Garrity's Good Friday Dad's Hat Happy Hour Handicapping picks Easter at Aqueduct, Maker's Mark longshot, more
It’s a Friday, which means it’s time for another installment of Dad’s Hat Happy Hour Handicapping. A terrific Grade 1 race at Keeneland adds some class to our contests this afternoon, and we have five plays in five races today, all in about an hour’s time. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them, so pour yourself three fingers of one of the delicious, hand-crafted libations from our friends at Dad’s Hat, and let’s go.
Keeneland, Race 8, 4:44 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 7 furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up
OIder females, a dozen of them, are entered in this allowance sprint on the Keeneland main track. We like a speed play, in the form of 7-Tiz Splendid News, who comes off a win in a similar spot at Gulfstream Park, when she ran very fast early fractions to win in wire-to-wire fashion. The main track at Keeneland has been kind to speed of late, so we see a repeat performance for Tiz Splendid News, which makes her 7/2 morning line number too good to pass up. We will bet her to win. The bet: Keeneland, Race 8, $40 to win on 7-Tiz Splendid News.
Aqueduct, Race 8, 5:01 pm ET
Allowance, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, 3 & Up
A field of seven lines up for today’s featured race at the Big A, a first-level allowance at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf. We have eyes for a Euro import, 5-Easter, who was winless in five starts last year in his native France, but who ran pretty well against tougher company there, and did so despite running over ground that was probably a bit softer than he prefers. He’ll get firm today, and we think that trainer Graham Motion, who is good with horses making their first North American start, appears to have him ready to fire. That makes him the horse to beat, and at 4-1, a good bet. Plus, how can a horse named Easter lose on Good Friday? We will play him to win. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 8, $40 to win on 5-Easter.
Keeneland, Race 9, 5:16 pm ET
Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile, 1 mile, Turf, 4 & Up
A sensational group of eleven older horses goes to the post in the Maker’s Mark Mile. We’re against 6-Smooth Like Strait, who is a nice horse, but whose form is inflated by the fact that he’s been running against an awful group of turf horses on the West Coast. At 2-1, he is the biggest underlay of the day, maybe of the week, and we cannot wait to play against him.
We like 2-Shirl’s Speight. We like him only partly based on form, though he did win his last two starts, both of which were turf races at Tampa Bay Downs, but mostly because of his trainer, Roger Attfield, an extremely skilled horseman who has been winning big races at Woodbine, where he is based, for decades. If Attfield thinks that Shirl’s Speight has a chance here, so do we, especially since Shirl’s Speight is 50-1. We will try to light up the tote board, and will bet him to win. The bet: Keeneland, Race 9, $40 to win on 2-Shirl’s Speight.
Santa Anita Park, Race 4, 5:37 pm ET
Maiden Special Weight, 1 mile, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
This maiden race in Southern California drew a field of seven. It’s an incredibly weak group, but one of them will have to win, and we think it will be 2-Chloe’s Girl, who did a speed-and-fade in her last start, which was the first of her career, on March 11. These kinds of horses can frequently improve in their second race, and it helps that she won’t have to beat much. We will bet her to win at 2-1. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 4, $35 to win on 2-Chloe’s Girl.
Oaklawn Park, Race 8, 5:39 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
Seven go in this sprint in Arkansas. The pick is 3-Top Gunner, who has just missed in his last two starts, finishing second both times, at this allowance level. We don’t think he will miss today, and will bet him to win at 2-1. The bet: Oaklawn Park, Race 8, $40 to win on 3-Top Gunner.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.