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Santa Anita Recap for Monday (12-26-22)

Fast main track and firm turf course. No front running winners on dirt. On the turf course, a 16-1 stalker upset the flat mile opener (G2 Mathis Mile), a midpack stalker won the G2 San Gabriel at 9f, a 5-1 closer from post 10 graduated at one mile, a 6-1 front runner from post 9 scored down the hill, a stalking favorite scored at 9f, and 6-1 closer ended the card with a win in the G1 American Oaks at 10f.

Juan Hernandez booted home four winners including a trio in the graded ranks. Hat track for Frankie Dettori. Riding double for Ramon Vazquez. On the trainer side of the ledger, Bob Baffert saddled five winners and Hernandez guided home two of those. Three of Baffert’s winners captured graded races.

Santa Anita Stakes Recaps for 12-26-22

Grade 2 Mathis Mile (8T): Big upset to begin the opening day program. My top choice Sumter jumped out to a clear early lead as expected, and One More Bid chased him from 2nd while saving ground early. Post time favorite Balnikov (IRE) lingered near the back of the pack like he always does. Sumter maintained the lead but One More Bid moved off the rail was getting closer, and Balnikov was uncorking his rally from off the pace. Sumter yielded late and One More Bid ($35.00) forged to a short lead between rivals with Balnikov finishing wide. The latter made a final bid but fell a nose short. Sumter was 3rd and I’m a Gambler (IRE), Handy Dandy, and Time to Party also ran. Ramon Vazquez rode the longshot winner for Ryan Hanson, and the final time was 1:33.67.

Grade 2 San Gabriel (9T): The opening quarter (24.58) and half (48.67) were reasonable with Rip City and Bob and Jackie showing the way. Solid favorite Masteroffoxhounds quickly joined the hunt and the pace was suddenly fast and contested. A strong second interior fraction of 22.88 set the table for the patient runners. My top choice Dicey Mo Chara ($9.60) got the wrong setup in the Hollywood Turf Cup (G2), but his connections had to be loving the race shape this time. He was bumped around early under Juan Hernandez, and he settled off the pace while saving ground. He moved out, took over, and held off 21-1 longshot Flashiest to score by a half-length. Masteroffoxhounds checked in 3rd and ran a solid race considering the pace. Prince Abama (IRE) was an even 4th and was followed by Bob and Jackie, Go On, and Rip City. The winner stopped the clock in 1:47.78.

Grade 2 San Antonio (8.5f): Country Grammer was using this as a prep for the Saudi Cup, and this race was too short for him, but he was the class of the field and won easily under Frankie Dettori. His stablemate Hopkins was running in a route for the first time, and he did his job as a rabbit. The pace was strong early and Country Grammer ($3.20) stalked wide from the outside post, took over, and cruised home to win by 4 1/2 lengths. Stilleto Boy pressed the pace, led for a short time, but could not match strides with the winner while clearly second best. Heywoods Beach was best of the rest in 3rd at a distance much too short for him. Breakfast Ride, Hudson Ridge, and Hopkins completed the order of finish. The final time was 1:43.45.

Grade 1 La Brea (7f): I picked the right Baffert runner in this event, mostly because I followed Juan Hernandez. Ganadora and Ain’t Easy dueled early, and Fun To Dream ($7.40) pressed outside, opened up, and held off Awake At Midnyte to score by a bit less than a length. Kirstenbosch was up for the show as the longest shot on the board at 31-1. Beaten favorite Midnite Memories was a wide, even 4th, and Ganadora, Ain’t Easy, and Under the Stars rounded out the order of finish. The winner completed her seven panel journey in 1:21.99.

Grade 1 Malibu (7f): Taiba is never flashy in the morning, and he needs encouragement to keep his mind on business in the afternoon. His jockey Mike Smith pushed him along to chase Forbidden Kingdom, and they were cruising right along through splits of 22.18, 44.38, and 1:08.91. Taiba ($2.80) grabbed the lead around the turn and was clear by 4 1/4 lengths when all was said and done. Forbidden Kingdom looked like he was in deep water for the minors but he fought hard to second the runner-up spot. Hoist the Flag, Nakatomi, and Strava were next. Apprehend, Straight No Chaser, Messier, and Perfect Flight also ran. Taiba ran this extended sprint distance in 1:21.75.

Grade 1 American Oaks (10T): Salimah (IRE) was the 5-2 favorite and she was surprisingly out front dictating the pace under Flavien Prat. I thought she would settle in midpack but the pace was not fast and Prat just went on with it. School Dance chased from 2nd and would not go away. Salimah ran out of stamina in the lane and School Dance hit the front, but you just knew a closer would get the win. Enter Rhea Moon ($15.60). The latter saved ground from the inside post under Juan Hernandez, and kicked it in high gear after finding running room to get up late by a head. School Dance did all of the pace dirt work and ran too good to lose to her stablemate. Sparkle Blue completed the trifecta and was a bit unlucky while racing in traffic along the inside under her substitute rider Bravo. Oakhurst was up for 4th at 45-1, and following her across the line was Skims (GB), Pizza Bianca, Salimah, Duvet Day (IRE), Lady Clementine (GB), Mise En Scene (GB), and Bellstreet Bridie (GB). This ten panel turf affair was run in 2:00.75.

The 20 cent Rainbow 6 pool was $553,795, and multiple tickets with six winners paid $401.78. The jackpot carryover stands at $126,787.

Santa Anita Full Card Highlights for Monday (12-26-22)
Double (races 2-3, $54.00)
SA 4 Faustin/Sonoran/Yellow Brick Trifecta ($58.60)
Double (races 3-4, $23.00)
Pick 3 (races 2-4, $134.60)
SA 8 FUN TO DREAM ($7.40), Exacta ($43.40)
Double (races 7-8, $47.60)
Pick 3 (races 6-8, $123.20)
Double (races 8-9, $24.20)
Pick 3 (races 7-9, $193.20)
SA 10 TAIBA (SA Best Bet #2, $2.80), Superfecta ($441.80)
Double (races 9-10, $9.60)
Pick 3 (races 8-10, $32.00)
Double (races 10-11, $21.20)
Pick 3 (races 9-11, $90.80)
Late Pick 4 (races 8-11, $348.20)

*Full card highlights based on $2 wagers unless otherwise noted.

SANTA ANITA PARK full card + FG & GG bonus races for Monday (12-26-22)
By Jarrod Horak
SA Weather: Partly Cloudy. High 78. SA Best Bets (races 7, 10, 11)
SA Early Pick 4-5, Middle Pick 4, and Late Pick 4-5 Spread Tickets included in .pdf file

December 26 Picks:

SA 1 (G2 Santa Anita Mathis Mile, 8T)
Primary – #7 SUMTER, #3 I’m a Gambler
Secondary – #1 Balnikov, #6 Handy Dandy
Wagers: #7 to win, Exacta Box 3-7, Trifecta 1-3-7/1-3-7/6

Comments: #7 Sumter (3-1) exits a wide, rallying show finish from the outside post in the Stormy Liberal at 5T. That race was too short for him. He won the local Singletary and Pasadena at this distance earlier this year, and he should make his presence felt from the outset. He reconnects with Smith, who guided him home in the Singletary. He might be the controlling speed. #3 I’m a Gambler (5-2) won four of his last five overseas turf starts at seven panels. Glatt has him now and Prat is 2-for-4 with this outfit recently. #1 Balnikhov (2-1) packs a strong late punch in flat mile turf races. Gaffalione rides back and he runs well fresh, and he could easily tag the speed if the pace heats up. #6 Handy Dandy (5-1) always finishes in the top three in flat mile turf races. Rosario takes the call and he can get a piece of this.

SA 2 (MSW, 8f)
Primary – #1 PRINCIP, #2 Purified
Secondary – #6 Palagio, #3 Bletchley Park
Wagers: #1 to win, Exacta Box 1-2, Trifecta 1-2/1-2-3-6/1-2-3-6

Comments: #1 Princip (5-2) should be fitter in his second dirt route, and Glatt has good stats with his second route starters. He stretched out, set the pace, and was second best to a runaway winner at one mile second time out Nov. 18. Prat takes the call and he should attend the pace from the rail. #2 Purified (2-1) hit the board in all three dirt sprints for Baffert. He attracts Johnny V and will probably stalk the pace, but his numbers dropped in all three outings. #6 Palagio (3-1) stretched out and missed by a nose at this course/distance second time out. He pressed and finished 3rd Aug. 4, and the 1-2 finishers were next-out winners. He broke slow, raced wide, and finished a disappointing 5th of 8 Sept. 2, and the winner and show finisher both won their next starts. He was crowded early and raced wide as the beaten favorite Nov. 18. He reconnects with Espinoza and might bounce back in his second start after a layoff. #3 Bletchley Park (7-2) has been a $2.6 million bust for Baffert. He removes blinkers, stretches back out, and reconnects with Hernandez. Look for him to attend the pace.

SA 3 (G2 San Gabriel, 9T)
Primary – #3 DICEY MO CHARA, #2 Masteroffoxhounds
Secondary – #6 Prince Abama, #7 Flashiest
Wagers: #3 to win, Exacta Box 2-3, Trifecta 2-3-6/2-3-6/7

Comments: #3 Dicey Mo Chara (3-1) exits a wide 4th as the beaten favorite in the Hollywood Turf Cup (G2). That race did not set up for him. Hernandez takes the call and his last win was at this course/distance. He should get pace to chase this time. #2 Masteroffoxhounds (2-1) does some of his best work at SA. He is back in top form and should attend the pace under Smith. #6 Prince Abama (5-2) got a great forwardly placed trip in a slow early/fast late renewal of the Hollywood Turf Cup (G2). The consistent, improving gelding figures to stalk the pace under Prat. #7 Flashiest (10-1) has not won in quite some time but deserves a look underneath. Rosario hops aboard and he should be finishing at a price.

SA 4 (MSW, 6f)
Primary – #7 WORCESTER, #3 Faustin
Secondary – #5 Yellow Brick, #4 Sonoran, #1 Jam Session
Wagers: #7 to win, Exacta Box 3-7, Trifecta 3-7/1-3-4-5-7/1-3-4-5-7

Comments: #7 Worcester (3-1) is a $180k Empire Maker colt and dam’s other two starters won. He is firing local bullets for this and Hernandez wins races with Baffert. #3 Faustin (2-1) is an $800k Curlin first timer for Baffert and his stakes-winning dam has tossed one winner from two starters. He fired a local half-mile gate bullet Dec. 10 and will probably hit the ground running. #5 Yellow Brick (5-2) is working like he has some ability for Mandella. His stakes-winning dam has produced a pair of stakes winners, and Prat ends up here. #4 Sonoran (6-1) is a $240k Ride On Curlin first timer and dam’s other starter won. Johnny V takes the call and he sports a pair of local 5f gate works for this. #1 Jam Session (8-1) was no threat from the rail in his dirt sprint bow, and he faced Speed Boat Beach, Hejazi, and Fort Bragg that day. He added blinkers, pressed strong fractions, and weakened in a turf sprint second time out. This is his first start as a gelding and McCarthy shows a profit with his turf/dirt starters.

SA 5 (MSW, 8T)
Primary – #4 MALTESE FALCON, #5 Dandy Man Shines
Secondary – #2 Hawker, #3 Secret Treasure
Wagers: #4 to win, Exacta 4/2-5, Exacta 2-5/4, Trifecta 2-4-5/2-4-5/3

Comments: #4 Maltese Falcon (4-1) was a clear 2nd of 14 in his extended sprint turf bow in Ireland. Powell shows a profit with this type of layoff runner and Prat ends up here. #5 Dandy Man Shines (5-2) dropped out of the graded ranks and rallied for the place as the beaten favorite vs. this kind at DMR Dec. 4. Rispoli strings along and he should be finishing in his second start after a layoff. #2 Hawker (3-1) finished an uncomfortable 5th of 11 in his first turf attempt Dec. 4. Rosario sticks with Sadler’s $675k son of Justify, and he deserves another chance on turf. #3 Secret Treasure(12-1) gets the services of Dettori, and he still has upside in just his third lifetime start. He switched to turf and ran into traffic when finishing 7th of 11 on Nov. 12. Dam has tossed a turf winner.

SA 6 (G2 San Antonio, 8.5f)
Primary – #4 HUDSON RIDGE, #6 Country Grammer
Secondary – #3 Breakfast Ride, #5 Heywoods Beach, #2 Stilleto Boy, #1 Hopkins
Wagers: #4 to win, Exacta Box 4-6
20 cent Rainbow Pick 6 Ticket (Races 6-11): 4-6/8-9-11/1-4-6/3-6-7-8-9-12/6/9 ($21.60)

Comments: #4 Hudson Ridge (6-1) finished an okay 5th of 9 in his turf route return Dec. 4. This is his second start as a gelding and he is firing training track bullets for this. Prat ends up here and the “other” Baffert should offer a hint of value due to his lack of quality dirt form. #6 Country Grammer (7-5) has a significant class edge in this spot for Baffert, but he wants more ground and this is a prep for the Saudi Cup. He reconnects with his winning Dubai World Cup (G1) pilot Dettori and figures to stalk the pace from the outside post. He is best at a mile and a quarter. #3 Breakfast Ride (4-1) captured four of his last six starts vs. lesser. Rosario takes the call and I like his early-pressing versatility. #5 Heywoods Beach (7-2) fits on class and speed ratings, but he might run out of ground at this trip. His last three wins on dirt were at longer distances (10f, 12f, 12f). #2 Stilleto Boy (5-1) won the local Californian (G2) earlier this year, and he projects a stalking trip under his new rider Smith. He is 2-for-3 at this distance and should offer a hint of value. #1 Hopkins (6-1) fired exacta shots in all four sprint starts. He landed the place in his first two starts and smartly won his last pair. He figures to play catch me if you can from the inside post for the productive Hernandez/Baffert team. This is his first route and stakes start, and his best races should be in front of him, but I am concerned about the added ground of this race.

SA 7 (Alw-1x, CA-bred, 6.5T hillside) – SA Best Bet
Primary – #11 TRUE PATRIOT, #8 Big Beauty
Secondary – #9 La Deuxième Etoile, #12 Dancing Dana
Wagers: #11 to win, Exacta 9-11-12/8, Trifecta 8-11/8-9-11-12/8-9-11-12

Comments: #11 True Patriot (6-1) is dangerous turning back in distance in her third start after a layoff. She landed the place in all three local turf sprints and Hernandez wins races with Gaines. #8 Big Beauty (7-2) landed the place in all four turf sprints. She reconnects with her winning rider Prat and will try to get involved late. #9 La Deuxieme Etoile (5-1) ran well in her last three turf starts. She wired the field in a local 8T affair Sept. 30, and stalked and finished a solid 3rd at 6T Oct. 30. She rallied for the show at one mile Nov. 25, and she cuts back and attracts Dettori. #12 Dancing Dana (8-1) set the pace and held the show at 8T Oct. 16. She ran well in a trio of local turf sprints earlier this year, and I like the turf rider upgrade to Berrios.

SA 8 (G1 La Brea, 7f)
Primary – #6 FUN TO DREAM, #1 Under the Stars
Secondary – #8 Awake At Midnyte, #4 Midnight Memories, #3 Ganadora, #5 Ain’t Easy
Wagers: #6 to win, Exacta 1-6/1-6-8, Trifecta 1-4-6/1-3-4-5-6/8

Comments: #6 Fun to Dream (5-1) is 4-for-5 overall and two of her wins were in the CA-bred stakes ranks. It looks like Hernandez had his choice to ride three Baffert runners, and he opted to stick with this filly. She is 2-for-2 at this course and distance, and an outer stalking trip is expected. #1 Under the Stars (7-2) is talented enough to win a race like this if she can overcome the inside post and her occasional gate woes. Prat booted her home twice including the Santa Ynez (G2) at this course and distance earlier this year. She is firing bullets for this and looks ready to run a quality race in her first start since Oct. 2. #8 Awake At Midnyte (8-1) was overmatched in the BC Distaff (G1) last time. She is best around one turn and drew the comfortable outside post. A stalking trip is expected and she fired in all three local attempts. #4 Midnight Memories (5-2) exits back-to-back stakes wins under Vazquez in the Torrey Pines (G3) and Zenyatta (G2). She is 3-for-3 at SA and should make her presence felt from the outset. #3 Ganadora (4-1) won her first two local sprints, and stretched out and was a well-beaten 4th in the Summertime Oaks (G2). She bounced back with a romping win in the Dark Mirage at one mile Sept. 18. She shows back-to-back local 6f bullets for this, and Johnny V rides for the first time. #5 Ain’t Easy (6-1) is interesting returning to dirt for D’Amato. Last year, she cruised in her sprint bow and clicked right back in the Chandelier (G2). She was sidelined for 5+ months and returned with show finishes in the Santa Ysabel (G3) and SA Oaks (G2). She threw in clunkers in the Eight Belles (G2) and Great Lady M (G2), and exits an encouraging show finish in an optional claiming turf sprint. Rosario is 2-for-2 with her and she should offer value.

SA 9 (Alw-1x, 9T)
Primary – #3 BALLET DANCING, #12 Karakatsie
Secondary – #7 Myfavoritedaughter, #9 Glenall, #6 Batyah, #8 Almost a Factor
Wagers: #3 to win, Exacta Box 3-12, Trifecta 3-12/3-6-7-8-9-12/6-8

Comments: #3 Ballet Dancing (4-1) adds blinkers and is back at her winning venue in her second start after a layoff. Dettori hops aboard and she should make her presence felt in the lane. #12 Karakatsie (5-1) has not won in quite some time, but she has run fast enough to capture a race like this multiple times. Rosario ends up here and she will probably stalk from the outside. #7 Myfavoritedaughter (6-1) went last-to-first in a local $32k/2L turf route Oct. 30. Cerin claimed her that day and she clicked right back in a starter allowance affair at DMR Nov. 18. The sharp filly might be able to handle the class hike. #9 Glenall (8-1) should work out a favorable tactical trip, and she might get first run under Rispoli. She finished a length and a quarter in front of Ballet Dancing last time. #6 Batyah (5-1) had a bit of an uncomfortable trip from an outer post when splitting a 10-horse field at DMR Nov. 19. Motion’s late striding filly usually leaves herself with too much work to do, but I can see her going better under Johnny V in her second start after a layoff. #8 Almost a Factor (10-1) receives a turf rider upgrade to Berrios. She earned a decent late pace rating Nov. 19 and should be finishing at square odds.

SA 10 (G1 Malibu, 7f) – SA Best Bet
Primary – #6 TAIBA
Secondary – #1 Forbidden Kingdom, #2 Messier
Wagers: Trifecta Key 6/4-5-8, Superfecta Key 6/1-2-4-5-8

$1 Golden Hour Pick 4 (SA 10, GG 10, SA 11, GG 11): 6/2-4-6-7/2-6-9/3-4-7-11 ($48)

Comments: #6 Taiba (6-5) followed up his winning sprint bow with a victory in the SA Derby (G1) second time out. He chased rapid fractions and finished 12th of 20 in a better than appears effort in the Ky Derby (G1). He stalked wide and just missed while probably best in the Haskell (G1), and stalked and easily scored in the PA Derby (G1). He was outfinished for the place in Flightline’s BC Classic (G1), and he turns back while returning to his home base. He probably holds a class edge and looks tough to deny as the deserving favorite. #1 Forbidden Kingdom (3-1) won the San Vicente (G2) and San Felipe (G2) at this oval earlier this year. He was sidelined after running last as the chalk in the SA Derby (G1), and he dueled and weakened in his return in the SA Sprint Championship (G2) Oct. 1. He set the pace and finished a close 3rd in a salty optional claimer vs. older foes Nov. 20, and he might be rounding back into top form. He is probably the one to catch from the rail and might not look back if he gets a clear early lead. #2 Messier (6-1) dueled, bled, and stopped as the beaten favorite at KEE last time. He does his best work at SA. He romped in his maiden sprint win, and his other local win was a walk in the park in the Robert Lewis (G3). He won the Bob Hope (G3) in his lone seven panel attempt last year and figures to stalk the pace under Johnny V. I like three longshots underneath. #8 Strava (15-1) exits a romping win in the slop at CD. Prat ends up here and he figures to stalk the pace while out in the clear. #4 Nakatomi (10-1) exits a decent optional claiming score over solid veteran Endorsed, and the latter returned to score at GP Dec. 22. Ward’s gelding is on the upswing and projects a stalking trip under his winning pilot Gaffalione. #5 Hoist the Gold (12-1) can stalk or close and likes picking up minor awards. He can rally for a share at a price under Rosario.

SA 11 (G1 American Oaks, 10T) – SA Best Bet
Primary – #9 SALIMAH, #2 Sparkle Blue
Secondary – #6 Mise En Scene, #1 Rhea Moon, #5 Bellestreet Bridie
Wagers: #9 to win, Exacta 9/2-6, Exacta 2-6/9, Trifecta Key 9/1-2-5-6

$5 Golden Hour Double (SA 11, GG 11): 9/3-4-7-11 ($20)
$5 Golden Hour Double (SA 11, GG 11): 1-2-5-6-9/7 ($25)

Comments: #9 Salimah (7-2) captured three of her four turf routes for Chad Brown. She stepped up and scored in the Winter Memories Nov. 13, and Prat was aboard in her entry level win Sept. 30. This race has been her target for several weeks. #2 Sparkle Blue (8-1) is a dangerous shipper for Motion. She has really turned the corner with the addition of blinkers in her last three starts. She won a minor stakes at Delaware Park July 2, landed the place in the Virginia Oaks, and scored in the Valley View (G3) at KEE last time. Rosario got to know her last time and she projects a decent tactical trip. #6 Mise En Scene (4-1) raced evenly and split a 12-horse field in the BC Filly & Mare Turf (G1) Nov. 5, and this is a better spot. She missed by a nose at this distance in GB Sept. 14. #1 Rhea Moon (8-1) always fires trifecta shots. She exits a local turf route stakes victory in Autumn Miss (G3), and she should be rolling late for the productive Hernandez/D’Amato team. #5 Bellstreet Bridie (4-1) chased the pace and smartly kicked away in her US bow in the Red Carpet (G3) at 11T Nov. 24. Prat abandons and she must avoid a bounce. Smith wins races with Glatt.

Rolling Daily Double & Pick 3 Contenders – in order of preference:
1 (7-3-1-6)
2 (1-2-6-3)
3 (3-2-6-7)
4 (7-3-5-4-1)
5 (4-5-2-3)
6 (4-6-3-5-2-1)
7 (11-8-9-12)
8 (6-1-8-4-3-5)
9 (3-12-7-9-6-8)
10 (6-1-2)
11 (9-2-6-1-5)

For $2 Rolling Doubles and 50 cent Pick 3 tickets, key the top choice in each race to all other contenders. See examples below:

$2 Double (Race 1-2):
Ticket 1 (7-1)
Ticket 2 (7/1-2-3-6)
Ticket 3 (1-3-6-7/1)

$2 Double (Races 2-3):
Ticket 1 (1-3)
Ticket 2 (1/2-3-6-7)
Ticket 3 (1-2-3-6/3)

50 cent Pick 3 (Race 1-3):
Ticket 1 (7-1-3)
Ticket 2 (7/1-2-3-6/2-3-6-7)
Ticket 3 (1-3-6-7/1/2-3-6-7)
Ticket 4 (1-3-6-7/1-2-3-6/3)


GG 10 (OC-50k/1x, 6f)
Primary – #4 STORMY SAMURAI, #7 Autism Blue
Secondary – #6 Love Candy, #2 Love’em N Leave’em
Wagers: #4 to win, Exacta Box 4-7, Trifecta 4-7/2-4-6-7/2-4-6-7

Comments: #4 Stormy Samurai (9-2) stalked the pace and finished 2nd to Love Candy Dec. 4. That was his best effort since a local win on Jan. 28, and he should make a good account of himself in his third start after a layoff. #7 Autism Blue (5-2) fired in all three local claiming starts this year. He returned from a 9+ month break and missed by a head after setting the pace Nov. 19, and Calvario claimed him for $6,250k. #6 Love Candy (7-2) exits back-to-back local wins and should make his presence felt in the lane. #2 Love’em N Leave’em (6-1) stalked and scored from this post Nov. 13, and misfired from the outside post in the common Dec. 4 affair. He can bounce back at playable odds.

GG 11 (Mcl-8k, 5.5f)
Primary – #7 TWO TWELVE, #11 Natalia
Secondary – #4 Jan’s Mighty River, #3 Stanford Miss
Wagers: #7 to win, Exacta Box 7-11, Trifecta 7-11/3-4-7-11/3-4-7-11

Comments: #7 Two Twelve (7-2) is tagged for the first time and recently hot trainer Mathis excels with special weight droppers. She should impact the pace. #11 Natalia (9-2) drops to a new low, and she turns back and switches to all-weather footing. The SoCal shipper will probably be competitive in this spot. #4 Jan’s Mighty River (8-1) might hit the ground running at a price. Many Rivers is a decent win early sire, dam’s other four starters won, and Ellen Jackson shows a profit with debut maiden claimers. #3 Stanford Miss (8-1) rates a look for win early sire Stanford. Batista shows a profit with first timers.


FG 8 (Letellier Memorial, 6f)
Primary – #2 DAZZLING BLUE, #4 Promise of Hope
Secondary – #3 Neutralize, #8 Twice as Sweet
Wagers: #2 to win, Exacta 2/3-4-8, Exacta 3-4-8/2

$1 Pick 6 (races 8-13): 2-3-4-8/2/7-8/2-3/4/5 ($16)

Comments: #2 Dazzling Blue (5-2) cruised to an easy front running win as the favorite in her CD bow Nov. 16. The $500k daughter of Into Mischief should attend the pace and Brad Cox is strong with his first lasix starters. #4 Promise of Hope (7-2) ran well in all five sprint starts. She added lasix and smartly scored in a local optional claiming sprint as the even money favorite Dec. 4. She figures to stalk the pace under Lanerie. #3 Neutralize (6-1) looked good in her winning CD bow at 41-1 odds. In that Nov. 23 affair, she pressed the pace and prevailed by a half-length. Stall Jr. is strong first lasix and the $260k Runhappy filly should make her presence felt from the outset. #8 Twice as Sweet (4-1) fired exacta shots in all four starts. She earned a quality speed rating in a romping win in the Smart Halo on a good track at LRL Nov. 12. She figures to stalk while in the clear from the outside post. She adds lasix for the first time.

FG 9 (Richard R. Scherer Memorial, 6f)
Primary – #2 MILES AHEAD, #1 Bango
Secondary – #3 Tulane Tryst, #7 Manny Wah
Wagers: #2 to win, Exacta Box 1-2, Trifecta 1-2-3/1-2-3/7

50 cent Pick 5 (races 9-13): 1-2-3-7/5-6-7-8/3/4/3-5-7-8-13 ($40)

Comments: #2 Miles Ahead (5-2) owns the best overall speed ratings. The 12-for-25 gelding won the GP Sprint earlier this year, and missed by a neck in the Kelly’s Landing and won the Louisville Thoroughbred Society in his last pair at CD. Garcia guided him home last time and he projects a similar stalking trip in this spot. #1 Bango (7-2) is 7-for-12 at this distance but is 0-for-2 at FG. He exits back-to-wins at CD and captured two stakes at that venue this year including the Bet On Sunshine Nov. 13. #3 Tulane Tryst (9-2) was part of the exacta in his last four starts. He likes this course and distance, and this is his first start in more than seven months. He needs pace help. #7 Manny Wah (3-1) does not win often and is 0-for-6 at FG. He upset the Phoenix (G2) Oct. 7 and finished 4th from the inside post in the BC Sprint (G1) last time. He gets class relief and will try to get involved late. I like him more underneath.

FG 10 (Buddy Diliberto Memorial, 8.5T)
Primary – #7 ENGLISH TAVERN, #8 Spanish Kingdom
Secondary – #6 Spooky Channel, #5 Captivating Moon
Wagers: #7 to win, Exacta Box 7-8, Trifecta 7-8/5-6-7-8/5-6-7-8

50 cent Pick 4 (races 10-13): 5-6-7-8/3/1-4-6/3-5-7-8-13 ($30)
50 cent Pick 4 (races 10-13): 5-6-7-8/2-3-7/4/5-7-13 ($18)

Comments: #7 English Tavern (7-2) stalked from 3rd and lost ground in the lane in a 4th of 7 in the “off the turf” River City Handicap Nov. 13. He crossed the line first in three of his last five turf routes and Lovell has good stats in non-graded stakes races. #8 Spanish Kingdom (5-1) hit the board in his last three starts and might have a bit more to offer in his third start after a layoff. His last win was at this course/distance under Monday’s rider Hernandez Jr. #6 Spooky Channel (4-1) makes his first start in more than a year. He won the Remington Green and Sycamore (G3) in his final two starts last year. He is 2-for-3 at this trip and will try to get involved late under his winning pilot Graham. #5 Captivating Moon (3-1) hit the board in his last three starts. He is 3-for-21 with ten minor awards on turf. Loveberry has been winning races with Block recently and he will try to get involved late.

FG 11 (Gun Runner, 8.5f)
Primary – #3 DETERMINEDLY, #2 Jace’s Road
Secondary – #7 Andthewinneris, #1 Hayes Strike
Wagers: #3 to win, Exacta 3/2-7, Exacta 2-7/3, Trifecta 2-3-7/2-3-7/1

Comments: #3 Determinedly (7-2) was no match for highly regarded Baffert trainee Arabian Knight at 7f Nov. 5, but he was miles clear of the show finisher in a solid effort that day. In his last start at seven panels, he attended below par fractions and graduated with ease. He stretches back out for the productive Saez/Casse team, and he will probably chase the pace. #2 Jace’s Road (3-1) was excellent in his winning dirt sprint bow as the favorite at Ellis Park. He stretched out, chased fast fractions, and finished a clear 3rd in the Iroquois (G3), and faded badly in the slop in the Street Sense (G3) last time. The track will be fast and he should make his presence felt from the outset. The $510k purchase might bounce back but he probably won’t offer much value. #7 Andthewinneris (7-2) finished fast in his winning turf sprint bow at KEE, and moved to dirt and finished a clear, distant 3rd in the Bashford Manor second time out. He completed in turf route stakes races in his last three starts. He stalked the pace and landed the show in the With Anticipation (G3), closed powerfully to take the Bourbon (G2), and split a 14-horse field in the BC Juvenile Turf (G1). If this dirt experiment does not pan out, he can always return to turf. #1 Hayes Strike (7-2) rallied from off the pace and picked up minor awards in his last two graded dirt routes. He reconnects with his winning rider Hernandez Jr. and come running for a share.

FG 12 (Untapable, 1 mile-70yds)
Primary – #4 VAHVA, #6 The Alys Look
Secondary – #1 Pretty Mischievous
Wagers: #4 to win, Exacta 4/1-6, Exacta 1-6/4

Comments: #4 Vahva (7-2) improved her speed ratings in all there starts. She was well-beaten in her SAR sprint bow, and stalked, opened up, and missed by a half-length at seven panels second time out. She stalked wide from post 11 and smartly graduated in an extended sprint at CD last time, and she earned a quality late pace rating. This added distance should be within reach. #6 The Alys Look (4-1) rallied to finish a respectable 3rd from an outer post in her 7f bow. She appeared to hate the slop second time out, and got to the front and cruised home in a local fast track route Dec. 1 (blinkers off, lasix on). #1 Pretty Mischievous (3-1) stalked and scored in her first two sprints, and ended up an okay 3rd behind talented filly Hoosier Philly in the Golden Rod (G2) at 8.5f last time.

FG 13 (Tenacious, 8.5f)
Primary – #5 FORZA DI ORO, #13 Mr. Wireless
Secondary – #3 Intrepid Heart, #8 Chess Chief, #7 Farmington Road
Wagers: #5 to win, Exacta 5-13/3-5-13, Trifecta 5-7-13/3-5-7-8-13/3-7

Comments: #5 Forza Di Oro (7-2) is a lightly raced, fragile 5yo with ability. Brad Cox is his third trainer, and he has struck twice at this distance. He easily won the Discovery (G3) in 2020 and completed the trifecta in the JCGC (G1) last year. He dueled and faded to last in his lone 2022 outing in the Iselin (G3) Aug. 22. His new trainer has found a nice spot and he should work out a decent early-pressing trip. #13 Mr. Wireless (6-1) is 6-for-12 overall and does some of his best work at this distance (4 3-1-0). The post is no bargain but he is sharp and fresh, and he will try to work out a stalking trip without losing too much ground. #3 Intrepid Heart (9-2) won a local starter allowance dirt route March 1, and he completed the exacta in his last six starts (two stakes placings). He removes blinkers and might land a share. #8 Chess Chief (10-1) is unreliable, but he does his best work at FG and won this race last year at 10-1 odds. #7 Farmington Road (8-1) was on the Triple Crown trail in 2020. The late runner moved to the DeVaux barn and smartly rallied to win an optional claiming dirt route at 35-1 odds Nov. 13.

Analysis by Jarrod Horak

Jarrod Horak

Jarrod Horak posts stakes recaps from Del Mar and Santa Anita Park, along with full card recaps and free stakes picks from Southern and/or Northern California.