Garrity's Sunday New Year's Eve Stakes Picks for Aqueduct, Gulfstream Park, Oaklawn and Santa Anita

Garrity's first post is 3:40 pm ET.
Racing at Oaklawn.
Racing at Oaklawn.Photo by @Coady Photography | @OaklawnRacing on Twitter

Others may have different ways of celebrating the end of one year, and ringing in a new one, but our preferred celebratory custom is betting on horses running in circles. As we say good riddance to 2023, and look forward to what we all hope will be a better 2024, we have plays in four races, in New York, Florida, Arkansas, and California. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all of them, so let’s go.

Aqueduct, Race 8, 3:40 pm ET

$150,000 Queens County Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, 3 & Up

Eight go in the Queens County. The play, and a strong one, is 7-King Kumbalay, who ships to New York after an excellent win in a minor stakes at Laurel Park. We might like him just for that race, as he earned a superior speed figure in it, but throw in the fact that he appears to have a significant pace advantage – he has good early speed in a field that mostly lacks it – and King Kumbalay looks by far the best of this group. We will bet him to win at 9/2. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 8, $50 to win on 7-King Kumbalay.

Gulfstream Park, Race 10, 4:34 pm ET

$100,000 Janus Stakes, 5  furlongs, Turf, 3 & Up

The nightcap at Gulfstream Park in South Florida is this 5 furlong turf dash. It drew a field of ten. 10-Yes I Am Free has three things we like in these kinds of races: good recent form, abundant speed, and an outside post position. We think he goes right to the front as soon as the gates open, and stays in front all the way around the track. We will bet him to win at 5/2 odds. The bet: Gulfstream Park, Race 10, $40 to win on 10-Yes I Am Free.

Oaklawn Park, Race 9, 5:14 pm ET

$200,000 Year’s End Stakes, 1 mile, Dirt, 2-Year-Old Fillies

The appropriately named Year’s End stakes, a mile dirt race for 2-year-old fillies, drew a field of seven. We’re all in on 7-Denim and Pearls, who is undefeated in two starts for trainer Brad Cox, and who figures to get a dream trip from her outside post, sitting just behind what should be a swift early pace, moving forward when the pacesetters begin to tire. She won’t make anyone rich – she’s 2-1 on the morning line, and figures to be shorter by post time – but we think there is value in every winner, and Denim and Pearls looks like a winner. We will bet her to win. The bet: Oaklawn Park, Race 9, $50 to win on 7-Denim and Pearls.

Santa Anita Park, Race 7, 5:59 pm ET

$100,000 Lady of Shamrock Stakes, 1 mile, Turf, 3-Year-Old Fillies

The Lady of Shamrock, a mile race for seven fillies who will turn 4 tomorrow, goes as Race 7 at Santa Anita. The favorite, 4-Ruby Nell, makes sense on paper, as she won the Grade 3 Autumn Miss two back, and finished a close fifth in the Grade1 Matriarch in her last start, but we think she will be an underlay, as her edge over the rest of the field is nowhere near as large as her 3/5 morning line number would indicate. We prefer 5-Princess Bettina, who did some good work in Southern California earlier in the year, winning the China Doll Stakes in March, but spent the summer getting drubbed in a couple of races back East. We are willing to excuse those efforts, as she faced tougher competition in both of those starts, and she seems poised to rebound here, and to do so at 4-1 odds that we find attractive. We will bet her to win. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 7, $40 to win on 5-Princess Bettina.

That’s all for today. Until tomorrow, enjoy the races, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.

Trending Stories

No stories found.
Bettors Insider