taking the prize with a furious closing rally, and we see a similar effort, and a similar result, today. We will bet him to win at 5-1. The bet: Del Mar, Race 11, $35 to win on 13-Sword Zorro.
That’s all for today. Until the next time, enjoy the races, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.