Sunday 12.26 Fair Grounds Picks and Santa Anita Picks: God's Tipster handicaps 11 races, many stakes

Racing at Fair Grounds.

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Sunday 12.26 Fair Grounds Picks and Santa Anita Picks: God's Tipster handicaps 11 races, many stakes

Potential young superstars such as Flightline and Shaaz will be on the track on opening day at Santa Anita.

Friday’s Race Recap from Gulfstream Park:

(All odds US)

Replays for yesterday’s races from Gulfstream can be found below 👇🏼

Gulfstream Park:

Race 2: 4th@ 12.20/1

Race 5: 7th@ 15.40/1

Race 7: 1st@ 0.70/1 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Race 10: 6th@ 5.80/1

Our Christmas Eve race day began with Unbridled Chrome hitting the gate and racing wide near the back of the pack. He closed some ground but never threatened the winner. In Race 5, our first time starter Aries Reigns bumped at the break and had traffic early. Looked like he needed the race under his belt and will benefit from experience. We got on the board in Race 7 with Yes I’m a Beast taking it to them early en route to an easy win at odds on. In Race 10, Malthael saved ground early and weakened late finishing sixth. A winner with three off the board finishes on the day.

Happy Boxing Day to everyone ! We’ve got some exciting Stakes action from around the States on tap for Sunday. We’ll be handicapping races from Fair Grounds where we expect sunny skies and fast and firm conditions. We’ve also got races from Santa Anita where it’s supposed to pour rain on Saturday so we’re unsure of whether or not the track will be muddy there. We’ll avoid turf racing there just in case. With no racing on Saturday and none coming on Monday or Tuesday, I’m giving out a record number of 11 selections today. I am including a few horses at low odds for Sunday because despite those odds being low on the morning line, they offer value if you’re able to lock in those odds with your bookmaker. Let’s get to work!

Sunday Picks

Fair Grounds:

Race 2: Bootsie’s Galaxy - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 5/1)

Allowance runners sprint 6 furlongs and I see a speed duel shaping up between a few of these. If that happens, Bootsie’s Legacy would stand to benefit. This runner will be coming off a May layoff for a trainer who’s winning at a robust 25% on the meet. This runner has three wins at the distance and two on the track already and has enough tactical speed where he should have first run on the firing leaders.\

Race 4: Omkara - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 12/1)

Two year old maiden fillies fight it out going six furlongs and Beyond Perfection – on the outside – is bred to be any kind and will likely take a lot of play but Steve Asmussen’s cold streak from the fall has continued into the winter where he’s 0 for 22 at Fair Grounds. Omkara debuts for a barn that’s 16% with first time starters by Ghostzapper out of a dam – Kareena – who put up a rare 98 speed figure on debut. Her dam’s dam, India - put up a 95 speed figure in the second start of her career. Precocity is in the bloodlines and I think she’s great value here at 12/1.

Race 5: Summer in Saratoga - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 9/5)

Our first stakes this afternoon from Fair Grounds and I’m picking the favorite who really should be 1/1 in this spot. Not only is she the class of the field - coming off a Grade 3 win and facing some runners who have been losing in claiming races, but she’s also has the right running style with enough speed signed on to set up her late close.

Race 7: Manny Wah - US Morning Line Odds: 9/2)

Turf sprinters go 5 1/2 furlongs and Just Might is likely to take the lion's share of the action but the last time he ran on this turf course he finished second to Manny Wah. Manny Wah was making his turf debut that day in a stakes and he won like he may have a serious future sprinting on turf - finishing with a flourish to win going away. With plenty of speed signed on, Manny Wah should have the right setup.

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Race 8: Happy American - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 10/1)

More stakes action as the Tenacious Stakes will be run at 1 1/16th miles on the main track. Around this time last year, Happy American was going off at odds of 100/1 in maiden races and losing by 12 lengths. What a difference a year makes as the lightbulb appears to have gone on for this runner after impressive back to back wins. In his most recent start both the second and third place finishers returned to win their subsequent starts. Trainer Neil Pessin, of Bell’s the One, fame trains that multiple graded Stakes winner for this same ownership group. Lots to like for a 10/1 shot.

Race 9: Spooky Channel - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 4/1)

Turf runners will go a mile and a sixteenth in this one and Spooky Channel is the class of this race. He’s been fed a steady diet of stakes competition these last few years and has won 11 of 25 starts including his last two. He gets Lasix back today, James Graham knows how to win with him and he’s got two wins at the distance. Very good value at 4/1 here.

Race 10: Cocktail Moments - 2 pts win - BEST BET (US Morning Line Odds: 3/1)

There might be some OK horses in this edition of the Untapable - a Stakes race for two year old fillies but Cocktail Moments won’t lose this race if she runs back to her debut effort. And horses typically improve in their second career start. Left off at 26/1 odds on debut, Cocktail Moments lagged behind before unleashing a furious rally from second by two lengths on the turn to in front of the field by a widening 9 1/4 lengths on the wire. Not only that but she was absolutely running out of her skin, striding out powerfully. Trainer Ken McPeek has an interesting stat: with dirt running two year olds making their second career start in a stakes race, he’s won with 7 of 14 runners. This looks like a filly with a future and if you can lock in 3/1 odds, be like Mike and JUST DO IT!!

Race 11: Epicenter - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 5/2)

The 1 1/16th mile Gun Runner Stakes for two year olds is named for a champion horse from the last decade who happened to be owned and trained by the same folks who own and train our selection here. While Steve Asmussen has been chilly here at Fair Grounds so far, Epicenter has the speed nearest the rail and I don’t know who’s supposed to go with him. Tejano Twist is stretching out of sprint races and to me seems like a better sprinter. He’s not fast enough to hang with Epicenter early. If Epicenter can get a clear lead early it will be a wrap for the rest of the field.

Santa Anita:

Race 4: Shaaz - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 6/5)

A field of blue-blooded maidens sprint 6 1/2 furlongs here including one out of champion mare Beholder. Shaaz comes from the barn of Bob Baffert who wins with 28% of his first time starters and John Velazquez is named to ride. These are the same connections who won the 2020 Kentucky Derby with Authentic and the 2021 Kentucky Derby with the ill fated Medina Spirit. The workouts look great in the racing form but the word on the street is that this blue blooded first time starter is already out-working top quality runners including American Pharoah’s half brother and Malibu contender, Triple Tap. Will be a handful and if you can get 6/5 it looks like good value.

Race 6: Express Train - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 7/2)

Here we have the Grade 2 San Antonio at a mile and a sixteenth on the main track. Our likely heavy favorite is Hot Rod Charlie who’s coming off a fourth place finish in the Breeder’s Cup Classic. He hasn’t run as well at a mile and a sixteenth as he has run at longer distances - although the argument could be made that he was running those races earlier in his career. Im siding with a runner whose best races have come over this surface and has better races at the distance than the favorite. There should be plenty of pace on to set up for his closing kick.

Race 10: Flightline - 2 pts win - BEST BET (US Morning Line Odds: 4/5)

You don’t need a handicapper to tout you onto a 4/5 favorite but that’s exactly what I’m going to do because based on his first two starts, if you can lock in 4/5 on this runner, it’s actually worth it. Flightline has raced twice and has won by 13 lengths both times. First time out there may have been some question about his level of competition but second time out, two of the runners he faced improved their speed figure in their next start by 16 points and 11 points. Well bred, top connections and the sky is the limit for this potential superstar. It’s been a while since we’ve had a prospect like this one and I’m excited to watch him finally get the chance to strut his stuff against some toughies.

Best of luck to everyone playing Sunday’s races from Fair Grounds and Santa Anita!

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