Boston Post Road is Garrity's pick in the Pumpkin Pie.
Boston Post Road is Garrity's pick in the Pumpkin Pie.NYRA

Garrity's Saturday Stakes picks races at Keeneland, Belmont at Aqueduct & Santa Anita, with the Pumpkin Pie

Garrity's first post is at 3:40 pm EDT.

The attention of most handicappers, and most horse racing fans, is on the Breeders Cup, which is now less than a week away, but there are a surprising number of good stakes races on the docket for the last Saturday in October. We have identified five of them, a pair each from Aqueduct and Keeneland and one at Santa Anita, that are worth playing. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all races; let’s go.

Keeneland, Race 6, 3:40 pm ET
$200,000 Bowman Mill Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 2-Year-Olds

A septet of juvenile colts lines up for the Bowman Mill. The pick is 2-Sir Lancelot, who has shown abundant speed in his two career starts, both of which he won, but who we see here stalking, sitting just off what should be wickedly fast early fractions, and moving to the front when the pacesetters throw in the towel. We don’t think we’d bet ten cents on him at a longer distance, but at 6 furlongs, he looks real good. We will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Keeneland, Race 6, $40 to win on 2-Sir Lancelot.

Aqueduct, Race 8, 4:22 pm ET

$120,000 Pumpkin Pie Stakes, 7 furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

Seven go in the Pumpkin Pie, but we have eyes for just one: 2-Boston Post Road, a lightly raced 4-year-old filly who comes off a close second in an allowance race at Saratoga on Sept. 4. She earned a good speed figure that day, and while that is nice, we think she ran even better than the raw figure might indicate, as she made up ground despite a racing surface, and a race shape, that favored speed, and played against her. That was a big effort, and we think in this spot, under fairer conditions, she is going to take a big step forward. That makes her strictly the one to beat, and a good play, even at relatively short 9/5 odds. Look for her to sit behind the leaders early, and to blow the race open with a big move around the far turn and into the stretch. We will bet her to win. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 8, $50 to win on 2-Boston Post Road.

Keeneland, Race 8, 4:44 pm ET

Grade 3 Bryan Station Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 3-Year-Olds

A dozen 3-year-old turf milers line up for the Bryan Station. We like 7-Double Clutch, who did some good work earlier this year, but whose last race was awful: He found himself on the lead in the Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs, a position for which he is so ill-suited that it is no surprise that he faded late to finish a well-beaten eighth. It was a weirdly run race, as so many at Kentucky Downs are, and we think it was an aberration; we are simply drawing a line through it. On the form he showed before that, Double Clutch is a contender, especially since the race shape here figures to favor his sit-back-and-rally-late running style, and that makes his 10-1 morning line number too good to pass up. We will bet him to win. The bet: Keeneland, Race 8, $40 to win on 7-Double Clutch.

Aqueduct, Race 9, 4:54 pm ET

Grade 3 Bold Ruler Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up

Sprinters take the stage in the Bold Ruler, a race named for a long-gone Thoroughbred whose main claim to fame was siring Secretariat, but who was a pretty good racehorse himself, winning a gaggle of stakes, including the 1957 Preakness. While it is highly unlikely that any of the ten entrants will be remembered fifty years from now, they are an evenly matched group, and that makes it a good betting race.

We like 8-Runninsonofagun. He’s a 3-year-old taking on elders, and while that is reason enough to give him serious consideration, as most of the older horses in this field appear to have seen better days, we also like the way he ran in his last race, when he finsihed gamely after being pretty close to a very fast early pace in the Gallant Bob at Parx on Sept. 24. His best races have been when he can stalk the pace, and that is what we see Runninsonofagun doing here, with an assist from his tactically advantageous outside post position. We will bet him to win at 9/2. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 9, $40 to win on 8-Runninsonofagun.

Santa Anita, Race 7, 7:06 pm ET

Grade 2 Twilight Derby, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, 3-Year-Olds

The Twilight Derby at Santa Anita features sophomore colts running nine furlongs on the sod. We will admit to a bit of bias here: We think so little of the turf horses out West that the first thing we do when handicapping a stakes race on the grass at Santa Anita is look for a shipper, a horse from the East who is looking to come in and pick up a stakes win. We think we’ve found one here, in the form of 8-Speaking Scout, who has had a peripatetic season for trainer Graham Motion, running at six different tracks since April, but who has been facing tougher horses than those who will line up against him here, and who also comes off a good win in a minor stakes race at Hawthorne in suburban Chicago. That might seem a bit light in terms of credentials needed to win a Grade 2 race, but we think it will be enough to best the eight locally-based colts who line up against him. We will bet Speaking Scout to win at 3-1. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 7, $40 to win on 8-Speaking Scout.

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

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