Garrity's Saturday 1.8 Stakes has race picks for Gulfstream Park, Aqueduct, Oaklawn, Santa Anita
We have four plays for this fine January Saturday, in four races, all of them stakes, in New York, Florida, Arkansas, and California. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all four, so let’s go.
Gulfstream Park, Race 8, 3:37 pm ET
Grade 3 Tropical Turf Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 4 & Up
Seven go in the Tropical Turf. We are going with a speed play, and a big price, in the form of 5-Flying Scotsman, who appears primed for a big race, having come off a long layoff in his last start, a rained-off-the-turf allowance on Dec. 19. We think that will serve as a useful prep for this spot for him, and with the Gulfstream turf starting to favor speed, as it does from time to time, we think he is a terrific wager at positively juicy 12-1 odds. If he doesn’t fall down, he is a mortal lock to get the early lead – and we think he is going to stay there all the way around the track. We will bet him to win. The bet: Gulfstream Park, Race 8, $40 to win on 5-Flying Scotsman.
Aqueduct, Race 8, 3:50 pm ET
$100,000 Say Florida Sandy Stakes, 7 furlongs, Dirt, New York-breds 4 & Up
The main track at Aqueduct will be fast today, but it will be anyone’s guess how it actually plays, as the races were cancelled yesterday after six inches of snow fell on Ozone Park early Friday morning. We are gambling that it will favor both speed and inside post positions, which makes the play 1-Alpha Chi Rho, who ships to New York after a couple of pace-pressing allowance victories at Laurel Park in Maryland. While we might expect to see rider Jose Ortiz try a different tactic had he drawn a different post, breaking from the rail is going to force Ortiz’s hand: to avoid traffic trouble, he is going to have to use Alpha Chi Rho’s speed, which is ample, to gun for the early lead. And we think that once he makes the lead, Alpha Chi Rho is going to be tough to catch. We think he wires this group, and will bet him to win at 6-1. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 8, $40 to win on 1-Alpha Chi Rho.
Oaklawn Park, Race 8, 4:46 pm ET
$150,000 Pippin Stakes, 1 mile, DIrt, 4 & Up
A good field of seven lines up for the Pippin Stakes. We like 6-Miss Bigly, who comes into the race off a layoff, having last competed in a Grade 3 stakes at Churchill Downs in November, a race in which she finished a good third. Her recent workouts suggest that she will be ready for this spot, but what causes us to give her the nod is running style: the early pace looks like it will be fast, and that should play right into Miss Bigly’s stalking/closing running style. Look for her to be mid-pack early, to move forward around the far turn, and to pull away down the stretch. We will bet her to win at 5/2. The bet: Oaklawn Park, Race 8, $40 to win on 6-Miss Bigly.
Santa Anita Park, Race 8, 7:06 pm ET
Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies
The Santa Ynez drew a field of six newly-minted 3-year-old fillies. We like 5-Awake at Midnyte, who has run twice, and run big both times, and who seems poised to take a step forward today. We especially like her last start, when she finished second in a mile turf stakes at Del Mar in November; she returns to sprinting, and to dirt, in this spot, and we think she is sitting on a big race. We will bet her to win at 5/2. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 8, $40 to win on 5-Awake at Midnyte.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.