Garrity's Friday Dad's Hat Happy Hour Picks from Fair Grounds, Aqueduct, Oaklawn and Gulfstream Park
With spring on the horizon, and a big weekend of racing looming, the first Friday of March is a terrific time for another installment of Dad’s Hat Happy Hour Handicapping. We have five plays at four tracks today, all in just over a half hour’s time, and we expect fast dirt and firm turf for all of them. Settle into your lucky chair, with a tumbler of one of the delicious libations from our friends at Dad’s Hat Rye at hand, and let’s go.
Fair Grounds, Race 5, 4:05 pm ET
Allowance, 6 furlongs, Dirt, Louisiana-bred Fillies & Mares 4 & Up
The 5th in New Orleans, a state-bred allowance for older females, drew a field of eight. The pick is 6-Speedy Dudette, who took a while to figure out the racing game, not finding the winner’s circle until her fifth start, but who been good since, coming back from a layoff very impressively in her last start, winning in a similar spot at the Fair Grounds on Jan. 14. While a repeat of that effort may be good enough here, we think she’ll be even better, as it’s her second start off the bench, and she should be even more fit today than she was six weeks ago. Look for her to sit just behind the leaders early, and to go to the front with a move around the far turn and at the top of the stretch. We will bet her to win at 2-1. The bet: Fair Grounds, Race 5, $35 to win on 6-Speedy Dudette.
Aqueduct, Race 7, 4:32 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
Six older females go to the gate in today’s featured race at Aqueduct. We’re going against favored 1-Eloquent Speaker, who on paper looks like the likeliest winner, but who will be a minuscule price, something like 3/5, and at the number is an underlay. We like 5-Rossa Veloce, whose last two races were excellent, and who looks to get a good stalking trip from her outside post position, pressing the pace and taking over in mid-stretch. We think Rossa Veloce can upset the favorite, and will bet her to win at 9/2. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 7, $40 to win on 5-Rossa Veloce.
Oaklawn Park, Race 6, 4:33 pm ET
Starter Allowance, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds
Seven go in this starter allowance in Arkansas. We like 5-Brody’s Streak, who made a good middle move in his last start, but got caught late and finished second, just a neck behind the winner. That race was on a muddy track, and we think that today, on fast dirt, he is going to be better, reverting to his form two back, when he won a maiden race on a fast track by over 10 lengths. Look for Brody’s Streak to be either on the early lead, or just off it, but to be in front where it matters. We will bet him to win at 4-1. The bet: Oaklawn Park, Race 6, $40 to win on 5-Brody’s Streak.
Fair Grounds, Race 6, 4:35 pm ET
Maiden Special Weight, 5 ½ furlongs, Turf, Louisiana-breds 3 & Up
This state-bred maiden race at the Fair Grounds drew ten runners. We’d like to play against favored 1-Cheapskate Diva, but we can’t, as she simply looks too good compared to the rest of this modest field. Her last two starts were pretty good, and while they were at longer distances than this 5 ½ furlong dash, we think she’ll like the cutback, especially since she has enough speed to stay reasonably close early. Cheapskate Diva just looks better than the rest; we will bet to win at 8/5. The bet: Fair Grounds, Race 6, $40 to win on 1-Cheapskate Diva.
Gulfstream Park, Race 8, 4:40 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 4 & Up
Among the six who line up for this South Florida allowance, 1-Fortin Hill appears to be the class of the group, having last run in the Grade 1 Forego Stakes at Saratoga, but that was a long time ago, August of 2020, and whether he will be ready to run today, nearly two years after his last start, is an open question.
We think the answer is yes, partly because his new trainer, Bill Mott, is skilled at getting horses to fire off the bench, and partly because the rest of this field looks pretty weak. We’re sure Mott has bigger plans for Fortin Hill than this allowance race, but we think that his 2022 campaign will start with a convincing victory this afternoon. We will bet him to win at 2-1. The bet: Gulfstream Park, Race 8, $50 to win on 1-Fortin Hill.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.
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