Garrity's Saturday Stakes picks Monmouth Park and 3 graded stakes at Kentucky Downs, with the Mint Million

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With racing in New York dark until Thursday, and California racing dealing with highly unusual September rains, we are turning to New Jersey and Kentucky for our plays on this late summer Saturday. We have selections in four races, all on turf, one at Monmouth Park, where the turf will be firm, and three at Kentucky Downs, where the turf should be good. Let’s go.

Monmouth Park, Race 9, 4:12 pm ET
$100,000 Presious Passion Stakes, 1 ½ miles, Turf, 3 & Up

Looking at the form of the nine older horses entered in the 12-furlong Presious Passion, one entrant sticks out: it’s 7-L’Imperator, a Chad Brown runner whose last three starts were all in graded stakes races, one of which, the Grade 2 Fort Marcy at Belmont Park in May, he won.

Do you know why a legitimate graded stakes horse from the nation’s preeminent turf barn, a horse who would be a solid contender in a Grade 1 race anywhere in the country, is entered in this minor-league race at Monmouth Park? Because we don’t, and the curious nature of his presence here is enough to give us concern about his chances, especially since he’s going to be 1/5. If he runs his race today, L’Imperator will win, perhaps by the length of the stretch, but we think he’s a vulnerable favorite, and we are playing against him.

We like 9-Royne. He finished a close fourth in his last start, the Colonial Cup at Colonial Downs in Virginia, and we think that was a good race, and and a good result. If the favorite falters, we think Royne can take advantage, and can do so at a very nice price of 5-1. We will bet him to win. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 9, $40 to win on 9-Royne.

Kentucky Downs, Race 8, 4:30 pm ET

Grade 3 Mint Million Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 3 & Up

Ten go in the Mint Million. We like 3-Field Pass, a 5-year-old whose last race, a speed-and-fade in the Grade 1 Arlington Million at Churchill Downs on August 13, was not great, but who was knocking on the door before that, with a series of close, non-winning finishes going back to the spring. We think Field Pass finally breaks through today, and does so at very attractive 8-1 odds. We will bet him to win. The bet: Kentucky Downs, Race 8, $40 to win on 3-Field Pass.

Kentucky Downs, Race 10, 5:45 pm ET

Grade 2 Kentucky Turf Cup, 1 ½ miles, Turf, 3 & Up

A dozen older horses line up for the Kentucky Turf Cup. It’s the kind of race that seems ripe for an upset, so the pick is 6-Glynn County, who is not exactly a win machine, with just four victories in 24 lifetime starts, but who has a puncher’s chance here, we think, as he has been running against tougher horses for most of the summer, and could just be sitting on a big race. It helps that he has shown an affinity in the past for the kind of ground he will get today, and it also helps that he is trained by Mike Maker, who has been hot at Kentucky Downs. At 30-1, we think Glynn County merits a play. We will bet him to win. The bet: Kentucky Downs, Race 10, $35 to win on 6-Glynn County.

Kentucky Downs, Race 11, 6:20 pm ET

Grade 3 Mint Ladies Sprint, 6 ½ furlongs, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

The headliner among the twelve entered in the Ladies Sprint is 10-Campanelle, who figures to be odds-on after running a very, very good third in the the Group 1 Platinum Jubilee Stakes at the Royal Ascot meeting in June. That race is one of the premier turf sprints in the world, and that she finished within a length of the winner shows that Campanelle is exceptionally good.

So what does a handicapper do when faced with a filly with that kind of class? Bet against her, of course – while Campanelle might be the most likely winner here, we think she is an awful wagering proposition, as her odds will be significantly lower than her chances of actually winning the race. That’s an underlay, and one of the very few hard and fast rules in this game is that one always must bet against the underlays.

We like 3-Jouster. The early pace should be swift, and we think that will favor closers, and Jouster looks the best of the late runners. We also think this distance will be a big asset for him: he’s a talented colt, but it has seemed in the recent past that a mile might be a bit too far for him, and 5 and 5 ½ furlong sprints a bit too short. This 6 ½ furlong distance, which actually plays a bit longer because of the way the course is configured at Kentucky Downs, should be right in his wheelhouse. Look for him to be well back early, and flying late; we will bet him to win. The bet: Kentucky Downs, Race 11, $50 to win on 3-Jouster.

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

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