Balthus is Garrity's pick in the Sycamore at Keeneland.
Balthus is Garrity's pick in the Sycamore at Keeneland.NYRA

Garrity's Friday Dad's Hat Happy Hour Handicapping picks Keeneland, Aqueduct, Woodbine – Sycamore, Glen Cove

First post is 4:12 pm EDT. Last post is 5:12 pm. Let it Rye-d.

If it’s Friday, it’s time for another installment of Dad’s Hat Happy Hour Handicapping. We have five plays today, three of them at Keeneland, and one apiece at Aqueduct and Woodbine. So pour yourself a glass of one of the ryes from our friends at Dad’s Hat, and let’s go.

Keeneland, Race 7, 4:12 pm ET

Maiden Special Weight, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, 2-Year-Old Fillies

A dozen juvenile fillies line up for this maiden race in Lexington, which will be run on a good turf course. We like 10-American Odalisque, who should be a big price, as she’s run once, at Churchill Downs, and didn’t do much that day, finishing twenty lengths behind the winner. We think that effort was not a true indication of her ability, as it was on dirt, and her pedigree suggests that grass is where she belongs. Her recent morning works have been terrific, which we think is a hint that she’s sitting on a big race. We will bet her to win at 30-1. The bet: Keeneland, Race 7, $35 to win on 10-American Odalisque.

Aqueduct, Race 8, 4:22 pm ET
$120,000 Glen Cove Stakes, 6 furlongs, Turf, 3-Year-Old Fillies

Ten 3-year-old fillies go in a terrific renewal of the Glen Cove, which will be run on a turf course that was rated soft on Friday morning, and should have a good bit of give to it.

We like – no, make that love – 8-Zelda, who makes her North American debut for trainer Christophe Clement after seven career starts in her native France. When assessing European imports, the level at which they were racing is a key factor, and Zelda passes that test with flying colors, as she was running at major French tracks like Longchamp and Chantilly. We think she outclasses the rest of this field, and when you can get the best horse in a race at 4-1, you go to the windows. We will bet her to win. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 8, $40 to win on 8-Zelda.

Woodbine, Race 7, 4:36 pm ET
$100,000 Frost King Stakes, 6 ½ furlongs, Synthetic, Ontario-bred 2-Year-Olds

Seven juvenile colts bred north of the border line up for the Frost King. We’re against favored 6-Poulin in O T, who earned a very good speed figure winning the Bull Page Stakes in his last start, but we think that figure was inflated by the marshmallow-soft trip he got that day, running loose on a very easy lead. We think he will have a much more difficult go of it this afternoon, which makes him, at even money, a mammoth underlay.

We like 1-Silent Fortune. Like the favorite, he also comes out of the Bull Page, but in that race, he had a terrible trip, finding himself well back early after getting bumped at the start. His chances ended a few jumps out of the gate, but we think today he will be luckier, as a swift early pace will play right into his stretch-running style. Look for Silent Fortune to be moving late; we will bet him to win at 6-1. The bet: Woodbine, Race 8, $40 to win on 1-Silent Fortune.

Keeneland, Race 8, 4:44 pm ET

Allowance, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up

This first-level allowance at Keeneland drew a field of twelve. It’s a wide open race, a real handicapper’s delight, and we think we’ve found a good play at a good number with 10-American Icon. He did a speed-and-fade in a similar spot a month ago, but that was his first start in over five months, and it was at a longer distance, a mile, than the 6 furlongs he will try today. We like the cutback; this is a good colt who looks poised to run big, and at 12-1, he is an attractive play. We will bet him to win. The bet: Keeneland, Race 8, $35 to win on 10-American Icon.

Keeneland, Race 9, 5:12 pm ET
Grade 3 Sycamore Stakes, 1 ½ miles, Turf, 3 & Up

The Sycamore drew a dozen runners. It’s an interesting race to look at, as several of them were quite good at one point, but appear to be on the downside of their career. Any one of the trio of 1-Arklow, 2-Red Knight, or 6-Channel Maker would have been a prohibitive favorite against this field in their younger days, and it would not be a shock if one of them won this with a turn-back-the-clock performance this afternoon. But while they all have back class, they are hard to back based on their recent form.

We like a horse who appears to be ascending, rather than descending: it’s 1-Balthus, an Irish-bred with an impeccable European turf pedigree. He has just six career starts as a 4-year-old, and while he’s yet to run in a stakes race, he has won his last three starts, and it looks to us that just might be a late bloomer, and is rounding into form. While he will have to improve to win the Sycamore, as none of his recent efforts have been good enough to beat a field of this quality, he does not need to do so dramatically: a modest move forward off his last race makes him a serious contender. We think he makes the leap today, and at 12-1, that makes him an excellent wager. We will bet him to win. The bet: Keeneland, Race 9, $40 to win on 1-Balthus.

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

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