Garrity's Saturday Stakes picks 3 at Colonial Downs – Arlington Million Day – 2 at Del Mar, 1 at Canterbury
With the stakes races at Saratoga today lacking a bit of luster – put quite frankly, they stink – we need to look elsewhere for our Saturday afternoon action, and fortunately, there is no shortage of intriguing and playable races across this great land, especially at Colonial Downs, which has picked up the three biggest races of the year that used to be run at Arlington Park, which was closed in 2022, and is in the process of being demolished for that most vile of edifices, a tackle football stadium. The Secretariat, Beverly D, and Arlington Million will not be the same in New Kent, Virginia as they were in Chicago, but we’ll swallow the disappointment at the shuttering of yet another racetrack, and try to dope out a few winners.
We have plays in six races today, three at Colonial, two at Del Mar, and one in Shakopee, Minnesota. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them, so let’s go.
Colonial Downs, Race 8, 5:14 pm ET
Grade 2 Secretariat Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 3-Year-Olds
Eight 3-year-old colts line up to run a mile on turf in the Secretariat. In terms of class, one of them sticks out like a sore thumb: 1-Silver Knott, a regally bred Godolphin colt who was very good as a juvenile last year, but who has been a major disappointment so far this season, getting trounced in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May, and then running decently without winning, finishing third and fifth, respectively, in the Pennine Ridge and Belmont Derby in New York. While one way to look at these results is that Silver Knott simply failed to progress from 2 to 3, we think he is better than his recent results may indicate, and this spot, facing an unimposing group, will be a good place for him to get back on track. Look for him to take the prize by sitting well back early, and unleashing a furious rally late; we will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Colonial Downs, Race 8, $40 to win on 1-Silver Knott.
Colonial Downs, Race 9, 5:55 pm ET
Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes, 1 3/16 miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
A sextet of filly and mare turfers will go to the post for the Beverly D. A glance through the past performances would suggest that none of the six wants the early lead – they’ve all preferred to run from off the pace – but one of them will have to, and we think this will be a case where rider intent, rather than the natural tendencies of the horses, determines the race shape. That means Flavien Prat, who pilots 6-Gina Romantica, will seize the tactical initiative and go right to the front: Prat is a superb tactical rider, especially on grass, and we are predicting that he will recognize that a tactically advantageous pacesetting trip is his mount’s best chance to win, and that just such a trip is there for the taking. Most turf races are won at the end, but we see the deciding moments of the 2023 renewal of the Beverly D. happening at the beginning: we see Gina Romantica going to the front right out of the gate, and prevailing with a gate-to-wire victory. We will bet her to win at 5-1. The bet: Colonial Downs, Race 9, $40 to win on 6-Gina Romantica.
Colonial Downs, Race 10, 6:40 pm ET
Grade 1 Arlington Million, 1 ¼ miles, Turf, 3 & Up
The eleven older horses who go to the gate for the Arlington Million are a far cry from a true Grade 1 group – the field looks decidedly and disappointingly subpar – but it is a good betting race. We are looking for a rebound from 9-Adhamo, who returns off a ten-month layoff in this spot. His two starts prior to his vacation were poor – he finished off the board in both the Sword Dancer at Saratoga and the Turf Classic at Aqueduct – but both of those races were run at a mile and a half, and both were also run on turf rated good. We think Adhamo will be much better today, partly because of the shorter mile and a quarter distance, and partly because of the firm ground, which he has always preferred. And it doesn’t hurt that his trainer, Chad Brown, wins at a ridiculous 29% clip with horses returning from layoffs of more than six months. We will bet Adhamo to win at 10-1. The bet: Colonial Downs, Race 10, $40 to win on 9-Adhamo.
Del Mar, Race 6, 7:45 pm ET
Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 2-Year-Old FIllies
Eight speedy juvenile fillies line up for the Sorrento. It’s a good group, but the one who looks best to us is 2-Dreamfyre, who has run only once, but it was a doozy, when she won the Everett Nevin Stakes at Pleasanton in her career debut a month ago. It’s never easy for a horse to win her debut race, but that Dreamfyre did it in a stakes, albeit a minor one, and did so dominating from start to finish, has us thinking that this is a very serious filly, one who will be capable of beating a field this good. Dreamfyre might just be a star in the making; we will bet her to win at 3-1. The bet: Del Mar, Race 6, $40 to win on 2-Dreamfyre.
Del Mar, Race 9, 9:15 pm ET
Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
The Yellow Ribbon drew a field of seven, a very weak group for a Grade 2 stakes race. Six of them are based in Southern California, and it seems to us to be an ideal spot for trainer Robert Falcone, who is based in New York and who is very shrewd at placing horses, to come in and steal the race with 3-Spirit and Glory, who has been strictly a second-stringer in the East, but who appears good enough to beat this nondescript group. Look for Spirit and Glory to be mid-pack early, and rolling late; we will bet her to win at 6-1. The bet: Del Mar, Race 9, $40 to win on 3-Spirit and Glory.
Canterbury Downs, Race 8, 9:35 pm ET
$100,000 Minnesota Derby, 1 mile 70 yards, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds
As far as prominent races go, the Minnesota Derby, a mile and 70 yard race for 3-year-olds bred in the Land of the 10,000 Lakes, would be far down the list for even the most dedicated railbirds. But we’re a sucker for any Derby, even one featuring eight obscure state-breds, and it’s actually a pretty good betting race. We like a colt with a surprisingly good pedigree: it’s 5-It’s Bob’s Business, who is by promising young stallion Bolt D’Oro, out of a Bellamy Road mare, breeding that suggests he will be better at longer distances than than the sprints in which he has been competing. He’ll have to improve to contend here – put more bluntly, his three starts this year have been nowhere near good enough, even against modest company such as this – but we think a step forward is in the cards, and that makes his 8-1 morning line number very enticing. Look for him to be comfortable running in the middle of the pack early, and rolling late. We will bet him to win. The bet: Canterbury Downs, Race 8, $40 to win on 5-It’s Bob’s Business.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.