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Garrity's Sunday Stakes Picks: Colleen at Monmouth; Dance Smartly at Woodbine; Cougar II, Wickerr at Del Mar

Garrity's first post is 4:27 pm EDT.

We have plays in four races on this hot July Sunday, from New Jersey to Ontario to Southern California. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them, so let’s go. =

Monmouth Park, Race 10, 4:27 pm ET
$100,000 Colleen Stakes, 5 furlongs, Turf, 2-Year-Olds

Eight juveniles line up to sprint five furlongs on the grass in the Colleen Stakes at the Jersey Shore. It’s been very hot in the Northeast of late, which has made the turf course at Monmouth very firm, and kinder to speed than it normally is. It is mostly because of that trend that we are going with a straight-down-the-line speed play, and are doing so with 8-Sansa Ariel, who showed brilliant early foot winning a maiden race at Delaware Park on June 1. That race is on grass, and this is on turf, and we are not overly enamored at his prospects on the sod long term, but we think that today his speed, which should allow him to get the early lead quite comfortably, plus his outside post position, which is a tactical advantage, will be enough to carry Sansa Ariel to victory. Look for him to blast out of the gate and never look back; we will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 10, $40 to win on 8-Sansa Ariel.

Woodbine, Race 10, 5:58 pm ET

Grade 2 Dance Smartly Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

Eight older females line up north of the border to run 8 and a half turf furlongs in the Dance Smartly. We like the looks of a fresh face, 3-Fev Rover, who was competitive the past two years while facing some incredibly tough competition in Ireland, England, and France. She makes her North American debut here, and also her first start since November, and while both are legitimate concerns, her recent workouts are excellent, a sign that she will be ready to deliver a top effort today off the bench. That spells trouble for the rest of the field, because her best effort simply looks better than anything her rivals are capable of. Sometimes this game is difficult, but in this case, the plan is simple: identify the best horse and bet her to win. We will do so with Fev Rover, who is 7/2 on the morning line. The bet: Woodbine, Race 10, $50 to win on 3-Fev Rover.

Del Mar, Race 8, 8:33 pm ET

Grade 2 Cougar II Stakes, 1 ½ miles, Dirt, 3 & Up

The Cougar II, a rare graded stakes at a mile and a half on conventional dirt, drew a field of seven. Six of them are older horses, but we are taking a shot with the lone 3-year-old in the group: it’s 7-Win the Day, who is 20-1 on the morning line, and whose race record would seem to suggest is a rank outsider, as his lone career win, from six lifetime starts, was when he beat just four other animals to break his maiden back in March.

But we think he has a shot here, as he’s got a pedigree (by Midshipman, out of a Jazil mare) that is decent overall, but that might, we think, make him dangerous at this 12 furlong distance, especially since quite a few of his rivals appear unlikely to want to go that far. Is Win the Day a cinch? No. But we think he has a chance – and when you think a horse has a chance at a big number, you bet him. We will bet him Win the Day to win the race, and the day. The bet: Del Mar, Race 8, $30 to win on 7-Win the Day.

Del Mar, Race 9, 9:03 pm ET

$100,000 Wickerr Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 3 & Up

Big fields have been the rule so far at Del Mar. The meet is young, with just two days of racing in the books, but the large fields they’ve had so far have been a delight, from both a betting standpoint but also as a pleasant change from what Southern California racing has largely become, which is short fields, a small number of dominant trainers, and unbettable races. The Wickerr is a good example, as a deep group of thirteen lines up to run a mile on the turf. This is a significantly better race, from both a wagering and sporting standpoint, than what we were seeing during the tail end of the Santa Anita meeting.

The pick in the Wickerr is 13-Me and Mr. C, whom trainer Mike Maker has shipped to Del Mar from Gulfstream Park, where his recent three races were hit or miss; we think he will be a hit today, as he is a closer, a running style that has done quite well on the grass at Del Mar since Friday, and the early pace here, on paper, looks like it should be fast enough to set up his late charge. Because he’s a fresh face, Me and Mr. C is 12-1 on the morning line; we expect that he will be a bit shorter by post time, but still worthy of backing at the windows. We will bet him to win. The bet: Del Mar, Race 9, $40 to win on 13-Me and Mr. C.

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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