Garrity's Sunday Saratoga picks: Rain is in the forecast and these three horses should excel in the slop
The weather is going to be a problem today: it appears to be shaping up as a rainy day at all the major East Coast tracks. With racing out West offering no escape – racing in Southern California is dark until Del Mar opens on Friday – we’ve dusted off our wet-track handicapping tools, and have selected three races at Saratoga, all of which we expect to be run over a sloppy main track. The skies will be gray, but we think there is an opportunity to snatch some green from between the raindrops, so let’s go.
Saratoga Race Course, Race 5, 3:32 pm ET
Maiden Special Weight, 5 ½ furlongs, Dirt, New York-bred 2-Year-Olds
Ten state-breds line up up for this maiden race. Only three of them have raced before, and we don’t like any of them, so we are looking at a first-time starter, 3-Dixie Pharoah, who is bred to like the slop, and who has the kind of workout pattern we like to see in a a debuting horse: A long series of regularly spaced morning drills to get him fit to fire at first asking. We will bet him to win at 8-1. The bet: Saratoga, Race 5, $40 to win on 3-Dixie Pharoah.
Saratoga Race Course, Race 7, 4:40 pm ET
Allowance, 1 3/16 miles, Dirt, 3 & Up
A septet of first-level allowance runners go a mile and three-sixteenths in the 7th at the Spa. The pick is 6-Film Star, whose grandsire is A.P. Indy, one of the best wet-track stallions of all time. He just missed in his last two starts, finishing as the runner up both times; We think he gets the money today, especially since he’s trained by Linda Rice, whose runners the past few days have shown an almost magical ability to run big. We will bet him to win at 2-1. The bet: Saratoga, Race 7, $40 to win on 6-Film Star.
Saratoga Race Course, Race 8, 5:15 pm ET
Allowance/Optional Claiming, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
Today’s 8th at Saratoga is a very tough third-level allowance at 7 furlongs on the main track. The pick is a horse who should thrive in the slop: It’s 4-Shooters Shoot. We’d expect this 6-year-old to improve regardless of the track conditions, as he did rather well in his last start, taking the lead at the top of the stretch before getting passed late. That was his first race in over a year, and we’d expect him to take a step forward off that effort; we give him the nod because he figures to be even better over the wet going than he’d be on a dry track. Look for him to press the pace early, and roll late. We will bet him to win at 8-1. The bet: Saratoga, Race 8, $40 to win on 4-Shooters Shoot.
That’s all for today. Until the next time, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.