Garrity's Saturday Stakes picks Churchill Downs, Monmouth, Woodbine, Belmont, including Pennine Ridge, Blame
The stakes schedule is a bit light today, at least as far as playable races go, as several of the black-type affairs on the Saturday slate are simply unplayable, especially in California, where the two stakes on the Santa Anita card drew a total of ten horses. But we have managed to cobble together five races worth your attention, at Churchill Downs, Woodbine, and Belmont and Monmouth Parks, and we expect fast dirt and firm turf for all of them, except in New York, where the turf should be soft. Let’s go.
Churchill Downs, Race 8, 4:22 pm ET
Grade 3 Arlington Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, 4 & Up
Six older turfers line up for the Arlington. Despite the small field, a fast pace looks likely, as a few of them are speed types, and we think that will set the table for 1-Admission Office, who has been on the sidelines for a long time, nearly sixteen months, but who showed the ability to close strongly before that. We see an ideal setup for him today, as he will be able to gallop early, his late rally aided by early fractions swift enough to leave the horses on or near it out of gas down the stretch. It also doesn’t hurt that he is trained by Brian Lynch, who has an exceptionally good 28% win rate with horses coming off layoffs. We will bet Admission Office to win at 3-1. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 8, $40 to win on 1-Admissions Office.
Monmouth Park, Race 11, 4:55 pm ET
$100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds
The Mr. Prospector is a terrific betting race, with nine evenly matched colts going to the post. We are going with a speed play, 9-Hollywood Jet, who has the most early zip in the field, who gets an outside post position that will be the optimum position from which he can use it, and we also like the fact that he has been racing at Parx, which has a deeper and more tiring dirt track than Monmouth. That Hollywood Jet has been racing so well so well at Parx – he’s won seven in a row there, all in wire-to-wire fashion – is going to transfer quite nicely to the Jersey shore, we think: we see him going right to the lead, and never looking back. He is 6-1 on the morning line, but will likely be lower by post time; we will bet him to win anyway. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 11, $40 to win on 9-Hollywood Jet.
Woodbine, Race 8, 4:59 pm ET
Grade 2 Royal North Stakes, 6 ½ furlongs, Turf, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up
A field of eight lines up for the Royal North. We think there is a big difference in races at this 6 ½ furlong distance than with shorter turf sprints, and that makes the pick 2-In Good Spirits, whose last two starts were at 5 ½ furlongs, probably a bit shorter than she likes. We think she returns to the form she showed the last time she ran the distance, when she won a stakes race at Kentucky Downs. Look for her to sit just behind the leaders, to move to the front in mid-stretch, and hold off the closers late. We will bet her to win at 4-1. The bet: Woodbine, Race 8, $35 to win on 2-In Good Spirits.
Belmont Park, Race 9, 5:12 pm ET
Grade 2 Pennine Ridge Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, 3-Year-Old Fillies
3-Year-old turf fillies, six of them, take the stage in the Pennine Ridge at Belmont Park. The favorite, and a deserving one, is 7-Unanimous Consent, a Chad Brown trainee who is undefeated in three career starts, all of which were on turf. A win by her would certainly be no surprise, but this game is about making money, not picking winners, and at something like 2/5, she is an unappealing wagering prospect, and we are going to try to beat her.
The pick is 5-Elizar. The French-bred filly is something of an X factor here, as she has run only once, last year at Chantilly in suburban Paris, and it was a race on a synthetic track, not on grass. But she did win that race, suggesting she has talent; and her pedigree is all turf, so we are expecting that she can compete today, especially since she is trained by Christophe Clement, who excels with European imports. At 6-1, Elizar is a much more appealing play than eating chalk. We will bet her to win. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 9, $40 to win on 5-Elizar.
Churchill Downs, Race 10, 5:26 pm ET
$200,000 Blame Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, 4 & Up
The Blame drew a field of eight, and we found it the easiest race of the day to handicap. 8-Americanrevolution comes pretty close to the embodiment of handicapping perfection: He comes off a sensational win in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile, his figures, both pace and speed, are superior to his rivals, and while he is coming off a six-month layoff, his recent morning works, which were swift, suggest that he is breathing fire, and ready to run today. If he shows up, he wins; he will be a relatively short price, 8/5 on the morning line and probably somewhere around even money when the gates open, but he looks overwhelmingly superior enough to us that we are willing to accept that. We will bet him to win. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 10, $50 to win on 8-Americanrevolution.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.