Garrity's Friday Dad's Hat Happy Hour Handicapping picks races at Aqueduct, Santa Anita and Keeneland
If it’s Friday, it’s time for another installment of Dad’s Hat Happy Hour Handicapping. We have five plays today, from New York to Kentucky to California, all of which will be run in just under an hour’s time. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all races, except as noted below, so pour yourself a tumbler of one of the deliciously potent, hand-crafted-in-Pennsylvania potables from our friends at Dad’s Hat, and let’s go.
Aqueduct, Race 8, 4:22 pm ET
Allowance, 1 mile, Dirt, New York-breds 3 & Up
The forecast in New York today is wet, so we are expecting this state-bred allowance, which drew eight runners, to be run on a sloppy track. That makes the pick 4-Mama’s Gold, who comes off a win in a starter allowance that was run in the slop. He went right to the front that day, and won in gate-to-wire fashion; we think he’s going to do the same thing here. We will bet Mama’s Gold to win at 5-1. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 8, $40 to win on 4-Mama’s Gold.
Santa Anita Park, Race 2, 4:30 pm ET
$50,000 Maiden Claiming, 5 ½ furlongs, Dirt, California-bred Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
State bred fillies and mares, seven of them, line up for today’s 2nd at Santa Anita. We are not overly impressed with those who have raced before, which makes the pick 3-Come Join the Band, who has looked good in her recent workouts, and who starts for Brian Koriner, who is good with debut horses. Her morning drills suggest that she has speed, so we would expect her to be right in front right out of the gate, but however she runs, she looks better than the rest. We will bet her to win at 3-1. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 2, $40 to win on 3-Come Join the Band.
Keeneland, Race 8, 4:44 pm ET
Allowance, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
This first-level allowance for fillies and mares drew a field of ten. 8-Raging Sea makes a lot of sense, as she is trained by Chad Brown and has run some big figures in her recent starts, but we think she is a good example of a handicapping truism, which is that the likeliest winner is sometimes not the best horse to bet. Raging Sea could very well prevail here, but at a short price, we think she is a play-against.
We like 10-Sabra Tuff. She gets class relief in this spot – her last two starts were in stakes – and we also think the race shape will favor her, as she’s a late runner, and there should be enough early speed to set up her stretch rally. We will bet Sabra Tuff to win at 6-1. The bet: Keeneland, Race 8, $40 to win on 10-Sabra Tuff.
Santa Anita Park, Race 3, 5:03 pm ET
$32,000 Claiming, 6 furlongs, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
A half-dozen hard-knocking claimers lines up for this turf sprint in Southern California. We’re all in on 5-Red Diamond, who comes out of a sixth-place finish in an allowance race, an effort for which he earned a good speed figure. Now he drops in against claimers, and he looks pretty clearly to be the best of the group. Red Diamond is also trained by Ron McAnally, who turned 91 in July, and while that is not the reason we like him, we’re all for any reason to cheer on Ronnie Mac, who for decades has been one of the sport’s unquestioned good guys. We will bet Red Diamond to win at 5/2. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 3, $40 to win on 5-Red Diamond.
Keeneland, Race 9, 5:16 pm ET
Allowance, 1 mile, Turf 3 & Up
A dozen go in this turf allowance, but we have eyes for just one: 10-Kingmax, an Irish-bred 4-year-old who ran two very good races on turf at Monmouth Park this past summer, good enough that trainer Jorge Delgado ran him in the Grade 2 Seagram Cup at Woodbine. He faltered that day, finishing a well-beaten ninth, but we are drawing a line through that race, as it was run on the synthetic course at Woodbine, a surface Kingmax had never tried before. Back on grass, he looms as a major threat; we will play him to win at 8-1. The bet: Keeneland, Race 9, $40 to win on 10-Kingmax.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the races, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.