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Garrity's Saturday Stakes Picks Monmouth Park, Saratoga, Woodbine, Del Mar and Century Mile in Edmonton

Garrity's first post is at 3:54 pm EDT.

Our action on this August Saturday has a decided north-of-the-border flavor, with three races from the usual summer suspects, Saratoga, Monmouth, and Del Mar, joined by stakes from Woodbine in Toronto and Century Mile out on the Canadian prairie. We have five races in all, and we expect fast dirt and firm turf in all. So let’s go.

Monmouth Park, Race 9, 3:54 pm ET

Grade 3 Philip H. Iselin Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 3 & Up

Down at the good old Jersey Shore, a field of six older horses lines up for the Iselin. We’re all in on 1-Forza di Oro, who returns from a layoff for new trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. He gets class relief in this spot, after running in a couple of Grade 1 events last fall, the Woodward at Belmont and the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Saratoga. His morning workouts the past few weeks have been sharp, a sign that he is poised to run a big race. We will bet him to win at 8/5. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 9,. $40 to win on 1-Forza di Oro.

Saratoga Race Course, Race 8, 4:26 pm ET

Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, 3-Year-Old Fillies

Eight sophomore fillies line up for the Lake Placid. We see no reason to look past the first one on the entry sheet, 1-With the Moonlight, who is favored off a sharp score in the Saratoga Oaks. That race was just thirteen days ago, and we hope that the quick turnaround, which is unusual for any horse these days but is especially so for stakes runners, scares a lot of bettors away from her, because we love everything about her: we love her class, we love here ability, and we love the fact that trainer Charlie Appleby is running her back so soon, as it’s a sign to us that she is thriving, and ready to run a monster race. This is doubly so because it seemed to us that she was not at her best last time – yes, she won, but it seems to us that she did so with quite a bit left in her tank. With the Moonlight simply looks better than the rest; we will bet her to win at 9/5, and do so with gusto. The bet: Saratoga, Race 8, $75 to win on 1-With the Moonlight.

Woodbine, Race 8, 4:42 pm ET

Grade 2 Soaring Free Stakes, 6 ½ furlongs, Turf, 2-Year-Olds

Ten juveniles line up for the Soaring Free. With most of them having competed primarily on the synthetic surface at Woodbine, we are turning to one who has had success on grass: It’s 7-Philip My Dear, who broke his maiden going six furlongs on turf back on July 7. He showed a good turn of foot in that race, sitting patiently early and closing strongly late, and we think that style will suit him well here, as the early pace should be quick, setting up his late run. We will bet him to win at 6-1. The bet: Woodbine, Race 8, $40 to win on 7-Philip My Dear.

Del Mar, Race 8, 8:34 pm ET

Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, 3-Year-Old Fillies

The action at Del Mar this summer has been terrific, a real improvement from the drudgery that Southern California racing has become, and the Del Mar Oaks is a good example: it’s a cracking good affair, with fourteen 3-year-old fillies going to the gate to run nine furlongs on the sod. We’re against favored 11-Spendaralla, who is terrific, but whose chances to win will be much less than her odds on the toteboard. There are few immutable rules in this game, but one is that one must bet against the underlays.

The pick is 9-Txope. She’s a fresh face with a weird name (it’s pronounced soap), having raced primarily in her native France, and there are two things here that make us like her there: The first is that she faced very stiff competition on the other side of the pond, running in tough races at premier French tracks like Longchamps and Deauville; the second is that she has the has the look of a filly who should be much better on truly firm turf, which she will get today for the first time. She comes off a layoff in this spot, having last run in January; while this is a bit of a concern, the flip side is that she should presumably be much better than she was in her last, as 3-year-olds typically mature significantly during the months she has been away. Txope looks like a winner to us, and at 5-1, is a terrific play. We will bet her to win. The bet: Del Mar, Race 8, $40 to win on 9-Txope.

Century Mile, Race 10, 10:50 pm ET

$200,000 Canadian Derby, 1 ¼ miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds

Tonight’s featured race at Century Mile, a track in suburban Edmonton, is the Canadian Derby. It drew a full field of twelve. The pick is 3-Red Knobs, who was bred in Kentucky, and began his career at Churchill Downs and Keeneland, before current trainer Robertino Diodoro claimed him for $50,000 and sent him north. He showed that was a wise decision by winning the Manitoba Derby, a prep for this spot, and seems to be ready to run another big race here. Look for him to press the pace early, and to draw away late. We will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Century Mile, Race 10, $40 to win on 3-Red Knobs.

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

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