Garrity's Sunday Stakes picks The Rumson at Monmouth Park, the G1 Spinaway at Saratoga, and the Del Mar Derby
Today’s richest races are in Henderson, Kentucky, but we are eschewing them, and are doing so enthusiastically, as track management at Kentucky Downs, in advance of this year’s seven-day meet, increased takeout rates across the board. This decision was outrageous and unacceptable, an overt middle finger to bettors, especially considering that the track is awash in slots money, so much so that the track announced purse increases to go along with the takeout hike. We are therefore declining to give those skunks a dime of handle, a gesture that is a near certainty to change exactly nothing, but it is all that we can do.
Fortunately, there are other good races today, and we’ve cherry-picked three of them, one each at Monmouth, Saratoga, and Del Mar. We expect fast dirt and firm turf for all three of them, so let’s go.
Monmouth Park, Race 6, 3:02 pm ET
$100,000 Rumson Stakes, 5 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
Seven older horses go in the Rumson. We like 1-Little Vic, who gets massive class relief here, as his last three starts were in Grade 1 or Grade 2 races. That might be reason enough to back him at the windows, but we think the race shape will favor him, as he should get a perfect stalking trip from his rail post, sitting comfortably behind two speed horses, 5-Spun and Won and 6-Twisted Ride, who are evenly matched, and who should therefore engage in a pace duel. Once those two pacesetters have softened each other up, we see Little Vic Pouncing, and winning the Rumson going away. We will bet him to win at 5/2 odds. The bet: Monmouth Park, Race 6, $50 to win on 1-Little Vic.
Saratoga Race Course, Race 9, 5:10 pm ET
Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 2-Year-Old Fillies
This summer’s Saratoga meet has had its challenges, but one unquestioned bright spot has been juvenile racing: 2-year-olds of both sexes have been quite good, and the quality of the baby races has been a sorely needed shot in the arm for the folks in Upstate New York. The Spinaway is a good example of this: An excellent field of ten fillies lines up for a corker of a race. We’re all in on the favorite, 8-Ways and Means, who was nothing short of sensational in her career debut, winning by over a dozen lengths in very fast time. We’d normally try to play against this kind of horse, because there is no guarantee that she can repeat that kind of effort, but we’re making an exception for her, as the way she ran, sitting just behind the early speed, and blowing the field away with a monstrous move around the far turn, suggests that she is the real deal, a star in the making. Sometimes this game is complicated, but in this case we are going to keep it simple: we think we’ve identified the best horse, and we will bet her to win at 7/5 odds. The bet: Saratoga, Race 9, $50 to win on 8-Ways and Means.
Del Mar, Race 10, 9:10 pm ET
Grade 2 Del Mar Derby, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, 3-Year-Olds
A field of nine 3-year-olds goes to the gate for the Del Mar Derby. The pick is 5-Almendares, an English-bred colt who began his career in Ireland, and though he competed at second-tier tracks over there, he was plenty good enough to win his American debut, dusting an allowance field at Del Mar six weeks ago. He’ll face tougher today, but we think he can handle it, partly for the experience he gained in his last start, and partly because the way he ran that day – he closed strongly into a slow pace – suggests to us that he is a late-blooming sort, one who will be much better in the fall than he was earlier this year. We will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Del Mar, Race 10, $40 to win on 5-Almendares.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.