Garrity's Friday Dad's Hat Happy Hour Handicapping picks races at Aqueduct, Churchill Downs, and Los Alamitos

First post 4:49 pm EDT, last post 5:26 pm. Let it Rye-d.
Racing at Los Alamitos.
Racing at Los Alamitos.@losalracing on X

We have a mixed bag of races for today’s installment of our regular Friday feature, Dad’s Hat Happy Hour Handicapping. We have a pair of races in New York, a pair of races in Kentucky, and a single race in California, all of which will be run in less than an hour’s time. With fall upon us, it’s a perfect occasion to take a rest, sip one of the delicious, hand-crafted-in-Pennsylvania libations from our friends at Dad’s Hat, and have some fun watching horses run in circles. We expect fast dirt and firm turf for all races, so let’s go.

Aqueduct, Race 8, 4:49 pm ET

$125,000 John Hettinger Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, New York-breds 3 & Up

Seven state-breds will go to the post for the Hettinger. We can’t get past the favorite, 3-New Ginya, who has run four turf races this year, and won three of them, including last out, when he beat a pretty good field in the Yaddo Handicap at Saratoga last month. Look for him to be toward the rear early, and in front, probably well in front, at the finish line. We will bet him to win at 9/5. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 8, $50 to win on 3-New Ginya.

Churchill Downs, Race 9, 4:55 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 5 ½ furlongs, Turf, 3 & Up

First-level allowance turf sprinters, nine of them, line up for today’s featured race at Churchill Downs. We like 6-Kigali, who won the last time he raced at this distance on turf, breaking his maiden at Ellis Park on June 24. He showed speed that day, which will serve him well here; so will his outside post, which should allow jockey Martin Garcia to work a good trip pressing the pacesetter, who should be 1-All I Want is You. We will bet Kigali to win at 5-1. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 9, $40 to win on 6-Kigali

Los Alamitos, Race 3, 5:06 pm ET

$30,000 Maiden Claiming, 5 ½ furlongs, Dirt, 2-Year-Old Fillies

Six maiden claimers go in today’s 3rd from Los Al. The pick is 5-Wok Don’t Run, who has raced once, when she was well-beaten in her career debut, doing a speed-and-fade in a mile turf race. We like her partly because she switches to dirt today, partly because she shortens to 5½ furlongs, but mostly because her last start was against Maiden Special Weight company, and here she runs at the much lower maiden claiming level. We will bet her to win at 7/2. The bet: Los Alamitos, Race 3, $40 to win on 5-Wok Don’t Run.

Aqueduct, Race 9, 5:21 pm ET

Maiden Special Weight, 6 furlongs, Turf, 2-Year-Olds

This maiden affair drew a dozen juvenile turf sprinters. We’re taking a shot with 12-Financial District, who ran fairly well in his career debut in his last start, when he finished second in a similar spot at Colonial Downs two weeks ago. We like the quick turnaround – horses are very capable of running every two or three weeks, and the modern tendency of trainers to space two or three months between starts is nonsense – and we also like that he moves outside, after breaking from the rail last time. He will need to improve, and show more early speed, today to contend, but horses very often step forward in their second career race. We will bet him to win at 12-1. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 9, $40 to win on 12-Financial District.

Churchill Downs, Race 10, 5:26 pm ET

Maiden Special Weight, 1 mile, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

Ten 3-year-old fillies line up for the nightcap in Louisville. A handicapper with a rudimentary understanding of the game could pick out the two that will garner the most public support: they are 6-Methodology, who goes for Brad Cox; and 8-Sister Maha, who starts for Todd Pletcher. Either of these two fillies from power barns could win, but because they have similar speed-oriented running styles, and because they are both going to be short prices, we are looking elsewhere, in the direction of 5-Mucho Macho Chick, who ran on turf in her lone career start, showing a bit of ability to finish well, and who, if she can transfer that closing ability to dirt, just might be poised to spring an upset at a big number. She has a pedigree that suggests she will be better on dirt than she was on turf, and because the race should favor closers, we will play her to win, with the expectation that she will be a bigger price than her 20-1 morning line odds. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 10, $40 to win on 5-Mucho Macho Chick.

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

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