Garrity's Friday Dad's Hat Happy Hour Handicapping picks races at Belmont, Churchill Downs and Los Alamitos
It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another edition of Dad’s Hat Happy Hour Handicapping. The big news is that after heavy rains yesterday, they are off the grass at Belmont Park, and all races will be run on dirt. The main track in Elmont was listed as sloppy this morning, but with sunny and dry conditions expected the rest of the day, we are expecting the Belmont dirt to improve, and be listed as fast, by later this afternoon.
We have plays in four races today, all on dirt, and we expect fast going for all of them. With that out of the way, pour yourself one of the fine, hand-crafted concoctions from our friends at Dad’s Hat Rye, and let’s go.
Belmont Park, Race 8, 4:44 pm ET
$150,000 Joseph A. Gimma Stakes, 7 furlongs, Dirt, New York-bred 2-Year-Old FIllies
Six state-bred juvenile filies line up to run 7 furlongs in the Gimma. We would probably try to beat favored 6-November Rein if she drew inside, but her outside post, combined with her abundant natural speed, appear to give her an insuperable edge over the rest of the field. She can go to the front, or she can stalk; either way, she is going to the winner’s circle. We will bet her to win at 8/5. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 8, $50 to win on 6-November Rein.
Churchill Downs, Race 9, 4:55 pm ET
Allowance, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
This second-level allowance dirt sprint drew a deep field of eleven. The pick is 9-Sir Alfred James, who just missed in his last two, finishing second and third in a pair of minor stakes races, but whose speed figures mark as strictly the one to beat. He is another horse with high speed and an outside post, which we are taking to the windows. We will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 9, $40 to win on 9-Sir Alfred James.
Los Alamitos, Race 3, 4:58 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 1 mile, California-bred Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
Six go in the third at Los Alamitos. We like 1-Nice Ice, whom trainer Peter Miller claimed for $20,000 out of her last start. That race was on turf, but she has a dirt-oriented pedigree, has run well on the main track before, and Miller has an excellent 25% win rate with horses going from turf to dirt. Horses usually improve in their first start for MIller -- he hits at a 26% clip with horses running first off the claim -- and she also has speed, which is a must around the tight turns at Los Al. We will bet Nice Ice to win at 3-1. The bet: Los Alamitos, Race 3, $40 to win on 1-Nice Ice.
Belmont Park, Race 9, 5:16 pm ET
$40,000 Maiden Claiming, 6 furlongs, Dirt, New York-breds 3 & Up
This $40k maiden claimer was originally scheduled for the turf; after scratches, eleven maidens line up to run three-quarters of a mile. We like a class dropper, 7-Data Deal, who was uncompetitive in four straight maiden races, on dirt and turf, but who should improve significantly in his first try against maiden claiming company. We think his last race, when he did a speed-and-fade in a race that was run on a muddy main track, was better than it looks on paper, and that makes him a major contender here. At 8-1, that makes him a very attractive play. We will bet him to win. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 9, $40 to win on 7-Data Deal.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.