Garrity's Sunday 1.23 horse racing picks for Santa Anita, Aqueduct, Oaklawn, Fair Grounds, with Busanda Stakes
We have plays in four races for this January Sunday, from one end of this great country to another, and we expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them. Let’s go.
Santa Anita Park, Race 1, 3:30 pm ET
Starter Allowance/Optional Claiming, 1 mile, Turf, 3-Year-Olds
A field of seven lines up for the opener at Santa Anita. We are going to try to start the day with a winner by making an obvious pick, as favored 1-Handy Dandy appears to outclass this weak field by a significant margin. He comes off a good third in a stakes race on Jan. 3, and both speed and pace figures mark him as strictly the one to beat. We will play him to win at 8/5. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 1, $50 to win on 1-Handy Dandy.
Aqueduct, Race 8, 3:50 pm ET
$100,000 Busanda Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies
We thought the main track at Aqueduct yesterday, after a couple of days when cold forced the cancellation of racing, would favor speed, but we had no idea that what would transpire was a significant and pronounced rail bias, drastically favoring horses who ran on the inside. It was a day where a horse’s position during the race dictated results as much as his ability.
We mention that because we have a suspicion that the track is going to play the other way today, that the maintenance crews, in trying to correct the condition that led to the golden rail, will end up flipping the track the other way, altering it to favor outside runners and closers, rather than speed on the inside. That could present a good betting opportunity in the Busanda Stakes, for most of the six fillies entered are speed types, and we think that the filly with the best late pace numbers, 4-Gamestonks, who ships to the Big A after running at Parx and Laurel her last three starts, could benefit from the track, and from a pace that we expect to be fast, to spring an upset at a good number. She will almost certainly be last early, but we think she will be first late, and will bet her to win at 8-1. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 8, $40 to win on 4-Gamestonks.
Oaklawn Park, Race 6, 3:51 pm ET
Maiden Special Weight, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies
Ten lightly raced fillies line up for this maiden race in Arkansas. We’re all in on 4-Firewolves, who has run only once, but it was a good one, when she showed high speed in a runner-up finish on Dec. 3. She may not need to improve to win, but we think she will run better, like most horses do in their second start, and that makes her strictly the one to beat. We will bet her to win at 3-1. The bet: Oaklawn Park, Race 6, $40 to win on 4-Firewolves.
Fair Grounds, Race 9, 6:07 pm ET
Maiden Special Weight, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds
A good field of eight sophomore colts lines up for this maiden race in the Big Easy. We like the looks of a first-time starter, 8-Strong Quality, who has a strong pedigree (he’s by Quality Road, out of a Tiznow mare), and who has exactly the kind of workout pattern we like to see in firsters: a long string of regularly spaced morning drills, with most of them not particularly fast, but with the occasional bullet (a fast work) thrown in. The slower workouts, especially in number, build a young horse’s foundation and overall fitness level; the bullets hone that edge, and show that that the horse possesses speed. The workouts of Strong Quality have a strong quality about them, and that says to us that he will be ready to win at first asking, and the advantageous outside post doesn’t hurt. We will bet him to win at 4-1. The bet: Fair Grounds, Race 9, $40 to win on 8-Strong Quality.
That’s all for today. Until the next time, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.