Garrity's Sunday Horse Racing Picks: 2 at Churchill Downs and a longshot in the Bongard Stakes at Aqueduct

Garrity's first post is 4:22 pm EDT.
Wet track racing at Aqueduct.
Wet track racing at Aqueduct.NYRA

We have three plays today, one at Aqueduct, where it will be wet, and the main track should be sloppy, and two at Churchill 

Churchill Downs, Race 8, 4:22 pm ET

Maiden Special Weight, 6 furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

This maiden race at Churchill Downs drew a field of ten. We’re all in on 5-Goldenshuga, who raced twice last winter at Oaklawn Park, with one of them being a pretty good effort, before turned out in February. The time away should do her a lot of good, and her recent morning works suggest that she is ready to deliver a good effort, which should be good enough to beat a group that looks weak. We will bet her to win at 4-1. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 8, $40 to win on 5-Goldenshuga.

Aquedect, Race 8, 4:49 pm ET
$125,000 Bertram F. Bongard Stakes, 7 furlongs, Dirt, New York-bred 2-Year-Olds

Seven state-breds line up for this 7 furlong sprint. We are taking a stab, and a pretty big one, with 1-Ranger Blue, who on the surface would appear to be an automatic throwout: he has been running at Presque Isle Downs in Erie, which is several rungs down the ladder from the bright lights of New York City.

But a deeper dive into his form shows us a couple of things we like: He has decent speed, and both his career starts were at a mile, an indication that he will handle this 7 furlong distance, which is something we cannot say about quite a few of his rivals, most of whom have never run this far before. Even better is the fact that he’s been running on the synthetic surface at Presque Isle, and his pedigree suggests to us that he will be better on conventional dirt, which he’s never tried before. We think Ranger Blue has a chance – and when one spots a horse who’s 20-1 and has a chance, one must play him. We will bet him to win. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 8, $40 to win on 1-Ranger Blue.

Churchill Downs, Race 9, 4:55 pm ET
Allowance, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 3 & Up

A very salty group of nine lines up for this first-level allowance. We like 5-Highland Falls, and we like him quite a bit: he has raced only once, when he won his career debut, a maiden race at Ellis Park, on August 26, but it was how he did it that impresses us: he put up eye-catching speed and pace figures. While it’s always possible that a horse may regress off this kind of big race, we think Highland Falls is just as likely to improve, and that means that the rest of this field is running for second money. Look for him to be midpack early, and rolling late; we will bet him to win at 4-1. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 9, $40 to win on 5-Highland Falls.

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

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