Garrity's Saturday Stakes Picks Monmouth Park: 4 races including the Eatontown, TVG Pegasus, Salvatore Mile
Tax, winning the Jim Dandy at Saratoga back in 2019, tries the turf today at Monmouth after a looooong layoff.NYRA | Meredith Chrimes

Garrity's Saturday Stakes Picks Monmouth Park: 4 races including the Eatontown, TVG Pegasus, Salvatore Mile

Garrity's first post is 4:47 pm EDT.

The national stakes schedule is relatively light today, so it’s a perfect occasion for Monmouth Park to fill the void with a big card: it’s Haskell Preview day on the Jersey shore, and we have plays in the four stakes races on it. It will be a gorgeous day at Monmouth, and we are expecting bluebird skies and excellent racing on the dirt course, which will be fast, and the turf course, which will be firm. There is money to be made, so let’s go.

Monmouth Park, Race 11, 4:47 pm ET
Grade 3 Eatontown Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

Eight go in the Eatontown. We are all in on 7-Lemista, a Chad Brown trainee who ran an unexpectedly dull race last out, when she finished a well-beaten fourth in the Beaugay at Belmont Park. We generally dislike excusing a bad race, but we are doing it here, as Lemista had a tough trip in the Beaugay, running wide throughout, and it was also her first start in nine months. We expect her to be much better today, which is trouble for the rest of the field, because when Lemista is good, she is excellent. We will bet her to win at 4-1. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 11, $40 to win on 7-Lemista.

Monmouth Park, Race 12, 5:19 pm ET

$150,000 TVG Pegasus Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds

A field of nine sophomore colts lines up for the Pegasus. The pick is 4-Electability, who was last seen running third in the Peter Pan at Belmont Park. We like the fact that Electability seems poised to run a big race, but what we like even more is that he appears to have caught a pretty weak group. Look for him to prevail with a forwardly placed trip, pressing the pace from the start. We will bet Electability to win at 9/5. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 12, $40 to win on 4-Electability.

Monmouth Park, Race 13, 5:47 pm ET

Grade 3 Monmouth Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, 3 & Up

There’s an old saying in horse racing: never take a short price on a horse trying to do something for the first time. We are somewhat indifferent about the truth behind that adage, but we mention it because we are going to take a giant price on a horse trying something for the first time: it’s 2-Tax, who was a Triple Crown hopeful three years ago, but who is now six years old. He has always had ability – he won the Jim Dandy at Saratoga in 2019 – but the two questions he must answer today are if he is ready to run off a 17-month layoff, and whether he can be effective on turf as he was on dirt, the surface over which he has raced exclusively to this point.

We think the answer to both questions is yes: Trainer Danny Gargan, who wins with 43% of his starters coming off layoffs over six months, will have him ready off the bench; and though he’s never run on turf before, we think he has an excellent pedigree for the sod, as he is by Arch, who sired multiple champion turf runners, and is out of a mare by Giant’s Causeway, one of the best turf stallions of the past few decades. Is Tax a cinch? No. But we think he has a shot, perhaps a very good shot, and at 12-1, that makes him an excellent wager. We will bet him to win. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 13, $40 to win on 2-Tax.

Monmouth Park, Race 14, 6:15 pm ET

Grade 3 Salvatore Mile, 1 mile, Dirt, 3 & Up

There are seven runners entered in the Salvatore Mile, but virtually all eyes, and almost all wagering dollars, will be focused on one: 3-Hot Rod Charlie, a horse who runs very fast, and earns big speed figures, but who has the confounding tendency of somehow losing races he should win. It is entirely possible that he wins this race by a pole, but at a minuscule price – he’s probably going to be 1/5 - we think he is a mammoth underlay, and a bet-against.

We like 5-Helium. He’s a Mark Casse trainee who has run mostly on the synthetic surface at Woodbine, which is Casse’s base, but we think he is a much, much better horse on conventional dirt than he is on the lint. The last time Helium faced Hot Rod Charlie was in the 2021 Kentucky Derby, when he finished nine lengths behind him; we think he just might be able to turn the tables today, and to do so at generous 8-1 odds. We will bet Helium to win. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 14, $40 to win on 5-Helium.

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

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