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Garrity's Sunday Stakes Picks: Monmouth's Smart N Classy, Churchill Downs' Mint Julep, Santa Anita's Affirmed

Garrity's first post is 4:55 pm EDT.

We have three plays on this gorgeous summer Sunday: one each in New Jersey, Kentucky, and California. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all three; let’s go.

Monmouth Park, Race 9, 4:55 pm ET
$85,000 Smart N Classy Handicap, 1 mile, Dirt, New Jersey-bred Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

The Smart N Classy drew a field of ten fillies and mares bred in the Garden State. Nine of them are 4 or older, but we especially like the presence of the lone 3-year old filly in the group, 10-Girl Trouble. We like that she is running here, not because we like her to win, but because her presence – she has earned good speed figures, but her outside draw, combined with the fact that she was assigned high weight, and will carry 124 pounds – means she has virtually zero chance to win, and that will get us a good price on a runner with a better chance.

The pick is 8-Beach Daze. This 4-year-old filly has had seconditis of late, finishing as the runner-up in each of her last four starts, and while we normally play against these kinds of animals, we think the stars are going to align for her today, as she’s a strong finisher in a race where the early pace should be fast, and which will consequently favor her. We will bet her to win at 3-1. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 9, $40 to win on 8-Beach Daze.

Churchill Downs, Race 9, 4:55 pm ET
Grade 3 Old Forester Mint Julep Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up

Eight go in the Mint Julep. We’re all in on 8-White Frost, who comes off a very good third-place effort against tougher in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland on April 15. We like that she is in good form, but what we like even more is her tactical versatility: if the early pace is fast, she can sit back and make a big late run; if the early pace is slow, she can press the pace, running closer to the early leaders. Either way, we see White Frost getting her picture taken today, and will bet her to win at 2-1. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 9, $40 to win on 8-White Frost.

Santa Anita Park, Race 8, 7:44 pm ET

$100,000 Affirmed Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds

Six were entered in the Affirmed, but the defection of Skinner, one of the better 3-year-olds in Southern California, who was declared out of the race by trainer John Shirreffs yesterday, reduces the field to five. The pick is 6-Geaux Rocket Ride, who looks clearly the best of the group, with his most recent race, a runner-up finish in the San Felipe, looking even better by the fact that the colt he finished behind that day, Practical Move, went on to win the Santa Anita Derby, and would have been one of the top betting choices in the Kentucky Derby had he not been scratched from the race. Geaux Rocket Ride should get a perfect stalking trip from his outside post position, tracking the leaders early, and running away late. He will not make anyone rich, but we think there is value in every winner, and will consequently bet him to win at 8/5. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 8, $50 to win on 6-Geaux Rocket Ride.

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

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