Garrity's Friday Dad's Hat Happy Hour Handicapping picks Aqueduct and Keeneland, 90 minutes of stakes races
If it’s Friday, it’s time for another end-of-the-week installment of Dad’s Hat Happy Hour Handicapping. We have an unusually good lineup today, with a quartet of stakes races in New York and Kentucky, all of which have cocktail-friendly, late-afternoon post times. We expect fine fall weather, and fast dirt and firm turf, in all races, so pour yourself a dram of one of the delicious, hand-crafted-in-Pennsylvania libations from our friends at Dad’s Hat, and let’s go.
Aqueduct, Race 7, 3:50 pm ET
$150,000 Athenia Stakes, 1/18 miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
A field of nine filly and mare turf runners line up for the Athenia. We are taking a stab with a Brazilian import, 7-Evidencias, who comes into this race off a layoff, having last run in January, but who was very good before that, winning a couple of graded stakes at Ciadad Jardim racetrack in Rio de Janeiro. She might need a race, but we are counting on the skills of trainer Christophe Clement, who excels with horses making their North American debut. We think she has a chance, enough of one that we are playing her to win at 15-1 odds. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 7, $40 to win on 7-Evidencias.
Aqueduct, Race 8, 4:22 pm ET
Grade 3 Bold Ruler Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds
Older horses, nine of them, line up for the Bold Ruler at Aqueduct. We think there will be enough early pace to set the table for the late charge of 9-High Oak, who had some traffic issues while facing tougher in each of his last two starts, but today gets an outside post that should produce a much better result. Look for him to prevail with a big move around the far turn and down the stretch. We will bet him to win at 3-1. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 8, $40 to win on 9-High Oak.
Keeneland, Race 8, 4:44 pm ET
Grade 3 Valley View Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 3-Year-Old Fillies
A full field of twelve 3-year-old fillies lines up for the Valley View, which would be a good race on any day, but is a terrific race for a Friday. We like an Irish import, 5-Eternal Silence, who checks all of our European-horse-debuting-in-the-United-States handicapping boxes: she has shown some ability, she starts for a skilled conditioner, in this case Jessica Harrington, and in her seven-race career has shown an affinity for firmer going. The thought is that her sharp trainer has brought her to Keeneland to get firmer ground than she’d see in Europe, and that makes Eternal Silence a major threat here, at an 8-1 morning line number that we think is positively juicy. We will bet her to win. The bet: Keeneland, Race 8, $50 to win on 5-Eternal Silence.
Keeneland, Race 9, 5:16 pm ET
$200,000 Myrtlewood Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 2-Year-Old Fillies
Nine juvenile fillies will go to the post for the Myrtlewood. Speed and pace figures point in the direction of 5-Xtreme Diva, who is undefeated and unchallenged in two career starts, each of which she won by huge margins. If those races had been run at Saratoga or Churchill Downs, Xtreme Diva would be a short price, but because they were run at Canterbury Downs, and because she is a Minnesota bred, she is 6-1. We don’t care where she ran – the figs say she is very, very swift, and the likeliest winner. Look for her to press the pace early, and draw away late. We will bet her to win. The bet: Keeneland, Race 9, $50 to win on 5-Xtreme Diva.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.