Garrity's Saturday Stakes picks the Grade 3 Ohio Derby at Thistledown and the Bertrando Stakes at Los Alamitos

Garrity's first post is 6:20 pm EDT.
Racing at Los Alamitos.
Racing at Los Alamitos.@losalracing on Twitter

The national stakes schedule is light today, and is so is our slate: we have two plays for the first Saturday of summer, the Ohio Derby at Thistledown in suburban Cleveland, and a mile dirt race for California-breds out West. We expect fast dirt in both; let’s go.

Thistledown, Race 12, 6:20 pm ET

Grade 3 Ohio Derby, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds

A field of eight is assembled for the Ohio Derby. The morning line choice is 4-Two Phil’s, who earned favoritism with a runner-up finish in the Kentucky Derby. He ran huge that day, but we’re against him here, partly because he will be a short price, but mostly because we are unsure if he has recovered from his gargantuan effort in Louisville: The early pace that day was wickedly fast, and Two Phil’s was the only horse who was anywhere near it who kept on running. We think a regression is more likely than a repeat, which makes him a play-against.

The pick is 3-Bishops Bay. He, like the favorite, comes off a sharp runner-up finish in a stakes race: he was last seen finishing a head behind Arcangelo in the Peter Pan Stakes. That would look good in any light, but it is even better for the fact that Arcangelo won the Belmont Stakes in his next start. Bishops Bay began his racing career late, his first start not coming until February, and while that kept him out of the spring classics, it leaves him primed for the Ohio Derby: he’s a very talented colt who seems to be sitting on a monster race. With Two Phil’s certain to get most of the attention at the windows, that makes Bishops Bay a fantastic play at 3-1 odds. We will bet him to win. The bet: Thistletown, Race 12, $50 to win on 3-Bishops Bay.

Los Alamitos, Race 9, 8:05 pm ET
$100,000 Bertrando Stakes, 1 mile, Dirt, California-breds 3 & Up

A symbol of the quality of the field in the Bertrando is the past performances of morning line choice 3-Kings River Knight: that a horse who has run on conventional dirt once – a race he did not win – is the 8/5 favorite tells you that the field of six assembled here is not exactly overflowing with world beaters.

Still, one of them will win, and we do not think it will be Kings River Knight. We favor instead 6-Positivity, who has two things going for him: He has blazing speed, and he has been facing, much, much tougher, with his last two starts coming in graded stakes. We think he’s going right to the front, and we think he is going to beat this weak group in gate-to-wire fashion. We will bet him to win at 10-1. The bet: Los Alamitos, Race 9, $40 to win on 6-Positivity.

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

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