Garrity's Saturday Stakes heads to Churchill Downs for 7 picks on the Kentucky Derby undercard
The Kentucky Derby may be the headliner today, but do not sleep on the undercard: These are great races in their own right, and are also very good wagering opportunities.
We have seven plays in seven stakes leading up to the main event. And there is good news on the weather front: the rains have departed Louisville, and the main track, as of 10 am Saturday morning, is firm. The main track is listed as good, but we are expecting it to be fast by post time of our first dirt race, which is just before 2 pm. With that out of the way, let’s go.
Churchill Downs, Race 5, 12:36 pm ET
Grade 2 Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile, 1 mile, Turf, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up
Six go here. Seven look ordinary, but we’re all in on the other one, 8-Speak of the Devil, who in this spot makes her North American debut for trainer Chad Brown. She spent last summer running in stakes races in France, where the competition she faced was far, far tougher than what she will face today; we think she will handle this group quite easily. We will bet Speak of the Devil to win at 2-1. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 5, $50 to win on 8-Speak of the Devil.
Churchill Downs, Race 6, 1:14 pm ET
$160,000 Knicks Go Overnight Stakes, 1 mile, Dirt, 4 & Up
Eleven older horses line up for the Knicks Go. The pick is 2-Shared Sense, who has been running in two-turn races in Louisiana and Arkansas, but who should get an ideal setup in this one-turn affair, sitting well back behind what should be a fast early pace, which will set up his powerful late run. Shared Sense may be last early, but we think he will be first where it matters; we will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 7, $30 to win on 2-Shared Sense.
Churchill Downs, Race 7, 1:56 pm ET
Grade 2 Pat Day Mile, 1 mile, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds
A field of eleven 3-year-olds is entered in the Pat Day Mile. We can’t get past the chalk, 5-Jack Christopher, who simply seems superior to the rest. He will not make anyone rich, as he’s 2-1 on the morning line, and will be shorter by post time; but since we firmly believe that all winners have value, we will play Jack Christopher to win anyway. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 7, $40 to win on 5-Jack Christopher.
Churchill Downs, Race 8, 2:48 pm ET
Grade 1 Derby City Distaff, 7 furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up
The Derby City drew a field of seven sprinting distaffers. The smallish field, plus the fact that most of them have little early speed, leaves the race open to being stolen on the front end, and that is exactly what we think 7-Edgeway will do: she is naturally much, much faster than her rivals, and we see her popping out of the gate, going right to the front from her outside post position, and not looking back. We see a wire-to-wire job, and will bet Edgeway to win at 4-1. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 8, $40 to win on 7-Edgeway.
Churchill Downs, Race 9, 3:40 pm ET
Grade 2 American Turf Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, 3-Year-Olds
Ten 3-year-old turfers line up here. The pick is the stretch-running 7-Sy Dog, an undefeated Graham Motion trainee whose late kick should prove quite effective, as we expect the race’s early fractions to be run swiftly enough to favor his closing running style. Look for Sy Dog to be flying late; we will bet him to win at 7/2. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 9, $40 to win on 7-Sy Dog.
Churchill Downs, Race 10, 4:31 pm ET
Grade 1 Churchill Downs Stakes, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 4 & Up
The Churchill Downs is a terrific race, a true Grade 1 dirt sprint with a deep and competitive field of nine. The presence of 5-Jackie’s Warrior, one of the fastest horses in North America, virtually guarantees a fast pace, and that will set the table quite nicely, we think, for 7-Mind Control, who has been most effective when stalking, sitting just behind the leaders early, moving to the front at the top of the stretch, and holding off the closers late. That is exactly what we see happening here, which makes his 5-1 morning line number too good to pass up. We will bet him to win. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 10, $40 to win on 7-Mind Control.
Churchill Downs, Race 11, 5:27 pm ET
Grade 1 Old Forester Turf Classic, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, 4 & Up
The race before the big race is the Turf Classic, and it drew ten runners. We like 8-Adhamo, a 4-year-old who was bred in Ireland, has a Latin name, and has raced mostly in France, where he was competitive last summer in some of their tougher middle-distance turf races, like the Grade 1 Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly in June. He came to this country, and to Chad Brown’s barn, over the winter, and just missed in his American debut, running second, just a head behind the winner, in the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Stakes in New Orleans in March. We do not think he will miss today, and will bet him to win at 9/2, and do so with gusto. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 11, $50 to win on 8-Adhamo.
That’s all for today. Until the next time, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.