Garrity's Friday Dad's Hat Happy Hour Handicapping: Races at Keeneland, Oaklawn, Belmont; Bewitched Stakes
War Like Goddess winning the Glens Falls at Saratoga, August 2021. She returns today at Keeneland.NYRA

Garrity's Friday Dad's Hat Happy Hour Handicapping: Races at Keeneland, Oaklawn, Belmont; Bewitched Stakes

First post at 4:07 pm EDT. Last post at 5:09 pm. Let it Rye-d.

Keeneland is winding down their brief spring meet, which has been excellent from both a sporting and wagering standpoint, and we will lean heavily on the races there for this installment of our regular Friday feature, Dad’s Hat Happy Hour Handicapping. We have plays in five races, three of them at Keeneland, all of which go off in about an hour’s time. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them, so pour yourself a tumbler of one of the delicious, hand-crafted libations from our friends at Dad’s Hat, and let’s go.

Keeneland, Race 8, 4:07 pm ET

Grade 3 Bewitched Stakes, 1 ½ miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up

The Bewitched, a turf marathon for older females, drew a field of seven. The heavy favorite is 5-War Like Goddess, who has won six of her eight career starts, and who was last seen running an excellent third in the Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

War Like Goddess might be overwhelmingly the likeliest winner, but she is going to be the shortest price of the day, something on the order of 1/5, and we are taking a shot against her, and doing so with 7-Breeze Rider, who figures to get the early lead, and to do so while running slow early fractions. We think she just may get brave on the front end, and at 15-1, she is a much better wager than taking 20 cents on the dollar with the chalk. We will bet Breeze Rider to win. The bet: Keeneland, Race 8, $30 to win on 7-Breeze Rider.

Oaklawn Park, Race 6, 4:33 pm ET

Starter Allowance, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 4 & Up

Older horses, eight of them, go in the 6th at Oaklawn. The early pace should be hot, which makes the pick 2-Skyscanner, who comes off a sharp win on April 9, when he sat patiently behind the speed, and pounced when the early leaders tired down the stretch. We see a similar setup for him, and a similar result, here. We will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Oaklawn Park, Race 6, $35 to win on 2-Skyscanner.

Keeneland, Race 9, 4:38 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, 4 & Up

This tough third-level allowance drew seven runners. We like a Southern California shipper, 7-Canadian Pride, who has speed and an outside post position, and who should leverage both assets into a good stalking trip, sitting just behind and outside the early leaders, moving forward as the field turns for home. We will bet Canadian Pride to win at 5/2. The bet: Keeneland, Race 9, $40 to win on 7-Canadian Pride.

Belmont Park, Race 8, 5:01 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 7 furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

Today’s 8th at Belmont Park, which opened yesterday, is a second-level allowance for fillies and mares. It drew a field of six. The pick is 1-Love and Love, whose last race, a win in a similar spot at Aqueduct on March 27, looks good on paper, but was actually probably even better than it appears, as she closed strongly into a slow pace to prevail by three lengths. She is a good mare who is in good form, and the fact that she cuts back to 7 furlongs after running a mile is the cherry on top of the handicapping sundae, as it were. We will bet Love and Love to win at 2-1. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 8, $40 to win on 1-Love and Love.

Keeneland, Race 10, 5:09 pm ET

Allowance, 1 3/16 miles, Turf, 3-Year-Olds

The turf races at Keeneland’s brief spring meet have been noteworthy for having big fields, and today’s 10th is no exception, as an even dozen first-level allowance runners line up to run eleven furlongs on the sod. We like a price, 4-Icarus, who has so far run exclusively on the synthetic surface at Turfway Park, but in three races over the winter there showed the ability to relax early and finish strongly, and this should translate well to turf. He also has a trainer, Brad Cox, who excels at the synthetic-to-turf angle (40% win rate), and perhaps most importantly, he won’t have to beat much, as the rest of this field looks weak. We will bet Icarus to win at 10-1. The bet: Keeneland, Race 10, $35 to win on 4-Icarus.

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

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