Garrity's Saturday Stakes Picks The Diana and Sanford at Saratoga, The Blue Sparkler at Monmouth Park, 2 more
The eyes of the racing world the past few days are on Saratoga Race Course in Upstate New York, and so are ours: our Saturday slate of action has a quartet of races from the Spa, with a fifth from Monmouth Park at the Jersey Shore thrown in to make an afternoon’s worth of action. We expect summer conditions, and fast dirt and firm turf, so let’s go.
Saratoga, Race 5, 3:21 pm ET
Allowance, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, New York-breds 3 & Up
Eleven state-breds line up for this first-level allowance. We like the looks of 3-Front Line Dancer, a Todd Pletcher trainee who broke his maiden two starts back with a strong stretch run, then spun his wheels a little bit in his last start, which was his first against winners, when a very slow early pace played against his closing running style. Front Line Dancer should get a better setup today, as the early pace should be swift, which will set the table for jockey Irad Ortiz to mow the rest of the field down late. We will bet him to win at 9/2. The bet: Saratoga, Race 5, $35 to win on 3-Front Line Dancer.
Saratoga, Race 7, 4:29 pm ET
Allowance, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
This tough second-level allowance dirt sprint drew a field of nine. On paper, 5-Reinvestment Risk looks like a layover, and he may just gallop and win by a pole, but he will be the day’s shortest price, in the neighborhood of 1/5, and we are consequently taking a shot against him. We will be doing so with 7-River Dog, who looks like lone speed, who should get a very comfortable lead, and who, with all the attention focused on the favorite, may just sneak away on the front end. He is 20-1 on the morning line, and will likely be higher at post time; we will bet him to win. The bet: Saratoga, Race 7, $30 to win on 7-River Dog.
Saratoga, Race 8, 5:03 pm ET
Grade 1 Diana Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up
The Diana drew just six entrants, but it is going to be fascinating to see how the race works out tactically, since Chad Brown trains four of them. We are going against the Brown contingent, and are doing so with 2-Creative Flair, a Godolphin homebred trained by Charlie Appleby, who at first glance might appear to be a cut below the main contenders, but who at 4 years old could be a late-bloomer, and who just might be sitting on a new career-best effort. She certainly has the breeding to be a world-class racehorse (like all Godolphin horses, her pedigree is impeccable), and at 8-1, Creative Flair is a good wager. We will bet her to win. The bet: Saratoga, Race 8, $40 to win on 2-Creative Flair.
Monmouth Park, Race 11, 5:05 pm ET
$100,000 Blue Sparkler Stakes, 5 ½ furlongs, Turf, 3-Year-Olds
A field of nine lines up for the Blue Sparkler at Monmouth. We like the looks of a fresh face, 3-Delmona, who has been running, and running quite well, in Southern California, and here should be ready to fire off a short layoff. Look for him to be mid-pack early, and first at the wire; we will bet him to win at 9/2. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 11, $40 to win on 3-Delmona.
Saratoga, Race 10, 6:13 pm ET
Grade 3 Sanford Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 2-Year-Olds
A dozen precocious 2-year-olds line up for the Sanford, the first major stakes race this summer for juveniles. We like 4-Forte, who won his career debut very impressively, sitting just behind dueling speedsters, moving to the front around the far turn, and drawing off late to win. We see an almost identical setup for Forte today: The early pace looks hot, and he should get a dream trip sitting in the garden spot, just behind the speed, ready to pounce when the pacesetters begin to shorten stride late. We will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Saratoga, Race 10, $50 to win on 4-Forte.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.