Racing at Saratoga.
Racing at Saratoga. NYRA / Chelsea Durand

Garrity's Saturday Stakes picks races at Monmouth, Woodbine, Del Mar and the Lake Placid, Alabama at Saratoga

Garrity's first post is at 3:56 pm EDT.

It’s Saturday, and the weather is perfect, and the racing is excellent – this is what summer is supposed to be. We have plays in five races today, from New Jersey to New York to Toronto to Southern California, and we expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them, except where noted below. Let’s go.

Monmouth Park, Race 8, 3:56 pm ET

Grade 3 Philip H. Iselin Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 3 & Up

A field of six is assembled for the 2023 running of the Iselin at Monmouth Park. The hot favorite is 4-Zosos, and he makes sense, but we are taking a swing against him, as the big speed figure he earned in his last start was at least partly the result of a speed bias at Ellis Park, where the main track has been favoring front-runners all meet. We think Zosos is going to get the early lead, but are betting that he won’t be able to stay there through the finish line.

The pick is 1-Weyburn. He’s a 4-year-old who has had an uneven career, running quite well in some races and dreadfully in others. His most recent start was one of the lousy ones, as he faded badly to finish last in the John A. Nerud Stakes at Belmont Park on July 1. We are drawing a line through that race, and think he will bounce back, partly for getting class relief – he faced tougher company in the Nerud – and partly because he should get an ideal stalking trip here, sitting just behind the early pace while saving ground from his inside post position, and from there it’s just a matter of whether Weyburn is good enough. We think the answer to that question will be yes, and will consequently bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 8, $40 to win on 1-Weyburn.

Saratoga Race Course, Race 7, 4:26 pm ET

Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, 3-Year-Old Fillies

Saratoga moved some races off turf this morning, but we expect the Lake Placid to stay on the sod, and to be run on a course with some give in it, something on the order of good. Since the race is evidently the personal property of Chad Brown – he’s won it four of the last five years, and starts half of the eight entrants this year – we’re virtually obligated to pick one of his horses, and the one we fancy the most is 4-Tax Implications, who has been mostly a bridesmaid so far in her career, with three runner-up finishes in four starts, but whose late-running style, and terrific European turf pedigree, suggest that her best races may still be in front of her. Another reason to think she will run big is that we expect the race shape to suit her, as the early pace should be swift enough to set up her late charge, which is the best in the field. Tax Implications may be last early, but we think she will be first where it matters; we will bet her to win at 5-1. The bet: Saratoga, Race 7, $50 to win on 4-Tax Implications.

Woodbine, Race 9, 5:22 pm ET

Grade 2 King Edward Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 3 & Up

A deep group of eleven older turf horses lines up to run a mile in the King Edward Stakes at Woodbine. It may not be the best group of turf horses ever assembled for a Grade 2, but it is a terrific betting race. We’re all in on 1-Pao Alto, who goes north for trainer Graham Motion after a near miss in a minor stakes at Laurel Park last month, a race in which he finished just a nose behind the winner. While that effort shows that he is in good form, we think he’ll be even better today, as it was his first race since last fall, and he should move forward in his second start off the layoff. Look for Pao Alto to be flying late; we will bet him to win at 6-1. The bet: Woodbine, Race 9, $40 to win on 1-Pao Alto.

Saratoga Race Course, Race 9, 5:45 pm ET

Grade 1 Alabama Stakes, 1 ¼ miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies

The day’s biggest race, the Alabama Stakes, will be run on perhaps the nicest day of the Saratoga meeting: It will be absolutely perfect in Upstate New York this afternoon, with sunny skies, warm temperatures, low humidity, and refreshing breezes that just might contain a hint of autumnal delights to come. The race itself came up very strong, with a good group of ten sophomore fillies going to the gate. The one we like the most – and we like her quite a bit – is 3-Julia Shining, who has yet to run a very fast race, but that is between partly and mostly due to the unfavorable pace scenarios she faced in her last two starts, as she’s a stretch runner, and both times she was stuck behind slow early fractions that favored the runners in front, and compromised the chances of those, like her, trying to make up ground. The race shape today should be fairer, and this daughter of top stallion Curlin should thrive at this 10 furlong distance, something that cannot be said about quite a few of her rivals, none of whom have run this far before. Julia Shining looks the best, and we will bet her to win at 5-1 odds. The bet: Saratoga, Race 9, $50 to win on 3-Julia Shining.

Del Mar, Race 8, 8:45 pm ET

Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, 3-Year-Old FIllies

A good and deep field of ten 3-year-old turf fillies lines up for the Del Mar Oaks. The pick is 2-Window Shopping, who has two wins in her four-race career, but those races were on dirt, and we expect her to be significantly better on turf, a surface that she has not tried since she ran sixth in a maiden race in the first race of her career last November. Look for her to be relaxed, and in the middle of the pack, early, and to make a big move as the field leaves the far turn and enters the home stretch. We will bet her to win at 6-1. The bet: Del Mar, Race 8, $40 to win on 2-Window Shopping.

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

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