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Garrity's Saturday Stakes Picks: The Pegasus, Eatontown, & Salvator Mile at Monmouth, plus Belmont, Ellis Park

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

The best card in the country on this fine early summer Saturday is at Monmouth Park in New Jersey, where it’s Haskell preview day. We have picks in three races there, plus one at Belmont Park in New York and one at Ellis Park in Kentucky. That’s a five-pack of Saturday stakes action; we expect fast dirt and firm for all five, so let’s go.

Monmouth Park, Race 10, 4:44 pm ET
$150,000 Pegasus Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds

The Pegasus came up a strong race, with a deep field of eight 3-year-olds going to the post. The favorite is a deserving one: 8-Kingsbarns, who won the Louisiana Derby in April, which earned him a start in the Kentucky Derby, where he contested a suicidally early fast pace for three-quarters of a mile, after which he was thoroughly cooked, fading badly to finish 14th in the field of 18. If he runs back the form he showed this spring in Louisiana, he will win here, but we think that far from certain, as the race that he ran in Louisville is the kind of effort that can be so taxing that a young horse can take a long, long time to recover from it. We think it is highly likely that Kingsbarns runs poorly again, which makes taking a short price on him a thoroughly unappealing proposition.

We like 6-Subrogate. He’s run twice, finishing second in his career debut, and winning a maiden race in his last start; we like the fact that he has speed, and that his pedigree (he’s by Arrogate, the sire of Belmont Stakes winner Arcangelo) suggests that Subrogate will be at his best at middle distances like the 8½ furlongs here. We will bet him to win at 5-1. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 10, $40 to win on 6-Subrogate.

Monmouth Park, Race 11, 5:12 pm ET
Grade 3 Eatontown Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

The Eatontown drew eight older females. It’s a strong group, with logical contenders from the powerhouse barns of Shug McGaughey, Todd Pletcher, and Chad Brown entered. It’s another runner, though, that has caught our eye: 6-Malavath, who was quite competitive against some of the toughest turf horses in the world last year, finishing a close fourth in the Prix Rothschild at Deauville in August, second in the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp in October, and fifth running against males in the Breeders Cup Mile last November.

Those are some pretty glittery credentials, but Malavath ran one of the most inexplicably bad races in recent memory in her last start, when she finished dead last, at 1/2 odds, in a minor stakes at Aqueduct in April. We see no reason for that poor effort, but we find it very difficult to imagine that she is going to run that badly again: she’s just too good. We think that she rebounds in the Eatontown, and makes her an excellent play at 4-1 odds. We will bet her to win. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 11, $50 to win on 6-Malavath.

Belmont Park, Race 9, 5:19 pm ET

Grade 2 Bed o’ Roses Stakes, 7 furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up

Five go in the Bed o’ Roses. We normally dislike playing a race with a field this small, but we are making an exception here, and are doing so because of 2-Beguine. This 4-year-old daughter of Gun Runner is a straight-down-the-line speed play: she is a mortal lock to get the early lead, and while we would probably be inclined to think she’d get caught running against a larger field, we think she is going to run away and hide from her four rivals here. That makes her 8-1 morning line number too good to pass up; we will bet her to win, and the first person to make a reference to “Begin the Beguine” wins the Degenerate Lottery: you get a dollar a year for a million years. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 9, $40 to win on 2-Beguine.

Monmouth Park, Race 12, 5:40 pm ET

Grade 3 Salvator Mile, 1 mile, Dirt, 3 & Up

The Salvator Mile is a corker of a race, with a terrific field of ten entered. The prevalence of one-dimensional early-speed types should produce swift early fractions, and a race shape that should play right into the wheelhouse of 10-Bourbonic, who will be flying down the stretch. His last couple of races were pretty bad, but one was on turf and another on a sloppy track, neither of which he particularly likes. He looks poised to run much better here, and to do so at a generous price of 10-1. We will bet him to win. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 12, $40 to win on 10-Bourbonic.

Ellis Park, Race 9, 5:40 pm ET

$175,000 Chorleywood Overnight Stakes, 1 ¼ miles, Turf, 3 & Up

A field of nine lines up for the Chorleywood Stakes. The pick is 8-Media Blitz, who comes off a fourth-place effort in an allowance race in his last start, when he took the lead at the top of the stretch, but was passed late, finishing a close fourth. Considering that was his first start in over a year, we think it was a good effort, and he should be better today, reverting to the form he showed last year, when he was pretty good in some pretty tough stakes races in South Florida. Look for him to be midpack early, and rolling late. We will bet him to win at 8-1. The bet: Ellis Park, Race 9, $40 to win on 8-Media Blitz

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

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