Garrity's Saturday Stakes: The Giant Causeway at Aqueduct, plus Lexington and Jenny Wiley at Keeneland, more
Regal Glory, winning the 2019 Lake George at Saratoga, is back today for the Jenny Wiley at Keeneland.NYRA | Chelsea Durand

Garrity's Saturday Stakes: The Giant Causeway at Aqueduct, plus Lexington and Jenny Wiley at Keeneland, more

First post is 4:44 pm EDT.

Two races from Aqueduct and three stakes from Keeneland comprise our Saturday action. We expect fast dirt and firm turf for all of them, so let’s go.

Keeneland, Race 8, 4:44 pm ET

$200,000 Giant’s Causeway Stakes, 5 ½ furlongs, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

A full field of fourteen lines up for the Giant’s Causeway. One of them, 12-Elle Z, is wickedly fast, and her speed has served her well in her career, as she’s won 9 of 18 career starts almost entirely because of it. It’s a cinch that Elle Z gets the lead, but is she going to be able to stay in front all the way to the finish line?

We think the answer is no: there are a couple of other runners in here who should be able to stay reasonably close to her early, ensuring a fast pace that sets the stage for a come-from-behinder to win. That makes the choice 5-Change of Control, who had a very good campaign last year, winning four of her ten starts, and who, after a couple of middling races over the winter in New Orleans seems to be rounding back into that form. We see both her running style and her post position allowing her to work out a perfect trip here, which brings to mind that one of the simplest equations in handicapping is that a good horse plus a tactically advantageous trip equals a trip to the windows. We will bet Change of Control to win at 4-1. The bet: Keeneland, Race 8, $40 to win on 5-Change of Control.

Aqueduct, Race 8, 5:06 pm ET

Starter Allowance, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, 3 & Up

Nine line up for the 8th at Aqueduct, a starter allowance on the grass. The pick is 10-Hilliard, who has been away since October, but who did some good work last year, while mostly facing much tougher company. Trainer Mike Maker is good with horses coming off layoffs, which is nice; what is even better is that the shape of the race should play right into Hilliard’s mid-pack/closing running style. He simply looks better than the rest, so we will bet Hilliard to win at 2-1. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 8, $40 to win on 10-HIlliard.

Keeneland, Race 9, 5:16 pm ET

Grade 3 Stonestreet Lexington Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds

The Lexington is the Last Chance Saloon, the final opportunity for the eleven Kentucky Derby hopefuls entered in it to earn qualifying points for the big race. Most of them appear overmatched, but there is one we absolutely love: it’s 2-In Due Time, who got cooked running too close to a very swift early pace in the Fountain of Youth, but who showed tenacity holding on for second while the rest of the colts who contested the early fractions faded badly late. He should improve off that effort, certainly enough to win this, and perhaps enough become a serious contender to win the Run for the Roses. We think he’s the play of the day, and at 3-1, a great price. We will bet him to win, and will do so enthusiastically; we will also bet him in the Double comprising this race with the Jenny Wiley (see below) The bets: Keeneland, Race 9, $60 to win on 2-In Due Time; $40 Double, 2 (In Due Time) with 4 (Regal Glory).

Keeneland, Race 10, 5:48 pm ET

Grade 1 Jenny Wiley Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up

The Jenny Wiley drew a field of six pretty accomplished older females. We think the old racetrack saw about quality making up for quantity is utter bunk – bettors want big fields – but in this case, the short field is at least somewhat offset by the fact that the group is good, and fairly evenly matched.

WIth the size and composition of the field making a slow pace likely, the pick is 4-Regal Glory, who combines enough speed to be forwardly placed early, which we think will be important, with the ability to finish strong, which is always important on the grass and is doubly so in Grade 1 races. At 7/5, she’s not going to make anyone rich, but she does look like the likeliest winner, and we will leverage her odds by playing her to win, and by combining her in the Double with In Due Time (see above) in the Lexington. The bet: Keeneland, Race 10, $50 to win on 4-Regal Glory.

Aqueduct, Race 10, 6:13 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 furlongs, Dirt, New York-breds 3 & Up

The nightcap at the Big A is an allowance dirt sprint for state-breds. A dozen are entered. We like 2-Saint Selby, who comes off a win on March 13 that we think is even better than it looks on paper, as he contested a fast early pace, but still held on for the win. Most horses facing this kind of pace pressure throw in the towel, but the fact that Saint Selby did not is a sign that he is both talented and tough, and that as a lightly raced 4-year-old he still might be improving. He also has speed, which he’ll need to avoid traffic trouble breaking from his inside post. We will bet Saint Selby to win at 3-1. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 10, $35 to win on 2-Saint Selby.

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

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