Garrity's Sunday Stakes picks Aqueduct – the Sleepy Hollow, Hudson Stakes, and Empire Classic
It’s Empire Showcase Day in New York, and it’s also closing day of the absurdly named “Belmont at the Big A” meet, a bit of linguistic slight-of-hand designed to obfuscate the fact the races are run at grubby old Aqueduct and not fancy Belmont Park. We think this is a repulsive and inexcusable swipe at Aqueduct, a terrific (and criminally underrated) racetrack, but that is a subject for another time.
Fortunately, the racing today at the Big A is quite good. We have selected three races for some action on this last Sunday in October; all are on dirt, and we are expecting a fast main track. Let’s go.
Aqueduct, Race 8, 4:22 pm ET
$200,000 Sleepy Hollow Stakes, 1 mile, Dirt, New York-bred 2-Year-Olds
Ten juveniles line up for the Sleepy Hollow. On pace, the race looks pretty close to a layover, as 1-El Grande O has run much faster, much more frequently, and against much tougher company, than his nine rivals. He is also trained by Linda Rice, who has been hot of late. All signs point to El Grande O, so naturally, we are betting against him.
We will do so with 3-Aggelos the Great. He is lightly raced, and while that is a negative in the sense that he is not as battle-tested as the favorite, it might be a positive in that he may have more room for improvement. He has three starts, we like how he has progressed in each of them, and we think that a step forward here makes him a contender. Aggelos is probably not great, but today he may be good enough. We will bet him to win. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 8, $40 to win on 3-Aggelos the Great.
Aqueduct, Race 9, 4:54 pm ET
$150,000 Hudson Stakes, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, New York-breds 3 & Up
The Hudson came up a strong race, with a good field of nine older state-bred sprinters going to the post. The pick is 8-Ny Traffic, who returned from a thirteen-month layoff in his last start, when he was very sharp winning an allowance race, against open company, six weeks ago. That should be an excellent tightener for him in this spot, and it is also a sign that he is back from the physical ailments that put him on the sidelines. Look for him to win with a pace-pressing trip from his outside post. We will bet him to win at 2-1. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 9, $40 to win on 8-Ny Traffic.
Aqueduct, Race 8, 5:24 pm ET
$250,000 Empire Classic, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, New York-breds 3 & Up
The Empire Classic is the richest race of the day at the Big A, so it’s good to see that it drew a decent field, a nice group of ten older state-breds. The pick is 7-Sheriff Bianco, who has not won a race in quite a while, but who has been competing against much stiffer company, as evidenced by last start, when he ran a decent fourth in the Grade 2 Vosburgh, a race won by Cody’s Wish, who is merely the best middle-distance dirt horse in the world right now. Suffice it to say that Sheriff Bianco will not be facing a horse anywhere close to this level today; we think the result will be similar to the last time he ran against his fellow New York-breds, which was in the Evan Shipman at Saratoga in August, a race he won. We will bet Sheriff Bianco to win at 5-1. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 8, $40 to win on 7-Sheriff Bianco.
That’s all for today. Until the next time, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.