Garrity's Sunday Stakes picks Belmont, Monmouth Park, Santa Anita, with the San Juan Capistrano at 1 3/4 miles
It’s a bicoastal lineup for the last Sunday in astronomical spring: We have races in New York and New Jersey in the East, and a race in Southern California out West. They’re all on turf; the courses at Belmont, Monmouth and Santa Anita Park will be firm; Let’s go.
Belmont Park, Race 8, 4:48 pm ET
$150,000 New York Stallion Stakes, 7 furlongs, Turf, New York-bred 3-Year-Old Fillies
Eleven sophomore fillies bred in the Empire State line up for this 7 furlong turf stakes. Most of them appear to have little affinity for the grass, but one who might like it is 5-Maggie T, who has never run on the sod, but whose pedigree has some suggestions (her paternal grandsire is all-time European great Giant’s Causeway) that she might thrive on it. Her recent dirt form is good, and she will like the distance; add it up, and we are taking Maggie T, and her 15-1 morning line number, to the windows. We will bet her to win. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 8, $40 to win on 5-Maggie T.
Santa Anita Park, Race 5, 5:00 pm ET
Grade 3 San Juan Capistrano Stakes, 1¾ miles, Turf, 3 & Up
The San Juan Capistrano Stakes is not a particularly important race on the national calendar these days, as American horses are just not bred to be able to handle the marathon 14 furlong distance. That said, it has long been one of our favorite races of the year, primarily due to its venue: the spectacle of watching horses run down Santa Anita’s gorgeous and iconic and gorgeous hillside turf course, then completing another lap around the old oval, is a spectacle worthy of the sport’s most spectacular and aesthetically engaging facility. This year’s field of six is neither memorable nor particularly noteworthy, but for just under three minutes, it will be a visual feast of colors, the emerald green of the Santa Anita turf course providing a rich contrast to the browns and grays of the horses and the garish silks of the little men who ride them, with the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains serving as a backdrop worthy of an Impressionist painting.
The favorite in the race, 1-Offlee Naughty, is odds-on coming off wins in the San Luis Rey and Whittingham, but while he certainly can win, we are against him, at least as far as betting goes, as he’s never run this far before, and taking 3/5 on a horse who may not stay the distance is thoroughly unappealing. We turn instead to 5-Planetario, whose recent form is good, and whose trainer, Richard Mandella, is an ace at conditioning horses to run well in these kinds of races. We will bet Planetario to win at 3-1. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 5, $40 to win on 5-Planetario.
Monmouth Park, Race 10, 5:09 pm ET
$100,000 Get Serious Stakes, 5 furlongs, Turf, 3 & Up
A competitive group of eight turf sprinters goes to the gate for the Get Serious. In these kinds of races, trips often decide the winner, and one entrant who we think will get a good trip, from both a pace and traffic standpoint, is 6-Our Shot, who won his last two starts on grass, showing impressive tactical versatility in the process: he went wire-to-wire at Keeneland in April and won from just off the pace at Pimlico last May. There’s enough speed that we see him stalking here, which is where his outside post will be an asset: He should not find traffic trouble impacting his ability to finish strongly. He’s a good horse in good form, and he figures to get a good trip; we will bet him to win at 2-1 odds. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 10, $40 to win on 6-Our Shot.
That’s all for today. Until the next time, enjoy the races, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.