Garrity's Saturday Stakes Picks 5 Races at Oaklawn, Aqueduct, Gulfstream and Santa Anita
Oaklawn RacingOaklawn Racing & Gaming

Garrity's Saturday Stakes Picks 5 Races at Oaklawn, Aqueduct, Gulfstream and Santa Anita

First post is 5:04 pm EDT.

We’re in a bit of a lull on the racing calendar, as winter is over just about everywhere, but spring has yet to spring in full force. With the major spring races still a few weeks away, this Saturday offers a mixed bag of stakes action; we have five plays at four tracks, from New York to Florida to Arkansas to Southern California. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all five of them, so let’s go.

Oaklawn Park, Race 7, 5:04 pm ET
Grade 3 Whitmore Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 4 & Up

The Whitmore drew a field of nine sprinters. We are looking for a rebound from one of them, 4-Kneedeepinsnow, who comes off a bad race, when he finished fourth as the favorite in a minor stakes at Sam Houston. We don’t know what went wrong that day, but his morning workouts in recent days are a suggestion that he might be back to the form he showed two starts back, when he won an allowance race in a time fast enough to win here. We think a return to the dirt at Oaklawn, where he’s run well before, might be just the ticket, and at 8-1, that makes Kneedeepinsnow a good play. We will bet him to win. The bet: Oaklawn Park, Race 7, $35 to win on 4-Kneedeepinsnow.

Aqueduct, Race 9, 5:32m pm ET
$100,000 Cicada Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies

Six go in the Cicada. The abundance of speed, and lack of stamina, in the group has us all over 1-Rosebud, who should get a dream trip, sitting well behind what figures to be a very fast pace, ready to pounce when the pacesetters begin to tire. We’d probably like Rosebud anyway, but what seals the deal is her last race, when she did a speed-and-fade in a mile and an eighth race at the Big A on Jan. 23. The stamina she developed in that effort will be a huge asset to her here, and we think will be a good illustration on why we like this angle – a horse cutting back in distance after a longer race – so much. We will bet Rosebud to win at 5/2. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 9, $40 to win on 1-Rosebud.

Gulfstream Park, Race 11, 5:42 pm ET

$100,000 Hutcheson Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds

The Hutcheson in South Florida drew a field of seven sophomore colts. We like the favorite, 4-Nitrous Channel, who has run just once, but it was a doozy, when he won a Gulfstream maiden heat in very fast time. It is one thing to beat maidens; it is another to beat winners, and going from a maiden race to a stakes race, even a minor stakes like the Hutcheson, is an even bigger challenge. Because of this, our natural tendency is to bet against flashy maiden winners like Nitrous Channel, especially if there is something about their maiden win, like an advantageous pace scenario, that might make it look better than it really was. But we have dissected Nitrous Channel’s last race, and it is entirely legitimate: he looks like the real deal, and we expect to see him in a major stakes race next time out. That means the rest of the field in the Hutcheson is running for second money, and it means we are headed to the window. We will bet Nitrous Channel to win at 7/5. The bet: Gulfstream Park, Race 11, $50 to win on 4-Nitrous Channel.

Oaklawn Park, Race 9, 6:10 pm ET

Grade 3 Essex Handicap, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 4 & Up

The Essex drew a deep and competitive field of eight. The pick is 3-Warrior’s Charge, who comes off a monster win in an allowance, a race he won by nearly 10 lengths. That shows he is in good form, but what gives him the nod here is that is running style: he is a pace-presser, with enough natural speed to stay close to what should be reasonable early fractions, and enough stamina to take advantage of the advantageous position he should find himself in with a quarter mile to go. We see Warrior’s Charge overtaking the leaders at the top of the stretch, squirting clear, and holding off the closers late. We will bet him to win at 7/2. The bet: Oaklawn Park, Race 9, $40 to win on 3-Warrior’s Charge.

Santa Anita Park, Race 8, 7:44 pm ET

$100,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes, 6 ½ furlongs, Turf, California-bred Fillies & Mares 4 & Up

Seven go in the O’Brien. We’re against the favorite, 2-Becca Taylor, not because there is anything wrong with her, but because her record – she is undefeated after six career starts – will make her overbet. She’s 4/5 on the morning line, will likely be even shorter at post time, and at those kinds of odds, she is a massive underlay.

We like 6-Eddie’s New Dream. She has run at a variety of distances and on different surfaces, but we think this, sprinting on the turf, is what she does best. She comes off a very good third-place finish in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint, and a repeat of that effort makes her a major contender today. At 4-1, that makes Eddie’s New Dream the play; we will bet her to win. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 8, $40 to win on 6-Eddie’s New Dream.

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

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