Garrity's Saturday Stakes picks the Ack Ack at Churchill Downs, Awesome Again at Santa Anita, plus 3 more
There’s no racing in New York today – the historic downpour in the Big Apple canceled racing at Aqueduct until tomorrow - but fortunately, there are some good races in Kentucky and California to pick up the slack. We have five plays on this last Saturday in September, and expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them. Let’s go.
Churchill Downs, Race 8, 4:25 pm ET
$200,000 Jefferson Cup, 1 mile, Turf, 3-Year-Olds
The Jefferson Cup drew a field of eleven 3-year-olds. We like one making his American debut: 2-Tiverton, whose career to this point consists of six starts, all in his native Ireland, and all for legendary trainer Dermot Weld. He was OK over there, but what has us excited about his chances today is the going: He has to this point been better on firmer footing, and we think that he is going to be much, much better today, on turf that is much firmer than he’s ever seen before. We think that gives him a big chance, and when one identifies a contender at a big number – he’s 20-1 on the morning line – there is only one thing to do, and that is head to the windows. We will bet him to win. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 8, $40 to win on 2-Tiverton.
Churchill Downs, Race 9, 4:58 pm ET
Grade 3 Ack Ack Stakes, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
The Ack Ack drew a field of seven. We would normally try to play against morning line choice 5-Zozos, as he comes off a pretty bad loss, at 1/2 odds, in the Iselin Stakes at Monmouth Park last month. He had a very favorable trip that day, setting the pace while running very moderate early fractions, and that he could still not close the deal is a very bad sign.
But we think he will rebound today, partly because this is a shorter race, 7 furlongs versus the mile and a sixteenth he ran in the Iselin, but more because he appears to possess a massive pace edge: He has abundant early speed, and the rest of the field does not. That means Zozos is going right to the front, and will stay there all the way around the track. We will bet him to win at 6/5 odds. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 9, $50 to win on 5-Zosos.
Santa Anita Park, Race 8, 7:41 pm ET
Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, 3 & Up
Seven older horses and two sophomore colts line up for the Awesome Again.This is normally the time of year to look to 3-year-olds to begin beating their elders, but we favor 4-year-old 3-Slow Down Andy, as he has good speed, and cuts back in distance to nine furlongs after running a mile and a quarter in his last. We think he will take the early lead, but he could stalk; either way, we think he squirts clear at the top of the stretch, and holds off the closers (and there a couple of good ones) late. We will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 8, $40 to win on 3-Slow Down Andy.
Santa Anita Park, Race 9, 8:13 pm ET
Grade 2 Eddie D Stakes, 6 ½ furlongs, Turf, 3 & Up
Sprints down the Santa Anita hillside turf course tend to draw big fields, and the Eddie D is no exception, with 13 going to the gate. It’s a good betting race. We like 7-I’m a Gambler, an Irish-bred 4-year-old who has been competitive, without winning, in three starts since being brought to the United States late last year. We like him partly because this is his third start since July, and he should consequently be ready to deliver a top effort; but mostly because he shortens up – his last three were all at a mile – and this 6½ furlong downhill distance should suit him perfectly. We will bet him to win at 6-1. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 9, $40 to win on 7-I’m a Gambler.
Santa Anita Park, Race 10, 8:45 pm ET
Grade 2 City of Hope Mile, 1 mile, Turf, 3 & Up
Nine turf milers go in the City of Hope. The pick is 3-Twist, who won an allowance race quite smartly back in July, and then had a troubled trip last out, when he traffic problems – he got stuck between horses, and had to check, at the top of the stretch – led to a 5th-place finish that was much, much better than it looks on paper. With a cleaner trip today, Twist looks clearly the best; we will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 10, $40 to win on 3-Twist.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the races, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.