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Garrity's Friday Dad's Hat Happy Hour Handicapping picks races at Belmont, Monmouth Park and Los Alamitos

First post 4:48 pm EDT. Last post 5:35 pm. Let it Rye-d.

Some days, there are so many good races that it is difficult for us to pick which ones to play. That is decidedly not the case today, as the national simulcasting lineup is utterly dreadful, with lousy races with short fields as far as the eye can see. This is probably just a lull before the big summer meetings at Saratoga and Del Mar open; we certainly hope so, because a steady diet of this kind of unappetizing fare would probably cause us to take up poker, or even worse, a truly loathsome recreational pastime like golf.

It’s still a Friday in summer, however, and those are to be savored, so for today’s installment of Dad’s Hat Happy Hour Handicapping we’ve cobbled together four plays, all of which go off in under an hour’s time. We expect fast dirt and firm turf, except as noted below, so let’s go.

Belmont Park, Race 8, 4:48 pm ET

Allowance, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

Today’s featured race in New York is this first-level allowance dirt sprint, which drew six entrants. We are going with a straight-down-the-line speed play, in the form of 1-Amaretti, who has the most natural early zip in the field, and whose rail position will force jockey Junior Alvarado to use it: we see this 4-year-old daughter of Bernardini going right to the front, and winning in gate-to-wire fashion. We will bet her to win at 2-1. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 8, $40 to win on 1-Amaretti.

Monmouth Park, Race 8, 5:16 pm ET

$25,000 Claiming, 6 furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

Rain is in the forecast at the Jersey shore today, and we’re expecting this claiming race, which drew a half dozen entrants, to be run in the slop. That makes the selection 5-Midtown Rose, who has the wet-track trifecta: She has a good career record on off going; she has speed; and she has a tactically advantageous outside post position. We see Midtown Rose splashing home in first, which makes her a good play on top at 7/2 odds. We will bet her to win. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 8, $40 to win on 5-Midtown Rose.

Belmont Park, Race 9, 5:20 pm ET

Maiden Special Weight, 1 mile, Turf, New York-breds 3 & Up

A dozen turf maidens go in the Belmont Park nightcap. The pick is 1-Born Dancer, who attempts to rebound after losing as the favorite in a similar spot in his last start. That race was last October, so he’s coming off a layoff, but if he is sound and healthy, and his recent morning workouts suggest that he is, then Born Dancer appears the best of this group. We will bet him to win at 5-1. The bet: Belmont Park, Race 9, $40 to win on 1-Born Dancer.

Los Alamitos, Race 4, 5:35 pm ET

Starter Allowance, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up

Six go in the 4th at Los Al. We can’t get past the one on the outside, 6-Tahoe Secrets, who comes off a long layoff, having last run in August at Del Mar, but who has run faster than his five rivals. While the layoff is a concern, it is ameliorated by the fact that he is trained by Tim Yakteen, who is excellent (25% win percentage) at getting horses to fire off the bench. Look for Tahoe Secrets to stalk early, and roll late; we will bet him to win at 2-1. The bet: Los Alamitos, Race 4, $40 to win on 6-Tahoe Secrets.

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

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