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Garrity's Saturday Stakes picks races at Woodbine, Churchill Downs, Belmont, Monmouth Park, and Santa Anita

Garrity's first post is 4:16 pm EDT.

The first Saturday of June finds a mixed bag of stakes races on the national simulcasting calendar: we have turf and dirt races, for Thoroughbreds of all ages, from New York to New Jersey to Toronto to Kentucky to California. That’s five races in total, and we expect fast dirt and firm turf, except as noted below. Let’s go.

Woodbine, Race 7, 4:16 pm ET
Grade 2 Royal North Stakes, 6 ½ furlongs, Turf, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up

The Royal North drew a field of eleven older female turf sprinters. It’s a good field, and a very good betting race. The pick is 5-Demodog, a 5-year-old mare with just five career starts, all of them on turf and all at a distance of a mile or more. She has been mostly ineffective in those longer races, but we think she will do much better as a one-run closing sprinter. That makes her very live here, and makes her 10-1 morning line number too good to pass up. We will bet her to win. The bet: Woodbine, Race 7, $40 to win on 5-Demodog.

Churchill Downs, Race 9, 4:55 pm ET

Grade 3 Arlington Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, 4 & Up

Seven go in the Arlington. We can’t get past favored 7-Set Piece, who has been facing tougher, and who should get an ideal trip, sitting well behind what we expect to be swift early fractions, biding his time until the pacesetters tire, and then unleashing the best stretch run in the field. It’s been a while since this 7-year-old gelding has won, but we think he breaks the drought today, and will bet him to win at 8/5. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 9, $40 to win on 7-Set Piece.

Belmont Park, Race 9, 5:12 pm ET

Grade 2 Pennine Ridge Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, 3-Year-Olds

Eight 3-year-olds line up to run nine furlongs on Belmont’s turf in the Pennine Ridge, which we are expecting to have some give to it after overnight rains. That kind of going will be absolutely ideal for 4-Silver Knott, a Godolphin/Charlie Appleby colt whose only bad start, in six career tries, was in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket last month, when he struggled on the soft and boggy ground. He’ll find the Belmont sod this afternoon much more to his liking, which means the rest of the field is running for second money, because he is the most talented horse in the race. We will bet him to win at 2-1. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 9, $50 to win on 5-Silver Knott.

Monmouth Park, Race 11, 5:18 pm ET
$100,000 Jersey Derby, 1 mile, Turf, 3-Year-Olds

The hot favorite, among the ten sophomore colts entered in the Jersey Derby, is 3-Talk of the Nation, who comes off two consecutive wins at Tampa Bay Downs, the last a minor stakes. He will be a short price, probably around even money, but we think he is vulnerable, and prefer 5-Activist Investing, who has yet to run a truly fast race, but seems to be improving rapidly. While that by itself might be reason enough to back him at the windows, we also think he will benefit from the race shape: we see a fast pace, which will favor his closing running style. We bet Activist Investing to win at 6-1. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 11, $40 to win on 5-Activist Investing.

Santa Anita Park, Race 8, 7:44 pm ET
Grade 2 Summertime Oaks, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies

A field of seven will go to the gate for the Summertime Oaks. We like 2-Window Shopping, who was no match for the winner in the Santa Anita Oaks, but whose effort that day was way, way better than it looks on paper, as she had tremendous traffic trouble during the race, getting absolutely slammed while she was making a good-looking move on the backstretch. It would have been understandable if she’d simply quit after that, so it is very much to her credit that she re-rallied to finish a very creditable third. She should get a cleaner trip today, which makes her the one to beat, and at 5-1, the one to back at the windows. We will bet her to win. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 8, $50 to win on 2-Window Shopping.

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

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