Garrity's Saturday Stakes picks 5 races – four of them graded – at Aqueduct, Churchill Downs and Del Mar
A pair of stakes on each coast sandwich a trio of 2-year-old races in Kentucky on this Thanksgiving Saturday: we have five plays today, and we expect fast dirt and firm turf in all. Let’s go.
Aqueduct, Race 9, 3:43 pm ET
Grade 3 Comely Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies
Eight go in the Comely. The pick is 8-Raging Sea, whose last two races, a win and a runner-up finish in a pair of allowance races, were excellent, and who has both the pedigree and the running style to thrive at this nine-furlong distance. This daughter of superstar stallion Curlin showed a lot of promise last year, including a third-place finish in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies, and while she’s not been as good this year, we think that her best races are still in front of her. She may get the early lead, or she may press the pace; either way, Raging Sea is headed to the winner’s circle. We will bet her to win at 5/2. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 9, $40 to win on 8-Raging Sea.
Churchill Downs, Race 9, 4:48 pm ET
$225,000 Ed Brown Stakes, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, 2-Year-Olds
The Ed Brown drew a field of nine juveniles. There are two things about the group that we think we know: the first is that if morning line favorite 9-Booth runs like he did last time, when he earned a big speed figure winning a maiden race by 5 ¼ lengths in his career debut last month, he will win again today. The second is that he is no cinch to do so, as he won that race by virtue of his superior early speed, and he is going to have some company up front this afternoon. At a short price – he’s 7/5 on the morning line, and likely to be shorter at post time – we think he’s a play-against.
The pick is 8-Divieto. The way he ran in his last start, when he led all the way while setting very quick fractions in a minor allowance at Gulfstream Park, makes us think that he’s going to move forward today, especially since he cuts back to a 6 ½ furlongs after running a mile last out. If a speed duel develops on the front end here, and we think it will, then Divieto should be ideally positioned to pounce, and to seize control of the race while the pacesetters run out of gas. We will bet Divieto to win at 8-1. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 9, $40 to win on 8-Divieto.
Churchill Downs, Race 10, 5:18 pm ET
Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 2-Year-Old Fillies
The two colts in the Golden Rod who look the best to us, out of the eight entered, are the two on the outside, 8-West Sunset and 9-Thorpedo Anna. This is not an especially incisive observation, as they are the top two program choices, but we think this race is playable because we favor Thorpedo Anna, who we think will be better at this mile and a sixteenth distance, and we think we’ll get a decent price on her, as she is trained by Kenny McPeek, who does not get the attention of bettors the way Brad Cox, who conditions West Sunset, does. On the morning line, West Sunset is 2-1, and Thorpedo Anna 8/5; we think those odds are fair, but because of the trainers, we think West Sunset will go off as the favorite. That makes Thorpedo Anna a good play; we will bet her to win. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 10, $40 to win on 9-Thorpedo Anna.
Churchill Downs, Race 11, 5:48 pm ET
Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 2-Year-Olds
Some races are hard to handicap, but we found the Kentucky Jockey Club, which drew an octet of 2-year-olds, straightforward: 7-Risk It looks clearly the best. He was the beaten favorite in his last start, when he ran second in the Iroquois at Churchill Downs on September 16, but we think he ran very well that day, finishing gamely after contesting sizzling early fractions. We’d be impressed with that kind of effort in any race, but considering that it was Risk It’s first start beyond six furlongs, it looks even better. We think he blows away this field, and will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Churchill Downs, Race 11, $50 to win on 7-Risk It.
Del Mar, Race 7, 6:25 pm ET
Grade 2 Seabiscuit Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, 3 & Up
We turn to Southern California, and to the turf, for our last race of the day, the Seabiscuit at Del Mar, which drew a field of eight. Trainer Phil D’Amato starts three of them, and we like one of them, 2-Easter, a French-bred who spent the spring and summer running against tougher competition on the New York circuit. She has little early speed, but has a terrific late kick; we think that will serve her well here, as the presence of 1-Sumter, who has a sprinter’s speed, should produce a robust early pace that will favor closers. Look for Easter to be flying late; we will bet her to win at 3-1. The bet: Del Mar, Race 7, $40 to win on 2-Easter.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.