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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:51 PM

Saturday's Picks from Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita Park

My plan during the nine-day holiday break with no racing in New York was just to lounge around the house, but since that is pretty much what I have been doing for most of 2020, I’d rather spend the day after Christmas gambling.

We have an outstanding 11-race card on opening day of the Santa Anita meet. We have six stakes on the card including three Grade 1 races. So, I handicapped the entire card and also took a good look at Gulfstream Park as well.

There are three stakes at Gulfstream Park this afternoon, each worth $75,000—the H. Allen Jerkens at two-miles on turf and the Tropical Park Derby and Tropical Park Oaks, both at 1 1/16 miles.

Opening day at Santa Anita is always special, and while there will be no fans in attendance, we will be home firing away a few wagers.

The $300,000 La Brea (G1) drew a competitive field of 11 three-year-old fillies led by the Steve Asmussen trained Finite, who is coming off a victory in the Chilukki (G3) at Churchill Downs.

The $300,000 American Oaks drew 10 fillies that will travel 1 ¼ miles on turf. 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) winner Sharing is the 3-1 morning line favorite. The $300,000 Malibu (G1) drew just six and while it may not be a great betting race is pits two very talented three-year-olds.

The Bob Baffert trained Charlatan makes his first start since crossing the wire first by six lengths in the Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park. A drug positive ended up disqualifying the colt from the win.

He will face the up and coming Nashville, who has won his three starts by a combined 24 ¾ lengths. He won the Perryville in gate to wire fashion and was geared down in the final furlong.

I ended up going with Nashville, who seems likely to run them off their feet and just looks like a seriously talented three-year-old.

My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my 11 strongest plays from Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park including all of the stakes action.

You can stream the action by using the TVG App. The horse betting company based in the U.S. is offering a 50% deposit match up to $250 .

To purchase my Santa Anita for Saturday click here and for my Best Plays Reports click here .

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Here is the opener from Santa Anita to get the day off to a good start: 


Race 1 Alw $63,000N1X

  • #10 Hermaphrodite   3-1
  • #11 Shanghai Truffles   4-1
  • #4 Avenue de France   8-1
  • #2 Sassyerb   8-1

Analysis: Hermaphrodite was outrun early and finished evenly in a fifth-place finish at this level going a mile at Del Mar in her U.S. debut. She ran second in a Group 3 in France back in '18 and was fifth beaten four lengths in Group 2 company in her last outing before shipping across the pond. The mare should be tighter in her second start off the bench here for the Sadler barn. Rosario picks up the call as Rispoli is back on board our second choice in here. The extra ground here will suit her, her maiden score coming at 1 1/2 miles and her runner up finish in G3 company coming at 1 9/16 miles.

Shanghai Truffles stalked the early pace and came with a good late rally to finish third last out at this level going a mile at Del Mar. She beat $50,000 starter allowance foes two back, her third career win on turf. She reunites with Rispoli who was aboard for her win two back and she looks capable of handling the stretch out to nine furlongs. 


Race 10 The Tropical Park Oaks

  • #10 Speaktomeofsummer   7-2
  • #2 Stunning Sky   5-2
  • #4 Vigilantes Way   4-1
  • #1 Secret Time   12-1

Analysis: Speaktomeofsummer invades from New York for the Clement barn. The filly exits a fourth-place finish over good ground in the Winter Memories last out at the Big A. She stalked the early pace, got hung up behind foes in some traffic and finished up well when angled to the outside in the stretch. She was a god second two back in the Sands Point (G2) and won the Lake Placid (G2) four back at Saratoga. Junior picks up the call and this gal looks like in this spot.

Stunning Sky was beaten just a head by our top pick in the Lake Placid earlier this summer., She won the Valley View (G3) at Keeneland two back and was the beaten favorite least out in a fourth-place finish in the Mrs Revere (G2) at Churchill Downs in a race washed off the grass. The Maker trainee will appreciate the return to turf here. She passed her first allowance condition over the turf here back in January and has mixed it up in stakes company since, landing in the money four times. She reunites with Irad who knows her well. 


Race 8 The La Brea G1

  • #4 Secret Keeper   6-1
  • #5 Finite   7-2
  • #2 Merneith   4-1
  • #8 Motivated Seller   5-1

Analysis: Secret Keeper stumbled coming out of the gate in the Raven Run (G2) last out when shipped to Keeneland. She raced mid pack and faded in the stretch to finish eighth. She reunites with Cedillo who was aboard her for her first three career start. She won her first two career starts in sharp efforts and then was a good second in the Torrey Pines (G3) at Del Mar going a mile in her stakes debut. The winner was Harvest Moon, who went on to win the Zenyatta (G2) and then run fourth in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) in her next two outings. She has worked well since her last start and ow returns off a 2 1/2-month break for the Sise barn that has won with 3 of his last 10 (with a +ROI) with runners coming back off a 61-180-day layoff. She was heading in the right direction before her last and looking for her to bounce back with a much better effort in this spot.

Finite appears to be sitting on a big one here. She won four stakes in a row earlier this year and then tossed in a clunker in her fourth in the FG Oaks (G2) as the chalk. She came back off a six-month layoff on turf here she was outrun. Two back she was beaten just a neck to Venetian Harbor in the Raven Run (G2) and then last out beat older in the one turn mile Chilukki (G3) at Churchill Downs. While her five stakes wins have come at a mile or longer two were going a one turn mile and she can handle the cut back to seven furlongs here.

Merneith is one of four in here sent out by the Baffert barn. She came with a good late rally to get up late and win the Fort Springs at Keeneland going six panels. Her lone other stakes try was a third in the Santa Anita Oaks (G2) behind Swiss Skydiver which was her first start against winners back in June. She has worked very quickly in the morning sand seven furlongs looks well within her wheelhouse here as she makes her third start of her current form cycle.


These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.

Santa Anita

  • R1: #4 Avenue de France   8-1
  • R1: #2 Sassyerb   8-1
  • R5: #7 Here Come Ralphie   12-1
  • R6: #2 Rayray   8-1
  • R6: #9 One Flew South   8-1
  • R9: #1 Red Lark   10-1
  • R9: #10 Neige Blanche   12-1
  • R10: #2 Thousand Words   8-1 

Good luck today!

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