Garrity's Saturday Stakes picks the Pennsylvania Derby, Silver State in Dirt Mile, Clairiere in Cotillion
The eyes of the racing world today will be firmly focused on Parx Racing in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, where the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby headlines the biggest card of the year in the Keystone State. The folks at Parx have hit the trifecta with the weather today: it will be an early-fall masterpiece, with temperatures in the 70s and low humidity, in suburban Philadelphia. Every day is a good day to go to the track, but this one will be better than usual.
We have five plays today, all at Parx and all on the main track, which will be fast. With that out of the way, let’s go.
Parx Racing, Race 6, 2:22 pm ET
$200,000 Plum Pretty Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, Pennsylvania-bred Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
The eight fillies and mares who line up for the Plum Pretty are an excellent way to kick off the stakes action at Parx this afternoon. We’re against the morning line favorite, 6-Chub Wagon, who has superior speed figures, but who has never run beyond 6 furlongs, and who has a pedigree that suggests this two-turn distance could be a problem. She may win, but at a short-price, we think she is a play-against.
We like 7-Marion Francis. She’s a 3-year-old filly, and Brad Cox trainee, who took a step forward in her last, when she ran a close third in the Cathryn Sophia Stakes at Parx on August 24. We like that recency, but we like even more that she has the looks of a late-blooming 3-year-old filly, and we are now at the point of the year where those kinds of runners are extremely dangerous when running against elders. She will need to take another step forward to win this, but she appears more than capable of doing so. At 6-1, that makes her a great play. We will bet her to win. The bet: Parx Racing, Race 6, $40 to win on 7-Marion Francis.
Parx Racing, Race 7, 2:51 pm ET
$200,000 Parx Dirt Mile, 1 mile, Dirt, 3 & Up
There are eight entrants in the Parx Dirt MIle, but we have eyes for only one: 6-Silver State. He comes into this race in excellent form, but what we really like about him is the distance: while he has sometimes faltered going longer, in races between 7 furlongs and a mile a sixteenth, he’s run six times, and won five of them (and was second in the other). That makes him strictly the one to beat here, appearing to be so overwhelmingly superior that we are comfortable taking his relatively short 8/5 morning line price. We will bet him to win. The bet: Parx Racing, Race 7, $50 to win on 6-Silver State.
Parx Racing, Race 8, 3:30 pm ET
Grade 3 Greenwood Cup, 1 ½ miles, Dirt, 3 & Up
Dirt marathoners, nine of them, line up to run a mile and a half in the Greenwood Cup. We think most of these runners, including morning line favorite 3-Moretti, are questionable at the distance, so we like a runner who is not: 5-Shooger Ray Too is coming off an excellent second in the Birdstone Stakes at Saratoga, which was at a distance of a mile and three quarters. Both his pedigree and running style suggest that he will thrive in these long dirt races, and so does the way he ran last out. It also doesn’t hurt that his trainer, John Servis, is the top conditioner at Parx. We will bet him to win at 8-1. The bet: Parx Racing, Race 8, $40 to win on 5-Shooger Ray Too.
Parx Racing, Race 11, 5:02 pm ET
Grade 1 Cotillion Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies
The Cotillion drew a field of nine. The pick is 6-Clairiere, a Steve Asmussen trainee who should get an ideal stalking trip, sitting just behind the pacesetters, and seize control of the race with a big move around the far turn. Clairiere has not exactly been a win machine this year, with one victory in six starts, but she has been running against the top 3-year-old fillies in the country, including in her last start, when she finished second behind Malathaat, the Kentucky Oaks winner who has been the best sophomore filly all year, in the Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga. She looks to be sitting on a huge race; we will bet her to win at 2-1. The bet: Parx Racing, Race 11, $40 to win on 6-Clairiere.
Parx Racing, Race 12, 5:49 pm ET
Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds
After scratches, eight will go in the Pennsylvania Derby. The top two contenders, 6-Bourbonic and 4-Hot Rod Charlie, have very similar running styles, liking to go to the front and stay there as long as they can. That they appear, on paper, at least, to be so evenly matched in terms of ability has us thinking that they will engage in a speed duel in this race, which will set the table for a horse coming from behind.
We like one who will be coming from far, far back: it’s 1-Fulsome, a stone-cold deep closer who is coming off a good win in the Smarty Jones at Parx, when he closed from last to win by two lengths. We do not think he is as good as either Bourbonic or Hot Rod Charlie, but we think he’s going to get the setup of his life at Parx this afternoon, and that makes him a major win contender, and at 12-1, a terrific bet. Look for him to be in the rear early, perhaps even last, but to be flying late. We will bet him to win. The bet: Parx Racing, Race 12, $40 to win on 1-Fulsome.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.