The speedy Gamine winning the 2021 edition of The Ballerina stakes.
The speedy Gamine winning the 2021 edition of The Ballerina stakes.NYRA | Susie Raisher

Garrity's Sunday Stakes picks The Ballerina at Saratoga, plus two New Jersey-bred races at Monmouth Park

Garrity's first post is 3:09 pm EDT.

We have three plays on this late August Sunday, a Grade 1 from Saratoga, and two stakes for New Jersey-breds at Monmouth Park. It’s an all-dirt lineup today, and we expect a fast track in all three races. Let’s go.

Monmouth Park, Race 7, 3:09 pm ET

$100,000 Eleven North Handicap, 6 furlongs, Dirt, New Jersey-bred Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

A field of nine goes to the gate for the Eleven North. We’re all in on 7-Alto Velocita, who was last seen running second in a starter allowance a month ago. A lowly starter allowance might not seem like an ideal prep for a stakes race, but Alto Velocita was running against open company that day, meaning horses bred in other states (she lost to a filly named Above Par, who was bred in Kentucky), and we think that she is going to find running against fellow state-breds much to her liking. We will bet her to win at 5/2. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 7, $40 to win on 7-Alto Velocita.

Monmouth Park, Race 9, 4:07 pm ET

$125,000 Charles Hesse II Handicap, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, New Jersey-breds 3 & Up

The Hesse, the featured race on today’s Monmouth card, drew a field of ten older horses bred in the Garden State. We like one at a price, 8-Prendini, who has been running, and mostly running well, at other tracks on the Mid-Atlantic circuit, Parx and Laurel Park, and who here seems to have found a pretty soft spot. He has good speed, which should allow jockey Samy Camacho to avoid traffic trouble early, settle in just behind the pacesetters down the backstretch, and to squirt clear as the field turns for home. We will bet Prendini to win at 8-1. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 9, $40 to win on 8-Prendini.

Saratoga Race Course, Race 9, 5:38 pm ET

Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes, 7 furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

Seven older fillies and mares go in the Ballerina. It’s a good field, with several Grade 1 winners, including 1-Ce Ce, who won last year’s Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, entered. But we are eschewing all the logical contenders for 6-Travel Column, a 4-year-old filly who was very good last spring, competing against the best 3-year-old fillies in the country, winning the Fair Ground Oaks and running fifth in the Kentucky Oaks, before she went to the sidelines for over a year. She returned from the layoff on June 29, when she won an allowance race at Churchill Downs, and while her effort that day was not particularly fast, we think that was a very nice prep for this spot. Her morning workouts of late have been sensationally good, and we just can’t get past three things about Travel Column: she showed last year that she has a world of ability; we get the sense that we have not yet seen her at her best; and she is 12-1 on the morning line. Add it up and we are going to the windows: we will bet Travel Column to win. The bet: Saratoga, Race 9, $40 to win on 6-Travel Column.

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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