Weyburn, in front in the Gotham, in March of 2021 at Aqueduct. Garrity likes him today at Churchill Downs.
Weyburn, in front in the Gotham, in March of 2021 at Aqueduct. Garrity likes him today at Churchill Downs.NYRA | Chelsea Durand

Garrity's Independence Day Stakes Picks: Races at Churchill Downs, Belmont Park, Los Alamitos

Garrity's first post is 3:50 pm EDT.

Happy Independence Day to all.

We have four plays for this holiday Monday, in four stakes races, from one end of this great land to the other. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them, so let’s go.

Churchill Downs, Race 7, 3:50 pm ET

$175,000 Debutante Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 2-Year-Old Fillies

One of the seven juvenile fillies entered in the Debutante stands out: it is 7-Empire of My Own, who is favored off a fast maiden win three weeks ago. She could win, but we think she’s a lousy bet, as her edge on paper will be much smaller than her odds would indicate. She’s probably going to be odds-on, and at that price, we are looking elsewhere.

We like 3-Wonder Wheel. Her maiden win a month ago was not quite as fast as the favorite’s, at least according to speed figures, but her recent morning workouts, especially a sizzlingly fast drill a week ago, suggest that she is improving rapidly, and that makes Wonder Wheel a major contender, and at at 7/2, a much better wager. We will bet her to win. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 7, $40 to win on 3-Wonder Wheel.

Churchill Downs, Race 8, 4:22 pm ET

$175,000 Hanshin Stakes, 1 mile, Dirt, 4 & Up

A good group of seven older horses lines up for the Hanshin. We like 4-Weyburn, who has been running mostly in longer races, but here will return to something at which he has excelled in the past: running around one turn. We are drawing a line through his last start, when he faded after a rough trip in an allowance race on May 21 – he nearly fell down when the gates opened, was rushed too close to a fast pace, and was virtually eased late – and expect a much better effort from him today. We will bet Weyburn to win at 4-1. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 8, $40 to win on 4-Weyburn.

Belmont Park, Race 9, 5:12 pm ET
$100,000 Manila Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 3-Year-Olds

Eight 3-year-old colts go in the Manila. We like one who is lightly raced, and a bit of a price: it’s 7-Double Clutch, who has just a maiden win to his credit, but it was a good one, when he beat a field of eleven, drawing off quite nicely down the stretch. Going from a maiden race to stakes company is no easy task, but Double Clutch, a Claiborne Farm homebred who has a sneaky good turf pedigree, seems up to the task, especially since we think the race shape will favor his stalking/closing running style. We will bet him to win at 12-1. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 9, $40 to win on 7-Double Clutch.

Los Alamitos, Race 9, 8:00 pm ET

Grade 2 Great Lady M Stakes, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

The Great Lady M drew a field of seven. We think the morning line choice, 3-Becca Taylor, is vulnerable, as she is favored primarily off a win in the Desert Stormer at Santa Anita, when she beat just three other horses. She is going to find the going here much, much tougher, which makes her a mammoth underlay, and a strong play-against, at 7/5.

We like 5-Ain’t Easy. Unlike the chalk, she is getting class relief here, as her last start was against a much, much tougher group in the Eight Belles, which was on the Kentucky Derby undercard at Churchill Downs. We think she is going to be like a high school kid who gets into a varsity basketball game, gets all his shots blocked right back into his face, and then plays in a CYO game and scores 35 points. Look for Ain’t Easy to win easy by pressing the pace early, and drawing off late. We will bet her to win at 7/2. The bet: Los Alamitos, Race 9, $40 to win on 5-Ain’t Easy.

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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