Garrity's Sunday Stakes picks the Woodward at Aqueduct, plus the Tokyo City Cup and John Henry at Santa Anita

Garrity's first post is at 3:11 pm EDT.
Racing at Santa Anita.
Racing at Santa Anita.@santaanitapark on Twitter.

It’s the first day in October, and a Sunday, which means that most eyes will be on tackle football, but we think there will be ample time for some exciting and potentially remunerative action on the Sport of Kings. We have three plays, two in New York and one in California, and expect fast dirt and firm turf in all. Let’s go.

Aqueduct, Race 7, 3:11 pm ET

Grade 2 Woodward Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, 3 & Up

A good field of ten lines up for the Woodward, the day’s best stakes race from both a wagering and sporting perspective. The lack of a standout American runner – the best of the Yankee contingent is 4-Zandon, who hasn’t won a race since the Blue Grass Stakes nearly 18 months ago – has us looking in the direction of 3-Algiers, who comes off a very sharp runner-up finish in the Dubai World Cup. That race was in March, over six months ago, so the layoff is an issue, but ameliorating that concern is the presence of trainer Simon Crisford, who is based at Newmarket in England, and who is as good as it gets in the sport. Algiers has run on conventional dirt six times in his career, and has finished first or second in five of them; we think he makes it five-for-six today by taking the Woodward. We will bet him to win at 6-1. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 7, $50 to win on 3-Algiers.

Santa Anita Park, Race 6, 6:37 pm ET

$100,000 Tokyo City Cup Stakes, 1 ½ miles, Dirt, 3 & Up

Five go in the Tokyo City. The pick is 1-Missed the Cut, who looks like he is going to have to fall down to lose. Not only is he the only entrant who appears capable of getting the mile and a half distance, but he also possesses a significant pace advantage. He should get the early lead in a gallop, and from that tactically advantageous position, prove impossible for his rivals, who appear overmatched, to catch. We think Missed the Cut wins the Tokyo City in gate-to-wire fashion, and will bet him to win at 8/5. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 6, $50 to win on 1-Missed the Cut.

Santa Anita Park, Race 7, 7:09 pm ET
Grade 2 John Henry Turf Championship Stakes, 1 ¼ miles, Turf, 3 & Up

It pains us to admit this, because we learned, and grew to love, this great game at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park, but the state of racing in California, especially turf racing, is so bad that whenever we handicap a grass race there, we scan the entries to look to see if there is a horse shipping in from somewhere else. The local horse population, especially at the stakes level, is so awful that we automatically give the edge to almost any horse who has been racing elsewhere, especially in Kentucky or New York.

There is one such runner among the eight who line up for the John Henry: 6-Speaking Scout, whose recent form, a 5th-place finish in a Kentucky Downs allowance on August 31 and a couple of similar also-ran performances on the mid-Atlantic circuit before that, would hardly merit a second thought somewhere else, but appears to be good enough to take the prize here. Look for him to prevail with a strong stretch rally; we will bet him to win at 6-1 odds. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 7, $40 to win on 6-Speaking Scout.

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

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