Garrity's Sunday stakes picks the Beldame, Knickerbocker, Castle & Key at Belmont and Keeneland
Royal Flag, en route to winning the Shuvee in July, is Garrity's pick today in the Beldame.NYRA / Susie Raisher

Garrity's Sunday stakes picks the Beldame, Knickerbocker, Castle & Key at Belmont and Keeneland

Garrity's first post is 3:15 pm EDT.

The skies are gray along the Eastern Seaboard this Sunday, and rain is in the forecast, but it looks as though it will be light enough that the racing surface at Belmont Park will be unaffected. We have three plays, two there and one at Keeneland in Kentucky, that will add to the Sunday afternoon flavor of even the most diehard football fan. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all three, so let’s go.

Belmont Park, Race 6, 3:15 pm ET

Grade 2 Beldame Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

Eight go in the Beldame. We are all over 8-Royal Flag, a Chad Brown-trained 5-year-old mare who comes off a sharp third-place effort in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga, when she finished only a half length behind Letruska, a multiple Grade 1 winner who is odds-on in the Grade 1 Spinster at Keeneland this afternoon. Royal Flag’s outside post would normally be a disadvantage at this distance, but not at sprawling Belmont Park, where nine furlong races are run around one, rather than two, turns. That makes the post an asset, not a liability; so is her stretch-running style, which should play well with a couple of speed types in the group. Royal Flag looks much the best here; we will bet her to win at 5/2, and we will do so with gusto. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 6, $50 to win on 8-Royal Flag.

Belmont Park, Race 8, 4:21 pm ET
Grade 3 Knickerbocker Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, 3 & Up

The Knickerbocker drew a field of nine. We like 4-L’Imperator, a French-bred 4-year-old filly who disappointed as the odds-on favorite in her last, the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch at Saratoga last month, when a slow pace muted her late rally. We expect a better result today, partly because we expect the early fractions to be a bit more robust, and partly because we expect firm going, which she clearly seems to prefer. Look for her to be toward the rear early, and flying late; we will bet her to win at 3-1. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 8, $40 to win on 4-L’Imperator.

Keeneland, Race 10, 5:46 pm ET

Grade 2 Castle & Key Bourbon Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, 2-Year-Olds

A full field of 14 juvenile turf runners lines up for the Castle & Key Bourbon. We like 10-Red Danger, who has won two of his three career starts, both of them on turf; and while he will be stretching out here, as all his prior races were in sprints, both his pedigree (he’s by Orb, out of a Distorted Humor mare) and his running style (he has finished his shorter races very strongly) suggest that he will take the additional distance quite well. We will bet him to win at 7/2. The bet: Keeneland, Race 10, $40 to win on 10-Red Danger.

That’s all for today. Until the next time, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.

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