Garrity's Saturday Stakes (plus two allowances) picks races from Belmont, Keeneland and Santa Anita
Quantitativbreezin may be a dark horse, but she's Garrity's pick in today's 9th race at Belmont Park.NYRA

Garrity's Saturday Stakes (plus two allowances) picks races from Belmont, Keeneland and Santa Anita

First post is 3:15 pm EDT.

With the Breeders Cup just three weeks away, the stakes racing slate is a little bit light today, as the top horses are biding their time for the races that will decide year-end championships. But there are a few black-type races being run today, one each in New York, Kentucky, and California, and we have plays in all three, as well as in allowance races at Belmont Park and Keeneland, for five total plays on this October Saturday.

We expect fast dirt at all three tracks, and firm turf on both coasts, but at Keeneland, which saw a goodly amount of rain yesterday, we expect a softer grass course, something in the range of good, or even yielding. Let’s go.

Belmont Park, Race 6, 3:15 pm ET
Grade 2 Sands Point Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, 3-Year-Olds

Eight 3-year-old turf runners line up for the nine-furlong Sands Point. We liked 3-Harajuku, an Irish-bred who runs for trainer Graham Motion, in his last start, the Jockey Club Invitational Stakes on Sept. 18, and while he didn’t win that race -- he ran second -- we see no reason to get off him now. His running line in that race looks OK on paper, but a deeper dig reveals that it was a deceptively good effort, as he broke slowly, and rallied strongly, to finish second, and he made his late move into a glacially slow pace that played significantly against his closing running style. This is a classy colt, one who competed in some very, very tough stakes races across the pond, and we think that in his second stateside start, he is going to show just how good he is. We will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 6, $50 to win on 3-Harajuku.

Keeneland, Race 8, 4:44 pm ET

Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, 3-Year-Old Fillies

A field of ten lines up for this Grade 1 turf race. It’s a terrific race, from both a sporting and wagering perspective.

It’s been a good year for European turf horses in top-level American turf races, and we think that trend will continue, as 4-Empress Josephine, who comes from the powerful Coolmore stable and trainer Aidan O’Brien, looks much, much the best. She was last seen running a close third in the Grade 1 First Lady at Keeneland, when she tried in vain to chase down two fillies who ran 1-2 all the way around the track. That was a fine effort, and we expect her to run better today, even though the First Lady was just a week ago (we actually think the quick turnaround is a good sign, as O’Brien has done it before, most memorably with Athena, who won the Belmont Oaks in 2018 just six days after running in a Group 1 race at the Curragh in Ireland). If Empress Josephine runs today, she will be ready; and if she is ready, the rest of the field is running for second money. We will bet her to win at 3-1. The bet: Keeneland, Race 8, $50 to win on 4-Empress Josephine.

Belmont Park, Race 9, 4:52 pm ET

Allowance, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, New York-bred Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

Eight state-bred females go here. We like 1-Quantitativbreezin, who comes out of a $25,000 claimer in which she earned an 81 Beyer Speed Figure, which towers over the figures earned by the other runners in the group. She is the pick partly because of that excellent recent form, but also because the rest of this group looks decidedly weak. We will bet her to win at 2-1. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 9, $40 to win on 1-Quantitativbreezin.

Keeneland, Race 9, 5:16 pm ET

Allowance, 1 mile, Dirt, 3 & Up

A field of ten drew into this first-level allowance race at a mile on the Keeneland main track. The pick is morning line favorite 5-Ducale, a Brad Cox trainee who has run three times, earning good speed figures in each, and while all three starts have been in sprints, he has shown good speed in them, which will serve him well stretching out. We will bet him to win at 8/5. The bet: Keeneland, Race 9, $40 to win on 5-Ducale.

Santa Anita Park, Race 7, 7:08 pm ET

$100,000 California Distaff Handicap, 6 ½ furlongs, Turf, California-bred Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

Six state-bred female turf runners line up for the California Distaff Handicap. We like 4-Anna Fantastic, who is the lone runner with early speed, and who has been using it while running in shorter races of late. We see her getting an uncontested, early lead, which is a style that has played well on Santa Anita’s iconic hillside turf course since it reopened a few weeks ago. Look for her to be in front early and late; we will bet her to win at 8-1. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 7, $40 to win on 4-Anna Fantastic.

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

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