Garrity's Saturday Stakes picks 5 races at Kentucky Downs, as Got Stormy runs and brief meet comes to an end
With New York racing dark until next week, we’re going to focus all our attention today on Kentucky Downs, where a behemoth of a card -- a dozen races, 153 entries, and $4.6 million in total purses -- will unfold. Were we in a grumpier frame of mind, we might gripe that this whole deal is overkill, a slots-fueled exercise in excess, especially considering the quality of the horses running. But since it’s a beautiful Saturday, and nobody cares about our opinion in the first place, we will let that hot take drift away on the outgoing tide.
We have plays in five stakes races, which, like all races at Kentucky Downs, are on turf. We expect firm going in each of them. Let’s go.
Kentucky Downs, Race 6, 3:57 pm ET
Grade 3 Mint Ladies Sprint, 6 ½ furlongs, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
A full field of twelve goes in the Ladies Sprint. We like 10-Venetian Harbor, a shipper from Southern California. Speed has been quite good at Kentucky Downs this week, and this 4-year-old filly and Richie Baltas trainee has early zip, and has it in spades. Look for her to go right to the front, and to stay that way all the way around the track. We will bet her to win at 3-1. The bet: Kentucky Downs, Race 6, $35 to win on 10-Venetian Harbor.
Kentucky Downs, Race 7, 4:34 pm ET
Grade 3 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf, 1 mile, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
There are nine entrants who will line up for the Ladies Turf, but we see no reason to look past favored 2-Princess Grace. She comes off a razor-sharp win in the Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon Stakes at Santa Anita on August 7, has posted a series of lights-out morning workouts leading up to this race, and her closing running style is a fit for the swift early pace we are expecting here. She simply looks better than the rest; we will bet her to win at 2-1. The bet: Kentucky Downs, Race 7, $40 to win on 2-Princess Grace.
Kentucky Downs, Race 8, 5:09 pm ET
Grade 3 Fanduel Turf Sprint, 6 furlongs, Turf, 3 & Up
The headliner here is 9-Got Stormy, an all-time great race mare who was last seen beating the boys in the Grade 1 Fourstardave at Saratoga on August 14. Watching her run is something we should all savor, because horses like her don’t come along very often.
Unfortunately, we don’t like her chances here, as the distance is shorter than she likes; instead, we prefer 3-Bombard, a Richard Mandella trainee. He ran in this race last year, leading throughout before getting caught late, and finishing second; today, we expect him to be on the front end again, but this time, we don’t think the other horses are going to catch him. We will bet Bombard to win at 10-1. The bet: Kentucky Downs, Race 8, $35 to win on 3-Bombard.
Kentucky Downs, Race 9, 5:44 pm ET
Grade 2 Calumet Turf Cup, 1 ½ miles, Turf, 3 & Up
The Calumet Turf Cup drew a good field of twelve. We like a horse at a big price, 2-Crossfirehurricane, who, as a lightly-raced 4-year-old did some good work in Ireland, winning a graded stakes race at the Curragh, before being brought to the United States, and trainer Mike McCarthy, last winter. He’s been a disappointment in his two starts on this side of the pond, finishing a dull sixth in the Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita in March, and eighth in his last, the Del Mar Handicap, last month.
We think that his result at Del Mar was better than it looks, and is a sign that Crossfirehurricane may be rounding into form. Yes, he finished eighth, but he was only two lengths behind the winner, and he closed pretty strongly, especially in light of the early pace, which was slow, and the fact that he found himself behind a wall of horses at the top of the stretch. He should love this mile and a half distance here, his late run should be more effective down the long Kentucky Downs stretch, and we think it is a positive sign that he gets the services of top turf rider Flavien Prat. At 20-1, he’s a terrific play; we will bet him to win, and we will do so with gusto. The bet: Kentucky Downs, Race 9, $50 to win on 2-Crossfirehurricane.
Kentucky Downs, Race 10, 6:18 pm ET
Grade 2 Franklin-Simpson Stakes, 6 ½ furlongs, Turf, 3-Year-Olds
An even dozen 3-year-olds line up for the Franklin-Simpson. Ten of them are U.S.-based horses, and we think that they, as a group, are pretty weak, which should set the table for one of the two European imports to take the prize. 5-Miss Amulet, the lone filly in the field. She’s run twice this year, and the results have been poor: she finished next-to-last in both races, first in the Irish 1,000 Guineas, at the Curragh in May; and next in the Darley July Cup Stakes at Newmarket.
We are willing to excuse both of these efforts, as the turf in the 1,000 Guineas was a soft bog, much softer than Miss Amulet likes; and in the Darley Cup, she was racing against older males, and got squeezed at the quarter pole. We think she’s still a qualify filly, and that gives her an excellent chance in this race. And at 15-1, that makes her an excellent wager. We will bet her to win. The bet: Kentucky Downs, Race 10, $40 to win on 5-Miss Amulet.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.