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Garrity's Saturday Stakes picks 5 races at Fair Grounds NOLA, with Grade 2 Risen Star, a Kentucky Derby Prep

Garrity's first post is 5:21 pm ET.

There’s a lot of action at the Fair Grounds today, and there’s not much action anywhere else, so we’re going all in on the card in the Big Easy: we have plays in five races in New Orleans, all of them stakes, and all of them good betting contests. We expect fast dirt and firm turf for all five races, so let’s go.

Fair Grounds, Race 10, 5:21 pm ET

$100,000 Albert M. Stall Memorial Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Turf, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up

A field of thirteen filly and mare turfers lines up for the Albert M. Stall. The horses stabled locally do not overly impress us, which makes the pick 5-Spirit and Glory, a shipper who makes her seasonal debut, and her first start off a layoff of over six months, in this spot. This 5-year-old mare ran, and ran well, against some pretty good company last year, including a runner-up finish when she shipped West to run second in the Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon at Del Mar last August, finishing a neck behind Closing Remarks, who has won multiple graded stakes. Suffice it to say that Spirit and Glory will not face a rival of that caliber here, so we will bet her to win at 3-1. The bet: Fair Grounds, Race 10, $40 to win on 5-Spirit and Glory.

Fair Grounds, Race 11, 5:50 pm ET
Grade 3 Mineshaft Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 4 & Up

Nine go in the Mineshaft. The pick is 4-Gasoline, who had trouble in each of his two most recent starts, getting bumped last out, and having to race very wide the time before that. His inside post position should allow jockey John Velazquez to negotiate a better trip for him here, which is trouble for the rest of the field, because when he is fit and sound, Gasoline is very good. We will bet him to win at 4-1. The bet: Fair Grounds, Race 11, $40 to win on 4-Gasoline.

Fair Grounds, Race 12 6:19 pm ET
Grade 3 Fair Grounds Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Turf, 4 & Up

The Fair Grounds is a very good turf stakes for older horses; it drew a full field of twelve. We are taking a shot on a pace meltdown, and a victory from 5-Palazzi. He’s a deep closer who, like most horses with his running style, is at the mercy of what happens in front of him during a race’s early stages: when the early pace is swift, he does well; when the early pace is slow or moderate, he usually finishes out of the money. We think the early pace will be very fast here, which will set up his late charge quite effectively. We will bet Palazzi to win at 15-1. The bet: Fair Grounds, Race 12, $40 to win on 5-Palazzi.

Fair Grounds, Race 13, 6:48 pm ET

Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies

Seven are entered in the Rachel Alexandra. Partly because of the smallish size of the field, and partly because of the traits of the fillies comprising it, we are going with a speed play, in the form of 2-Pennick, who should get the early lead, and should do so easily enough that her six rivals will have a hard time catching up to her. We see a front-running victory, and will consequently bet Pennick to win at 8-1. The bet: Fair Grounds, Race 13, $40 to win on 2-Pennick.

Fair Grounds, Race 14, 7:17 pm ET

Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes, 1 ⅛ miles, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds

The Risen Star is the best Kentucky Derby prep that has been run so far, with a deep and talented field of twelve scheduled to go to the gate. We like 7-Hall of Fame, and we like him quite a bit: we’re not sure that he beat much in his last start, when he bested maidens at the Fair Grounds on January 20, but are sure that the figures he earned that day, both pace and speed, were sensational: This is a horse who has abundant speed, and a pedigree that suggests he will thrive at this mile and an eighth distance. We think Hall of Fame goes right to the front in this race, and stays in front all the way around the track. We will bet him to win at 6-1 odds. The bet: Fair Grounds, Race 14, $40 to win on 7-Hall of Fame.

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

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