Garrity's Labor Day Stakes picks races at Kentucky Downs and Del Mar, including a cracking Del Mar Futurity
With the pair of closing day stakes at Saratoga unplayable, one due to a short field and the other because of the presence of a horse who figures to win at 1/10, we are going to lean heavily on the two other tracks carding major stakes races today, Kentucky Downs and Del Mar. We have five plays in five total races, and we expect good turf in Kentucky, and fast dirt and firm grass in California. Let’s go.
Kentucky Downs, Race 9, 5:50 pm ET
$500,000 Aristocrat Juvenile Fillies Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 2-Year-Old Fillies
Ten juvenile fillies go in the Aristocrat. We like the looks of 7-Stepper, a Tom Drury trainee who comes into this race off a smart win in a maiden race at Ellis Park three weeks ago. She is by War Front, out of an Empire Maker mare, and that’s a pedigree we like, especially on grass and especially at this mile distance. She seems to be improving, and has tactical speed, which will be a huge asset if the pace turns out to be slow, which is always a possibility in these Kentucky Downs stakes races. We will bet her to win at 5-1. The bet: Kentucky Downs, Race 9, $35 to win on 7-Stepper.
Kentucky Downs, Race 10, 6:25 pm ET
Grade 3 Winstar Farms Mint Million, 1 mile, Turf, 3 & Up
One would think that a race with a million dollar purse would attract a top-shelf field, but in this case, one would be wrong, as the Mint MIllion came up a bit short in the talent department. But it’s a good betting race, as the group of ten is deep and fairly evenly matched. We like 6-Pixelate, whom trainer Michael Stidham starts off a good third in the Buckland Stakes at Colonial Downs. His figures, both speed and pace, are competitive; he has shown an affinity in the past for the good turf he will get today, and he gets the services of top rider Joel Rosario. At 10-1, that’s enough for us; we will bet him to win. The bet: Kentucky Downs, Race 10, $35 to win on 6-Pixelate.
Kentucky Downs, Race 11, 6:58 pm ET
$500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 2-Year-Olds
A field of eleven juvenile colts will go to the starting gate for this mile affair. The pick is 5-Nobals, who has traveled an unusual path to get to a stakes race in Kentucky: He won a maiden race at Presque Isle Downs in Erie, then won the Arlington-Washington Futurity at Arlington Park. Both of those races were on synthetic racing surfaces, but both his pedigree and running style have us thinking that he will be better as a turf horse. Look for him to be closing fast down the long, undulating stretch; we will bet him to win at 8-1. The bet: Kentucky Downs, Race 11, $35 to win on 5-Nobals.
Del Mar, Race 8, 8:07 pm ET
$100,000 Del Mar Juvenile Turf, 1 mile, Turf, 2-Year-Olds
The Del Mar Juvenile Turf drew a field of nine. We’ve written this before, but we think that turf horses out West, as a group, are weak, and that makes us like the chances of 1-Silver Surfer, an English-bred colt who comes into this race after a five-race spring campaign in Ireland. Most of his starts there, including his last race, when he broke his maiden at Fairyhouse Racecourse, were at a level a cut below the Irish big leagues, but we still think he’ll be good enough to best this modest group. We like that he has run better on firmer rather than softer turf, as he’ll get firm going today; and it also doesn’t hurt that trainer Phil D’Amato has an otherworldly 39% win rate on the year with horses making their first start in North America. We will bet SIlver Surfer to win at 5/2. The bet: Del Mar, Race 8, $40 to win on 1-Silver Surfer.
Del Mar, Race 9, 8:37 pm ET
Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 2-Year-Olds
The 2021 Del Mar meeting goes out with a bang, with a terrific field scheduled to line up for the Del Mar Futurity. It’s a compact group, with just six entered, but they’re all good; expect to see at least one of them in the Breeders Cup Juvenile this fall.
5-Murray figures to get a lot of support from the wagering public, as he took his debut in smashing fashion, drawing off to win a maiden race at Del Mar by over ten lengths, earning a gaudy 82 Beyer Speed Figure in the process. He starts for a certain white-haired trainer whose runners always get bet in his Southern California base, so a short price on Murray is perhaps the day’s safest wager.
We hope he gets bet like the second coming of Phar Lap, because we prefer the colt just to his outside: 6-American Xperiment, who ships West for trainer Steve Asmussen off an impressive maiden win at Saratoga. American Xperiment beat a much better field in his maiden win than Murray did, and American Xperiment also appears to have two significant tactical advantages over his rival: He has more early speed, and he has the tactical advantage of drawing the outside post. We would prefer American Xperiment at level odds; the fact that Murray is likely to be a much shorter price makes the play a no-brainer: we will bet American Xperiment to win at 5/2. The bet: Del Mar, Race 9, $40 to win on 6-American Xperiment.
That’s all for today. Until the next time, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.