Garrity's Sunday Stakes picks the Native Diver at Del Mar plus two other races

Garrity's first post is at 6:25 pm EST.
Racing at Del Mar.
Racing at Del Mar.@DelMarRacing on Twitter

With the national stakes schedule weak, we are looking West, where we like the last three races on the Sunday card at Del Mar. We expect fast dirt and firm turf where the turf meets the surf, so let’s go.

Del Mar, Race 7, 6:25 pm ET

Allowance/Optional Claiming, 1 mile, Turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up

This first-level allowance race for turf fillies and mares drew a field of eleven. We expect improvement from 12-Grace Period, a 3-year-old filly who began her career in France, where she was bred, before being brought to North America over the summer. She has run once on this side of the pond, where she disappointed, doing a speed-and-fade in a similar spot last month at Santa Anita. Good news is that we think that she will do even better today with that race under her belt; even better news is that she has caught a very weak group, one she should be able to handle. We will bet her to win at 5-1. The bet: Del Mar, Race 7, $40 to win on 12-Grace Period.

Del Mar, Race 8, 6:55 pm ET

Grade 3 Native Diver Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, 3 & Up

Seven go in the Native Diver. The pick is 6-Skinner, who has burned more money than a sailor on shore leave, losing eight of his nine races, frequently at very short prices. On that level, he would appear to be a sucker horse, and a terrible bet, but we are giving him a pass, as most of his races have been against far, far tougher company, like his last two, which were in the Awesome Again and the Pacific Classic, Grade 1 races at Santa Anita and Del Mar, respectively. Skinner will appreciate the class relief here, and he will also appreciate what should be a swift early pace, which will favor his stretch-running style. We bet him to win at 4-1. The bet: Del Mar, Race 8, $40 to win on 6-Skinner.

Del Mar, Race 9, 7:25 pm ET

Maiden Special Weight, 1/16 miles, Turf, 3 & Up

The nightcap at Del Mar drew a field of eleven. We cannot get past 7-Nation, an invader from Kentucky, whose one career start was a runner-up finish in a Keeneland maiden race on October 25. In terms of quality, California turf racing these days is several rungs below the races back East, and we think that makes Nation strictly the one to beat. We’ll try to end the day, and our year, with a bang, by playing Nation to win at 5/2 odds, and betting aggressively. The bet: Del Mar, Race 9, $60 to win on 7-Nation.

That’s all for today, and that’s all for 2023. We’ll be taking our annual winter freshening over the next few weeks, but will be back on December 26 – for those of you scoring at home, that’s Opening Day at Santa Anita Park, and the unofficial beginning of the winter racing season.

Until then, enjoy the races, enjoy the holidays, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.

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