Garrity's Thanksgiving Stakes: Race picks for Churchill Downs, Del Mar and Fair Grounds

Garrity's first post is 3:53 pm EST.
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Happy Thanksgiving to all.

This turkey-filled weekend is a big one in racing, the last hurrah of fall before the sport goes into Deep Winter mode. And the fun starts today, with four good stakes races from Churchill Downs, the Fair Grounds, and Del Mar. We expect fast dirt and firm turf for all races, so let’s see if we can sneak in a flutter or two in between giblets and drumsticks, and let’s go.

Churchill Downs, Race 10, 3:53 pm ET
Grade 3 Falls City Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, Fillies & Mares, 3 & Up

Six go in the Falls City. We like 3-Moon Swag, who will make her second start off a long layoff in this spot. Her last start, a win in an October 28 allowance at Keeneland, was her first in over a year, and that should have her fresh today, which is important, we think, as the other five contenders have had long campaigns this year, and come off efforts that suggest they might be tired, and ready for a winter freshening. Look for Moon Swag to be mid-pack early, and to blow ‘em away late; we will bet her to win at 5-1. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 10, $40 to win on 3-Moon Swag.

Churchill Downs, Race 11, 4:22 pm ET

Grade 3 Cardinal Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

A field of ten females lines up for the Cardinal. We think the race sets up to be a speed duel, as the two favorites, 6-Adventuring and 5-Dalika, both like to set the pace, and we think that the pair will produce rapid early fractions trying to establish early superiority. That should set the table for a closer, and the one we fancy is 1-Pass the Plate, who has the best finishing kick in the field. Pass the Plate might be last early, but she should be flying late; she also has the most apt name for Thanksgiving of any horse running today. We will bet her to win at 8-1. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 11, $40 to win on 1-Pass the Plate.

Del Mar, Race 6, 4:29 pm ET

Grade 3 Red Carpet Stakes, 1 ⅜ miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

The Red Carpet drew a field of nine fillies and mares. With the locally-based runners looking weak, the stage should be set for a fresh face to take the prize, and we think it will be 5-Bellstreet Bridie, who makes her North American debut after a 12-race career in England. She did not run at the highest level on the other side of the pond, running at second-tier tracks like Yarmouth and Southwell, but she did do well there, and we give her the nod partly for that, but mostly because she should thrive over the firm going she will get today. We will bet her to win at 4-1. The bet: Del Mar, Race 6, $40 to win on 5-Bellstreet Bridie.

Fair Grounds, Race 8, 4:30 pm ET

$175,000 Thanksgiving Classic, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up

Seven sprinters line up for the Thanksgiving Classic at the Fair Grounds. We like 1-Heart Rhythm, who comes off a very fast win in an allowance race at Keeneland on October 19. He should get a good stalking trip from his rail post, sitting a couple of lengths behind the early leaders, and from that tactically advantageous spot seize control of the race late. We will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Fair Grounds, Race 8, $40 to win on 1-Heart Rhythm.

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

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