Becky's Joker, a longshot winner in the Schuylerville, her debut, runs again today in the Adirondack.
Becky's Joker, a longshot winner in the Schuylerville, her debut, runs again today in the Adirondack. NYRA

Garrity's Sunday Stakes Picks: Adirondack at Saratoga, West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer, La Jolla at Del Mar

Garrity's first post is 5:10 pm EDT.

We have a mixed bag of stakes races on this Sunday in high summer: a dirt sprint for juvenile fillies in Upstate New York, and dirt and turf stakes, in West Virginia and California,  for 3-year-old colts. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all three races, so let’s go.

Saratoga Race Course, Race 8, 5:10 pm ET

Grade 3 Adirondack Stakes, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, 2-Year-Old Fillies

2-year-old stakes races this time of year usually feature colts and fillies coming off maiden races, and the trick in handicapping them is assessing the quality of them, and extrapolating which animal is most likely to improve as the distances get longer. The filly in the Adirondack, which drew a field of ten, who to us looks most likely to take a step forward is 10-Becky’s Joker, who was a surprise in her career debut on July 13, winning at 21-1 odds, but who was nevertheless very good that day, contesting a fast pace early and drawing away late. That ability to finish strongly should serve her well here, especially considering that her main rivals look likely to struggle at this 6 ½ furlong distance. Her outside post is also an advantage: it will give jockey Javier Castellano the luxury of sitting outside what should be swift early fractions, and asking Becky’s Joker for a run when the pacesetters begin to tire. We will bet her to win at 7/2. The bet: Saratoga, Race 8, $40 to win on 10-Becky’s Joker.

Mountaineer Park, Race 8, 8:15 pm ET
Grade 3 West Virginia Derby, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds

A full field of twelve lines up for the West Virginia Derby. Two of them completed the exacta in the Ohio Derby four weeks ago, when 8-Vermillion finished a nose in front of 11-Raise the Cain. Much of the wagering attention will be focused on this pair, as they are both in good form, but we prefer 4-Red Route One, who has been facing much tougher company of late, with his last two starts coming in the Belmont and the Preakness. Look for Red Route One to be toward the rear early, to advance steadily during the race’s middle stage, and to leave his rivals well behind late. We will bet Red Route One to win at 7/2. The bet: Mountaineer Park, Race 8, $40 to win on 4-Red Route One.

Del Mar, Race 10, 9:39 pm ET

Grade 3 La Jolla Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, 3-Year-Olds

Eight go in the La Jolla. We are giving another chance to 8-Zalamo, who made his American debut in the Oceanside Stakes on July 21, a race that was an utter disaster, as he broke a bit slowly, and then was slammed sideways by the horse just to his outside. He had virtually no shot after that, so we are drawing a line through that effort, and going back to his European form, which marks him a contender. He will need to break better today, but the outside post should help with that, as rider Mike Smith will have to deal with a horse on only one side of him. Look for Zalamo to gallop comfortably well behind the leader early, and roll late; we will bet him to win at 8-1. The bet: Del Mar, Race 10, $40 to win on 8-Zalamo.

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

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