Garrity's Friday Dad's Hat Happy Hour Handicapping picks races at Aqueduct, Fair Grounds, Oaklawn, Santa Anita
If it’s Friday, it’s time for another installment of Dad’s Hat Happy Hour Handicapping. Today we have plays in five races, in New York, Louisiana, Arkansas, and California, all of which will be run in a bit under an hour’s time.
We expect fast dirt and firm turf for all races, so pour yourself a couple of fingers of one of the delectable rye whiskeys from our friends at Dad’s Hat, settle into your favorite easy chair, and let’s go.
Aqueduct, Race 7, 4:28 pm ET
Allowance, 1 mile, Dirt, New York-breds 4 & Up
The 7th at the Big A is a mile allowance for state-breds. It drew a field of nine. The question is whether any of them can beat morning line favorite 7-Bobby Bo, and the answer, we think, is no: the 5-year-old gelding looks to us like a clear standout, with the only question whether he can handle coming off a long layoff, as he last raced in August of 2021. That’s a long time, but his recent works have been sizzlingly fast, which we think is a sign that he is going to romp. We will not overcomplicate this; we will bet the best horse to win at 8/5. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 7, $50 to win on 7-Bobby Bo.
Fair Grounds, Race 6, 4:45 pm ET
Starter Allowance, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 4 & Up
This starter allowance, which drew seven runners, is for horses 4 and older who have run for a claiming price of $20,000 or less the last two years. We mention that because 5-First Glimpse, a 4-year-old gelding who is the pick, barely qualifies – he ran for a $15,000 tag way back in November of 2021, and has been running, and running quite well, at higher levels since then. Trainer Keith Bourgeois claimed him for $35,000 out of his last start, and it is a very positive sign that he starts him here, where he cannot be claimed – it looks like Bourgeois thinks he has a good one, and does not want to lose him. Another positive is that First Glimpse finished second in that race, when he finished second against tougher competition than he will face today. We will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Fair Grounds, Race 6, $40 to win on 5-First Glimpse.
Oaklawn Park, Race 7, 4:50 pm ET
$20,000 Claiming, 6 furlongs, Dirt, FIllies & Mares 3 & Up
Ten line up for this claiming affair in Hot Springs. We are taking a shot with 8-Berry Good, who returns from a layoff in this spot, making her first start in over a year, but who was competitive at the allowance level before her long vacation. Look for her to stalk the pace early, and win with a big move as the field turns into the home straight. We will bet her to win at 10-1. The bet: Oaklawn Park, Race 7, $40 to win on 8-Berry Good.
Santa Anita Park, Race 4, 5:05 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, California-bred Fillies & Mares 4 & Up
A field of nine older females, bred in the Golden State, lines up for this first-level allowance at nine furlongs on turf. Eight of them have at least one career win; the pick, naturally, is the one who does not: It’s 4-American Conquest, who is a maiden after three career starts. We think that trainer Peter Miller, in running her here, rather than in a maiden race, is trying to pull one over on the rest of the field, and on the betting public; it looks to us like Miller, whose Machiavellian ways are well-known to even casual railbirds, has enough of a chance to pull it off that we will bet American Conquest at 12-1 odds. We will bet her to win. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 4, $35 to win on 4-American Conquest.
Fair Grounds, Race 7, 5:15 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 1 mile, Turf, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up
This mile turf allowance for older females drew eight entrants. The pick is 2-Postnup, who makes her first start since April in this spot. She has some back class, which is nice; what is even nicer is that she has some speed, which will give her a tactical advantage in a race whose pace should be moderate or even slow. And the cherry on top is her trainer, Cherie DeVaux, who wins at a robust 21% clip with horses starting after layoffs of between six and twelve months. We will bet Postnup to win at 3-1. The bet: Fair Grounds, Race 7, $40 to win on 2-Postnup.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.