Sacred Life (pink silks), winning The Knickerbocker last October at Belmont Park, is Garrity's pick to win the Arlington Million at . . . Churchill Downs.
Sacred Life (pink silks), winning The Knickerbocker last October at Belmont Park, is Garrity's pick to win the Arlington Million at . . . Churchill Downs.NYRA

Garrity's Saturday Stakes picks Churchill Downs, Saratoga, Del Mar – Arlington Million, Fourstardave, more

Garrity's first post is at 3:01 pm EDT.

It must be a Saturday in summer, because across this great country, there are more stakes races than a railbird can shake a rolled-up program at. We have plays in five of them, from New York to Kentucky to California, and expect fast dirt and firm turf in all five. Let’s go.

Churchill Downs, Race 5, 3:01 pm ET

Grade 1 Beverly D Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

The Beverly D, a Grade 1 at a mile and an eighth, drew five runners. The early pace looks slow, which will compromise the chances of the come-from-behinders, especially the favorite, 4-Rougir, who is very good, but who we think is going to have a tough time closing into what are likely to be tepid early fractions.

We like 5-Lily Pond, a Coolmore/Aiden O’Brien filly who makes her U.S. debut in this spot. She is regally bred, with a turf pedigree to die for, and comes off a sharp win in a Group 2 stakes at the Curragh in Ireland last month. We like the way she ran that day: She was forwardly placed early, pressing the pace throughout, and then finished very strongly, drawing away from the rest of the field in deep stretch. That kind of style is a perfect fit for how we see this race being run, and we also think that she will not be intimidated by any of her rivals today, as the group she beat last time was pretty salty. Lily Pond is 5/2 on the morning line, and might be shorter by post time; we will bet her to win anyway. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 5, $40 to win on 5-Lily Pond.

Saratoga Race Course, Race 10, 6:13 pm ET
Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap, 1 mile, Turf, 3 & Up

Just five line up for the Fourstardave. This would normally be a disappointingly small field, but we think it’s a good betting race nonetheless, as the three logical contenders, 1-Casa Creed, 3-Regal Glory and 4-Masen, are conditioned by Bill Mott and Chad Brown, whose entrants always get bet, and are therefore going to get pounded at the windows. We hope they’re all very short prices, because that will make the odds higher on the horse we like, 5-Get Smokin, who is a cinch to get the early lead, and we think is going to have such an easy go of it up front that the rest of the field will be unable to catch him. We see a wire job, which makes Get Smokin’s 8-1 morning line number very attractive. We will bet him to win. The bet: Saratoga, Race 10, $40 to win on 5-Get Smokin.

Churchill Downs, Race 11, 6:25 pm ET

Grade 1 Arlington Million, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, 3 & Up

The Arlington Million, which will run for the first time this afternoon in Louisville, not Chicago, where it belongs, drew nine entrants. We think the race sets up perfectly for 2-Sacred Life, whose last start, a win in a Grade 3 at Monmouth Park last month, suggests that he is rounding into form. That makes him dangerous all by itself, as when he’s on his game he’s quite good, but what gives him the nod here is the projected race shape: we see a fast early pace, which should play right into Sacred Life’s one-run closing style. He will probably be last early, but we think he will be first where it counts; we will bet Sacred Life to win at 9/2. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 11, $40 to win on 2-Sacred Life.

Del Mar, Race 6, 7:34 pm ET

Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon Handicap, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

Seven go in the Yellow Ribbon. Six of them are based in Southern California, but we like the fresh face: It’s 7-Flippant, who was last seen winning a minor stakes in Indiana. She showed a devastating late kick in that race, and that will serve her well here, as the race shape should favor her stretch-running style. We will bet Flippant to win at 4-1. The bet: Del Mar, Race 6, $40 to win on 7-Flippant.

Del Mar, Race 9, 9:04 pm ET
Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 2-Year-Old Fillies

Six juvenile fillies line up for the Sorrento. We like the favorite: 1-Procrastination has just one start in her career, but it was a doozy, when she won a maiden race at Los Alamitos last month in very fast time. That race was at 5 furlongs, and this is at 6, but her pedigree suggests she may actually be better at this distance than she was going shorter. We think Procrastination will use her abundant speed to dominate the Sorrento race from start to finish, and will bet her to win at 8/5. The bet: Del Mar, Race 9, $50 to win on 1-Procrastination.

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

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