Garrity's Dad's Hat Happy Hour Handicapping: Friday picks for Los Alamitos, Gulfstream Park and Woodbine
It is a glorious day here in the Northeast U.S., a late summer gem with tinges of fall in the air, and a perfect occasion for another Friday installment of Dad’s Hat Happy Hour Handicapping. We have four plays today, in four races at three tracks, and we expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them. So pour yourself a glass of one of the fine, hand-crafted concoctions from our friends at Dad’s Hat, and let’s go.
Los Alamitos, Race 3, 4:58 pm ET
$30,000 Maiden Claiming, 5 ½ furlongs, Dirt, California-bred 2-Year-Olds
Seven juvenile state-bred maidens line up for the 3rd at Los Al. The pick is 7-Floyd Knowles, a second-time starter from the barn of trainer Steve Miyadi. He did OK in his career debut, pressing a swift pace in a $40k maiden claimer at Del Mar on September 2, before fading a bit to finish fourth. He has speed, he drops in class here -- going from $40k at Del Mar to $30k at Los Al is a more significant class drop than it looks on paper -- draws the outside post, and gets a break in weights for being ridden by apprentice jockey Jose Espinoza. Add it up, and we think Floyd Knowles wins this, which will be a thrill for John Steinbeck fans, as the gelding is named after a minor character in the Grapes of Wrath. We will bet him to win at 4-1. The bet: Los Alamitos, Race 3, $40 to win on 7-Floyd Knowles.
Gulfstream Park, Race 7, 5:16 pm ET
$12,500 Claiming, 1 mile, Turf, 3 & Up
A full field of ten goes to the gate for the 7th at Gulfstream Park in South Florida. The pick is 8-Sharm El Sheikh, who was last seen winning a race at this level on August 6. He did so in wire-to-wire fashion, and we see the same setup, and the same result, today, as the field is filled with horses with little early speed, which should give Sharm El Sheikh a dream trip on the front end. That would make him tough on any surface, but on Gulfstream’s speed-favoring turf course, it makes him a strong play. We will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Gulfstream Park, Race 7, $40 to win on 8-Sharm El Sheikh.
Los Alamitos, Race 4, 5:28 pm ET
Starter Allowance, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
Sometimes, we have to do quite a bit of digging to figure out which horse in a race will get the early lead, but that’s not the case here: the pacesetter will be 2-Red Valor, as the 5-year-old gelding has a pretty significant early-pace edge over his six rivals in this starter allowance. And not only do we think Red Valor is going to get the lead, we think he’s going to keep it: We think he goes right to the front, and stays there all the way around the track. We will bet him to win at 8/5. The bet: Los Alamitos, Race 4, $40 to win on 2-Red Valor.
Woodbine, Race 3, 5:49 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, 3 & Up
A field of seven lines up to run nine furlongs on the turf in this north-of-the-border allowance. The pick is 1-Royal Laser, who just missed in a mile turf race at this level two back, then ran out of the money in his last start, which was on Woodbine’s synthetic surface. He’s always been better on grass than on other surfaces, so we think his last was a prep for this; he should be sharp here, and trainer Sid Attard has gotten lucky, as he’s caught an unbelievably weak group for the level. We think Royal Laser wins easily, which makes his 2-1 morning line price very attractive. We will bet him to win. The bet: Woodbine, Race 3, $40 to win on 1-Royal Laser.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.