Garrity's Friday Dad's Hat Handicapping picks Aqueduct, Gulfstream, Oaklawn, Fair Grounds, Santa Anita races

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Garrity's Friday Dad's Hat Handicapping picks Aqueduct, Gulfstream, Oaklawn, Fair Grounds, Santa Anita races

First race 3:57 pm EST. Last race 4:37 pm. Let it rye-d.

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If it’s Friday, it’s time for another edition of Dad’s Hat Happy Hour Handicapping, our pari-mutuel version of speed dating, when we play a number of races in rapid succession, all with a tumbler of one of the fine Pennsylvania-made libations from our friends at Dad’s Hat at hand. We have selected five races at five tracks today, all of which go off in a span of about 45 minutes, so why not join us? Pour yourself three fingers and settle into an easy chair, for we expect fast dirt and firm turf in all races, and there’s money to be made. Let’s go.

Aqueduct, Race 7, 3:57 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Old New York-breds

An interesting field of seven state-breds lines up for this first-level allowance at the Big A. We are against favored 2-Impressionist, whose last race, when he beat a field of maidens by over eight lengths, looks very good on paper, but it was run on a muddy track, which have a history of producing fluky results. Impressionist may be good enough to repeat that effort, but at a short price and on a fast track, we think he’s an underlay, and a bet-against.

We like 5-Dafuskie Island. He comes into this spot having run in five consecutive stakes races, and while he didn’t win any of them, he was competitive, and we think he is going to find this much less imposing allowance group much, much easier to handle. And even better is that the way we expect this race to be run should favor him: he’s a stalker, and he should get a good trip sitting just behind the early leaders, ready to pounce at the top of the stretch. We will bet Dafuskie Island to win at 9/2. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 7, $40 to win on 5-Dafuskie Island.

Gulfstream Park, Race 8, 4:11 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 furlongs, Dirt, Florida-bred Fillies & Mares 4 & Up

Nine go in this first-level allowance dirt sprint for state-bred older females. Rapid early fractions should favor 3-Chevalita, who broke her maiden in January by stalking a fast pace, and taking over when the early leaders slowed down late. We see a similar scenario, and a similar result, for her today. We will bet her to win at 9/2. The bet: Gulfstream Park, Race 8, $40 to win on 3-Chevalita.

Oaklawn Park, Race 6, 4:33 pm ET

Maiden Special Weight, 6 furlongs, Dirt, Arkansas-bred Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

This state-bred maiden race drew a field of ten. 7-Pattern Bet, a 3-year-old filly from the Ron Moquett barn, has just one career start, but it was a good one, when she overcame a slow start, closing strongly to finish second, just a neck behind the winner. An improvement off that effort makes her strictly the one to beat, and improvement is likely, as she should break better than she did in her debut. Look for her to press the pace early, and to win with a big move around the turn and at the top of the stretch. We will bet her to win at 2-1. The bet; Oaklawn Park, Race 6, $40 to win on 7-Pattern Bet.

Fair Grounds, Race 6, 4:35 pm ET

$15,000 Claiming, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up

A full field of ten lines up for this turf claimer in the Big Easy. We like 8-Blame the Gods, an admirably consistent 7-year-old mare who found the competition in her last few starts, which were against tougher, a little bit too much, but who looks as though she should be able to handle this less imposing field. Look for her to stalk, sitting just behind what we expect to be a moderate early pace, and to move to the front as the field turns for home. We will bet her to win at 9/2. The bet: Fair Grounds, Race 6, $35 to win on 8-Blame the Gods.

Santa Anita Park, Race 3, 4:37 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 furlongs, Turf, California-bred 3-Year-Olds

Eight go in this first-level allowance turf sprint at Santa Anita. Most of them have little or no turf experience, which is one of the things that causes us to give the nod to 5-Franklin One Star, a Doug O’Neill trainee who comes into this race off a fifth-place finish in a turf stakes on January 30. We think he’ll be better for that experience, and it also helps that this group is much, much weaker than the one he saw in his last. And the fact that O’Neill removes blinkers should allow Franklin One Star to relax early, sitting just off the pace, and make a good late run, which is the style we think will win the race. We will bet him to win at 5-1. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 3, $35 to sin on 5-Franklin One Star.

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

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