Turf racing at Woodbine in Toronto.
Turf racing at Woodbine in Toronto.woodbine.com

Garrity's Friday Dad's Hat Happy Hour Handicapping picks races at Delaware Park, Gulfstream, Woodbine, Pimlico

First post 4 pm EDT. Last post 5 pm. Let it Rye-d.

The absence of racing at venerable old Saratoga, which on Monday ran their last races until next year, leaves a pretty big hole in the simulcasting calendar. But for our regular Friday installment of Dad’s Hat Happy Hour Handicapping, we have still managed to put together plays in five races at four tracks, all in a cocktail-friendly window of about an hour’s time. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them, so pour yourself a glass of one of the delicious libations from our friends at Dad’s Hat, and let’s go.

Delaware Park, Race 8, 4:00 pm ET

$8,000 Claiming, 1 Mile 70 Yards, Dirt, 3 & Up

A half-dozen hard-knocking claimers go in the 8th at Delaware Park. In claiming races at this level, there are typically two kinds of horses from which a handicapper can choose: horses who ran well in cheaper races, and are moving up; and horses who have faltered against stiffer competition, and are dropping down. We like a gelding who fits the former category: it’s 1-Unidentified Man, who was claimed out of his last start for $5,000, a race in which he finished a good second. It is a positive sign that new trainer Jose Rodriguez jumps him in class for his first start in a new barn, and we also like the inside post, which should virtually Unidentified Man a good, ground-saving trip. We will bet him to win at 6-1. The bet: Delaware Park, Race 8, $35 to win on 1-Unidentified Man.

Gulfstream Park, Race 8, 4:11 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 1 Mile 70 Yards, Synthetic, 3 & Up

Eight synthetic specialists go in the 8th in South Florida. We like 6-Sigrun Fast Boy, a closer who, in each of his last two starts, had the misfortune of trying to close into very, very slow early fractions that favored the front-runners and muted his stretch-running style. He should get a better trip from a pace standpoint today, which makes him a major threat to win, and at 6-1, a terrific play. We will bet him to win. The bet: Gulfstream Park, Race 8, $35 to win on 6-Sigrun Fast Boy.

Pimlico, Race 8, 4:27 pm ET

Allowance, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, Maryland-breds 3 & Up

The favorite of the seven state-breds who line up for this conditioned allowance at Pimlico is 3-Dream Big Dreams, who is 7/5 on the morning line almost entirely because of work he did last year, when was pretty good at this level. But that was a long time ago, with his last good race coming ten months ago, and his most recent start, which was on August 5, when he lost in a similar spot as the favorite, does not convince us that he is all the way back (and the fact that he was gelded since that race is a sign to us that his human connections think there is something about him that needs to be fixed as well). At a short price, he’s a play against.

We like 1-Welling. He is an admirably consistent sort, and we think his typical effort will be good enough to win here. And at 3-1, he’s a much better wager than the chalk. We will bet Welling to win. The bet: Pimlico, Race 8, $40 to win on 1-Welling.

Woodbine, Race 7, 4:20 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, 3 & Up

A half-dozen line up for this turf allowance north of the border. The pick is 2-Hadassah, who comes off a very good third in the Grade 2 King Edward Stakes at Woodbine on August 21. This is a talented 4-year-old colt, which is nice; what is even better is that he has some speed, and therefore tactical versatility, and can press the pace, or even set the pace, if the situation calls for that. And what is probably nicest of all is that the rest of this group looks weak. We will bet Hadassah to win at 9/5. The bet: Woodbine, Race 7, $50 to win on 2-Hadassah.

Pimlico, Race 9, 5:00 pm ET
Starter Allowance/Optional Claiming, 5 furlongs, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

Seven older fillies and mares go in the nightcap at Old Hilltop. 5-Hello Gracie is a strong play: she comes off two very good races against much tougher competition, and should get an excellent stalking trip from her outside post position. Look for her to be flying late; we will bet her to win at 3-1. The bet: Pimlico, Race 9, $40 to win on 5-Hello Gracie.

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

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