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Garrity's Saturday Stakes Picks 3 at Keeneland with the Lexington, Jenny Wiley, plus Laurel Park and Oaklawn

Garrity's first post is 4:44 pm EDT.

There’s some pretty good action on the simulcast calendar on this fine spring Saturday, and we have plays in five races, all stakes, from Maryland to Kentucky to Arkansas. We’re still three weeks away from the biggest race of the year, but these will more than tide us over while we wait for the first Saturday in May. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all races; let’s go.

Keeneland, Race 8, 4:44 pm ET

$250,000 Giant’s Causeway Stakes, 5 ½ furlongs, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

A dozen filly and mare turf sprinters line up for the Giant’s Causeway. The crowded field should produce swift early fractions, so we are looking for a runner who can sit just behind it, and, as the old saying goes, finish up strong.

We think that will be 5-Amy C, who ships to Keeneland from Southern California. Her last two starts, both of which were down the hillside turf course at Santa Anita, were wins, and both were excellent; what we like about the way Amy C ran in those is that she has enough speed to stay reasonably close to the early leaders, but also seals the deal with a powerful late kick. We will bet her to win at 6-1. The bet: Keeneland, Race 8, $40 to win on 5-Amy C.

Laurel Park, Race 10, 5:01 pm ET

$125,000 Federico Tesio Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds

The 2023 renewal of the Tesio, which has historically been used as a prep for the Preakness, drew a field of nine. We like 5-Ninetyprcentmaddie, who comes off an impressive wire-to-wire win in an allowance at Parx Racing. She went wire-to-wire that day, and we see a similar outcome today, especially since she runs on a Laurel track that historically has played much more favorable to speed than the deeper, more tiring dirt at Parx. And it doesn’t hurt that she is trained by Butch Reid, one of the sharpest conditioners around, who is always dangerous when he ships a horse to run in a stakes race. We will bet Ninetyprcentmaddie to win at 4-1 odds. The bet: Laurel Park, Race 10, $40 to win on Ninetyprcentmaddie.

Keeneland, Race 9, 5:16 pm ET

Grade 3 Lexington Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds

This is the last chance saloon for 3-year-old colts looking to get into the Run for the Roses: it’s the last race offering qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby. Expect to see the winner, and perhaps one other runner, in the starting gate in Louisville in three weeks.

We like 8-Empirestrikesfast. He’s only run once, when he won his debut at Gulfstream Park on March 11, but it was a doozy, as he earned a big speed figure at this mile and a sixteenth distance. He probably does not have enough experience to be a serious Derby contender, but he looks to possess enough natural talent to prevail here. We will bet him to win at 4-1. The bet: Keeneland, Race 9, $40 to win on 8-Empirestrikesfast.

Keeneland, Race 10, 5:48 pm ET

Grade 1 Jenny Wiley Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up

A field of nine female turf runners lines up for the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley. The morning lines have been pretty awful the past week or so at Keeneland, and we think this race will be an example, as the morning line choice is 2-In Italian, and the second choice is 5-With the Moonlight; they are 7/5 and 5/2, respectively. We think their odds when the gates open will likely be reversed, but With the Moonlight looks so overwhelmingly superior that we are comfortable taking a short price on her. Her connections, the powerful Godolphin/Charlie Appleby team, missed yesterday, when heavy favorite Modern Games finished second in the Makers Mark Mile; we think they’ll not miss today, as With the Moonlight, who won two stakes races at Meydan in Dubai over the winter, seems to outclass the rest of this group. Look for her to sit mid-pack early, and be flying late; we will bet her to win. The bet: Keeneland, Race 10, $50 to win on 5-With the Moonlight.

Oaklawn Park, Race 9, 5:58 pm ET

Grade 3 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 4 & Up

A salty group of ten older sprinters goes to the post for the Count Fleet. The pick is 10-Strobe, a lightly raced 4-year-old who makes his stakes debut in this spot. He comes off two consecutive allowance wins, which is good; what is even better is that he drew the outside post, a pretty significant tactical advantage, which should allow him to sit just behind, and outside, what should be a pretty good speed duel during the race’s early stages. Once the pacesetters run themselves into submission, we see 10-Strobe taking over, moving to the front at the top of the stretch, and holding off the closers late. We will bet him to win at 7/2. The bet: Oaklawn Park, Race 9, $40 to win on 10-Strobe.

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

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