Garrity's Black Friday Stakes picks the Mrs. Revere and Clark at Churchill Downs, Hollywood Turf at Del Mar
Everyone who spent time yesterday overeating, and listening to a loudmouth relative, probably needs a break, and we think a fine way to cleanse both body and soul is with a flutter on horses running in circles. While others are at the mall, let’s focus on three stakes races, a pair at Churchill Downs and a one at Del Mar. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all races, except as noted below, so let’s go.
Churchill Downs, Race 10, 5:18 pm ET
Grade 2 Mrs. Revere Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, 3-year-Old Fillies
The Mrs. Revere, which will be run on good turf, drew a dozen 3-year-old turf fillies. The one who caught our eyes is 3-Neecie Marie, and what drew our attention is not her form, which is merely OK, but her trainer: Butch Reid, who is based at Parx in suburban Philadelphia, is as sharp as they come when it comes to placing horses, and it looks to us like he has found a good spot for this Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Cross Traffic. With turf racing in the Northeast shut down for good, we think that Reid is going to have a successful trip to Kentucky; look for Neecie Marie to bide her time early, and to prevail with a big late run. We will bet her to win at 4-1. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 10, $40 to win on 3-Neecie Marie.
Churchill Downs, Race 11, 5:48 pm ET
Grade 1 Clark Stakes, 1⅛ miles, Dirt, 3 & Up
A good field of ten lines up for the Clark. We think we know the abilities of most of the entrants, but the pick is one whose best races seem to be in front of him: it’s 2-First Mission, a 3-year-old who has shown a lot of talent in his four-race career, but who has also had some physical problems, including when a hind leg issue caused him to be scratched out of the Preakness, a race he had a very good shot to win, after entries had been drawn. Those injuries kept him away for the races for a while, but he returned from a six-month layoff last month in very sharp form, winning an allowance race at Keeneland, and he should move forward off that effort. We don’t know how good First Mission is going to be, but we suspect it will be both very good overall, and good enough to beat this field. We will play him to win at 3-1. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 11, $40 to win on 2-First Mission.
Del Mar, Race 7, 6:28 pm ET
Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup, 1½ miles, Turf, 3 & Up
Eight go in the Hollywood Turf Cup, but we have eyes for just one: 1-Francesco Clemente, a 4-year-old Irish-bred who began his career in England, where he showed some ability, enough that he was brought to the U.S. last summer. He has yet to run in a graded stakes race, but the way he won his last start, when he beat eight rivals in an Aqueduct allowance a month ago, is a sign to us that he is ready. Look for him to be relaxed early, and rolling late. We will bet him to win at 3-1 odds. The bet: Del Mar, Race 7, $50 to win on 1-Francesco Clemente.
That’s all for today. Until the next time, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.