Garrity's Memorial Day Stakes Picks: Races at Monmouth, Santa Anita – Miss Liberty, Hollywood Gold Cup, Gamely
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Garrity's Memorial Day Stakes Picks: Races at Monmouth, Santa Anita – Miss Liberty, Hollywood Gold Cup, Gamely

Garrity's first post is 3:59 pm EDT.

Happy Memorial Day to all. This is a major holiday, and one that has always been prominent in the world of horse racing, with all the major tracks putting on special holiday cards. We have plays in three races, one at Monmouth in the East and two at Santa Anita in the West, and we expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them. Let’s go.

Monmouth Park, Race 9, 3:59 pm ET
$100,000 Miss Liberty Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

A field of eight lines up for the Miss Liberty at the Jersey Shore. We like 5-Rocky Sky, an Iris-bred 4-year-old filly from the Chad Brown barn who comes off a runner-up finish in the Grade 2 Hillsborough Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on March 12. To this point she has been more promise than results – she has a terrific pedigree, but just six career starts, and no stakes wins – but we think that changes today, as she appears to have caught a group she can handle. Look for her to prevail with a forwardly-placed trip, perhaps even going wire-to-wire. We will bet her to win at 7/2. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 9, $40 to win on 5-Rocky Sky.

Santa Anita Park, Race 4, 5:47 pm ET

Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup, 1 ¼ miles, Dirt, 3 & Up

Southern California racing has been plagued with short fields of late, and the Hollywood Gold Cup is a sad example: This is a Grade 1 race with an incredibly rich history – the first running, in 1938, was won by Seabsicuit, and in later years it was won by all-time greats like Native Diver and Affirmed – but it still drew only five entries. It is enough to make a horseplayer weep in the L.A. smog.

Still, someone will have to win the race, and we think that this year it will be 2-Royal Ship, who returned from a lengthy layoff to win a minor stakes race at Santa Anita on April 10. That should have him fit and ready for this spot, and we also like the fact that he will relish this mile and a quarter distance, which is not the case with a few of the other top contenders. Royal Ship finished second in this race last year, but we think this afternoon he will make up for that, and take the Hollywood Gold Cup. We will bet him to win at 6/5. The bet: Santa Anita Park, Race 4, $50 to win on 2-Royal Ship.

Santa Anita Park, Race 10, 9:00 pm ET

Grade 1 Gamely Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

Eight female turf runners line up for the Gamely. The pick is 7-Neige Blanche, a French-bred mare who has run twice this year, and fired both times, with a close third in the Santa Ana in March, and a good win in the Santa Barbara earlier this month. Those races should have her razor-sharp for this spot, and she gets the nod partly for that recency, but also because she has the best late kick in this field. We see the field in the Gamely bunching up at the top of the stretch, and the prize going to the runner who can sprint to the wire fastest, and that is Neige Blanche. We will bet her to win at 6-1. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 10, $40 to win on 7-Neige Blanche.

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

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