Garrity's 10.30 Saturday Stakes: Horse racing picks for Belmont, Mahoning Valley, Keeneland, Santa Anita
Sue Ellen Mishkin, in August, at Saratoga.NYRA

Garrity's 10.30 Saturday Stakes: Horse racing picks for Belmont, Mahoning Valley, Keeneland, Santa Anita

First post is 3:47 pm EDT.

With the Breeders Cup just a week away, one would expect the stakes action to be lacking, but that is not the case, as a couple of tracks have shrewdly scheduled very good races for state-breds to fill the void. With two races at Belmont Park, where it’s Empire Showcase day; a sprint for Ohio-breds at Mahoning Valley; a pair of excellent heats at Keeneland; and a turf race out West; we have a very entertaining, and hopefully profitable, lineup of six races to fill your Saturday afternoon. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all races, except as noted below, so let’s go.

Belmont Park, Race 7, 3:47 pm ET

$250,000 Maid of the Mist Stakes, 1 mile, Dirt, New York-bred 2-Year-Old Fillies

The Maid of the Mist, a one-turn mile dirt race for juvenile state-bred fillies, drew a field of eight. We like 6-Sue Ellen Mishkin, who broke her maiden in her career debut at Saratoga in August, and then was thrown in with the wolves in Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes on Labor Day weekend. She was rather unsurprisingly outrun rather thoroughly in the Spinaway, but we think she will do much, much better against this much lesser group. We will bet her to win at 4-1. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 7, $40 to win on 6-Sue Ellen Mishkin.

Mahoning Valley, Race 9, 4:14 pm ET

$100,000 Best of Ohio Sprint, 6 furlongs, Dirt, Ohio-breds 3 & Up

This state-bred sprint drew a field of thirteen. The pick is 10-Diamond Dust, who was claimed for $35,000 out his last start, which was at Presque Isle Downs in Erie. We like the fact that new trainer Gregory Radosevich, who wins at a very good 30% clip with horses running back after a claim, has placed him aggressively here, and we like the fact that Diamond Dust has a couple of fast workouts in recent weeks. Look for Diamond Dust to go right to the front, and lead all the way; we will bet him to win at 9/2. The bet: Mahoning Valley, Race 9, $35 to win on 10-Diamond Dust.

Belmont Park, Race 8, 4:21 pm ET

$250,000 Empire Distaff Handicap, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, New York-bred Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

Ten line up for the Empire Distaff Handicap. Most of them have been running primarily against their fellow state-breds, but we like one who has not: 4-Make Mischief, who spent most of the summer running against open company in Grade 1 and Grade 2 stakes. She did not win any of those races, but she did run very well, hitting the board in the Grade 2 Eight Belles and the Grade 1 Acorn. We like that, but what we like just as much is her running style: she is a stretch-runner in a field that has so much early speed that a fast early pace, and a winner coming from behind, is very likely. We will bet Make Mischief to win at 9/2. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 8, $40 to win on 4-Make Mischief.

Keeneland, Race 8, 4:44 pm ET

$150,000 Bryan Station Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 3-Year-Olds

It’s closing day for the fall meet at Keeneland, and there is at least one person who is glad about it: the track superintendent, who has had to deal with a goodly amount of rain the past few days. As of press time Saturday morning, the Bryan Station, which drew a field of thirteen, remains on a turf course that is listed as yielding, but check before the race, as that may change before post time.

If the race does stay on grass, we like 10-Yes This Time, who won the Kent Stakes at Delaware Park in July, and finished a very good second in the Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs in September, both of which were run on turf with some give in it. In between, he finished a well-beaten eighth in the Saratoga Derby Invitational, but we are drawing a line through that race, partly because it was run on firm going, and partly because that field was orders of magnitude tougher than he will face here. Yes This Time will be in mid-pack, or even a bit farther back early, but he will be moving late; we think he’ll be first where it matters, and will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Keeneland, Race 8, $40 to win on 10-Yes This Time.

Keeneland, Race 9, 5:15 pm ET

Grade 2 Hagyard Fayette Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, 3 & Up

Nine go in the Fayette. We’re all in on the one on the rail, 1-Sleepy Eyes Todd, who seems to be rounding into form, with this being his third race since he traveled to the United Arab Emirates to run tenth in the Dubai World Cup in March. His last race was a runner-up finish in the Charles Town Classic, which is better than it looks, as the winner that day was Art Collector, who came back to win the Grade 1 Woodward at Belmont Park on Oct. 2 and is entered in the Breeders Cup Classic. He is a good horse who seems to be sitting on a big race; we will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Keeneland, Race 9, $50 to win on 1-Sleepy Eyes Todd.

Santa Anita, Race 8, 7:08 pm ET

Grade 3 Autumn Miss Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 3-Year-Old Fillies

The Autumn miss drew a field of eight. Most of them are fast early/slow late types, which has us looking for a closer, and we think we’ve found one in the form of 6-Madone, a strong finisher who faltered in her last two starts, both of which were at longer distances, both featured very slow early fractions that muted her late charge. She’s back at a mile on turf, where she’s won five times in six career starts, and the early fractions should be plenty fast enough to set up her late rally. We will bet her to win at 7/2. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 8, $40 to win on 6-Madone.

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

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