Garrity's Sunday Stakes picks the Spinaway at Saratoga, 2 Dueling Ground turf routes at Kentucky Downs

Garrity's first post is 5:57 pm EDT. Note: Kentucky Downs races have been cancelled.
Racing at Saratoga.
Racing at Saratoga.@TheNYRA on Twitter

The Labor Day holiday, plus the fact that it is closing weekend at Saratoga, brings us a better than normal lineup of stakes races for a Sunday. We have plays in three of them, a dirt race for juvenile fillies at Saratoga, where the dirt will be fast, and a pair of stakes from Kentucky Downs, where the turf will be yielding. Let’s go.

Editor's Note: According to the @KYDownsRacing Twitter feed: #KYDowns has canceled Sun 9/4 card because of weather. Plan is to run card in tact on Labor Day w updated decision to come @ 5p CT Sunday. Tix for Sunday will be good for Labor Day.

Kentucky Downs, Race 9, 5:57 pm ET

$500,000 Dueling Grounds Oaks, 1 5/16 miles, Turf, 3-Year-Old Fillies

Kentucky Downs had a rough go of it with the weather yesterday, with heavy rains forcing the cancellation of the latter portion of the card, including a couple of stakes with hefty purses. We are expecting them to be able to run today, albeit on a turf course that will be rated yielding, and which will probably be about as soft as turf races are run in North America.

That will be a challenge for the dozen 3-year-old fillies entered in the Oaks, for not only have none of them ever run this far, but the distance will seem even longer, as soft turf requires more effort to get over, in a way that is roughly analogous to how soft sand is more tiring to run on than hard sand. This race, like the Dueling Grounds Derby that follows, is going to be a stern test of stamina.

There is one filly who we think will do quite well on the boggy ground: it’s 12-Skims, an English-bred who is by Frankel, a world-class stallion on turf, who is based in England, where races are routinely run over conditions like what Skims will see today. As yet she has only hinted at her wet-turf ability, finishing third in the Wonder Again on a Belmont Park course rated yielding, but a combination of the longer distance today (the Wonder Again was run at a mile), and the softer going, has us liking her chances here. She is also bred to run all day, so staying the distance should not be an issue. We will bet Skims to win at 5-1, and play her (see below) in the Double covering races 9 and 10. The bets: Kentucky Downs, Race 9, $35 to win on 12-Skims; $25 double, 12 (Skims) with 12-Ready to Purrform.

Saratoga, Race 11, 6:11 pm ET

Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 2-year-Old Fillies

The Spinaway is a major early stakes race for 2-year-old fillies, and the 2022 renewal drew a field of ten. We like the looks of 5-Just Cindy, who is undefeated in two starts, which is nice; but what we like even more than her record is the way she ran last time, when she pressed rapid early fractions to take the Schuylerville Stakes on July 14. It is one thing for a young horse to win a race by dominating a race with speed early; the fact that Just Cindy still managed to draw off despite participating in a contested pace is a sign that she is very good. We expect another step forward for her today, which makes her both the pick and an excellent wager at a generous price of 5-1. We will bet her to win. The bet: Saratoga, Race 11, $40 to win on 5-Just Cindy.

Kentucky Downs, Race 10, 6:31 pm ET

Grade 3 Dueling Grounds Derby, 1 5/16 miles, Turf, 3-Year-Olds

Like the Dueling Grounds Oaks, the Dueling Grounds Derby drew a field of twelve; also like the Oaks, none of these colts have run this far before, and most of the entrants seem unlikely to thrive on the yielding turf. One who will, we think, is 12-Ready to Purrform, who we’d probably like a little bit on firm ground, but who we move up in a big way in boggy conditions. He’s by Kitten’s Joy, who died recently, but who in the last two decades sired innumerable turf runners, and who seemed to transmit to his progeny an ability to get over wet grass. We think that Ready to Purrform will be running strongly in the latter stages of this race, while the rest of the field is gasping for air, and we will consequently bet him to win at 3-1 odds. The bet: Kentucky Downs, Race 10, $40 to win on 12-Ready to Purrform.

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

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