Garrity's Halloween Stakes: Horse Racing Picks for Pumpkin Pie at  Belmont Park, plus Woodbine, Santa Anita
Lake Avenue, in front in the 2019 Demoiselle, is Garrity's pick in the Pumpkin Pie.NYRA / Rob Mauhar

Garrity's Halloween Stakes: Horse Racing Picks for Pumpkin Pie at Belmont Park, plus Woodbine, Santa Anita

First post is 3:49 pm EDT.

The cards at the major tracks this afternoon are surprisingly good. We sometimes have to dig pretty deep to find playable stakes races on Sunday, but that is not the case today, as there are a heap of them all over the country. We have plays in four spooktacular races, two at Belmont Park, one at Woodbine, and one at Santa Anita, and we expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them. Let’s go.

Belmont Park, Race 7, 3:49 pm ET
Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up

A good field of eight lines up for the Grade 3 Bold Ruler. The pick is 3-Plainsman, who comes off a very sharp win in the Ack Ack Stakes at Churchill Downs on Oct. 2. He has an excellent combination of early speed and finishing kick, which should enable rider Joel Rosario to work out a stalking trip, sitting just off the pacesetters early, a running style which has been the favored one at Belmont the past few days. We will bet Plainsman to win at 5/2. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 7, $40 to win on 3-Plainsman.

Belmont Park, Race 8, 4:21 pm ET

$100,000 Pumpkin Pie Stakes, 7 furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

The day’s best-named race is the Pumpkin Pie, which drew so many entrants it has been split into two divisions. This one, Race 8 on your program, is the better betting affair, with an evenly matched field going to the post.

We like 8-Lake Avenue, a 4-year-old filly looking to rebound after running third in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom in September, and second in the Grade 1 Ballerina in August. Lake Avenue had the misfortune of running into Bella Sofia, probably the best 3-year-old filly sprinter we’ve seen this year, in the Gallant Bloom; and running into Gamine, the best filly sprinter we’ve seen in many, many years, in the Ballerina. Suffice it to say that none of the seven fillies and mares Lake Avenue will face in the Pumpkin Pie is anywhere even remotely close in ability to those two, so a trip to the winner’s circle is highly likely. We will bet her to win at 5/2. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 8, $40 to win on 8-Lake Avenue.

Woodbine, Race 8, 4:30 pm ET

Grade 3 Ontario Derby, 1 ⅛ miles, Synthetic, 3-Year-Olds

Eight 3-year-old colts go in the Ontario Derby. We are taking a shot with one who will be a huge price, 6-Master of the Ring, who ships to suburban Toronto off a visually impressive, if a bit slow, maiden win at Delaware Park on Sept. 25. We think he has a chance partly because of the way he runs -- he’s a turf-style runner who finishes strongly -- but mostly because of the racing surface, as this will be his first race over the synthetic track at Woodbine: if he takes to it, he is a threat to win this race, and at 20-1, that is too good for us to pass up. We will bet him to win. The bet: Woodbine, Race 8, $30 to win on 6-Master of the Ring.

Santa Anita, Race 10, 8:10 pm

Grade 2 Twilight Derby, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, 3-Year-Olds

The Twilight Derby drew a good field of ten. The headliner is 8-Rock Your World, whose bias-aided Santa Anita Derby led to ill-fated runs in the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes, where he burned vast sums of betting money finishing third-to-last in both. He’s back on grass here, which is probably his better surface, and while he is probably good enough to win, he’s a play-against, as he will be even more overbet here than he was in Louisville or New York.

We like 6-Wootten Asset, who starts for Graham Motion. The turf horses on the West Coast have been a weak group all year, especially the 3-year-olds, and Wootten Asset is an invader from the East Coast, having run his last three starts on the mid-Atlantic circuit. He comes off a sharp win in the Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs; horses coming off races at Colonial Downs have done quite well of late, and we like the fact that most West Coast bettors will be dismissive of this effort, because it will give us a very square price. We will bet him to win at 12-1. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 10, $35 to win on 6-Wootten Asset.

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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