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Betting with Ellis Starr - December 26, 2016

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Key Bets & Races for Monday, December 26


San Simeon Stakes - Race #6 at Santa Anita – Post Time 2:31 PM PT, 5:31 ET

He Will and Holy Lute are winners at the trip and both are drawn well with advantageous outside posts. He Will gets slight preference as he opens at 6/1. He won at the trip in his only try in May and on the cut back from two turns to one (off a pair of wins) gives him a big amount of late energy so he should be rolling past the field late. That's exactly what Holy Lute did in September when winning the Eddie D Stakes down the hill at 10/1. He was overmatched in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint but back where proven has every right to resume his winning ways. 

Betty's Bambino won 4 in a row when last seen 22 months ago, all downhill sprints, and has been working well. Cape Wolfe may go to post near his 15/1 starting odds and is very playable as he finished 2nd in last year's San Simeon at 9/2. Ohio got crowded badly in the stretch in the Eddie D when last seen, well regarded at 7/2. We can ignore that race and so he's got a fine shot. As for exotic bets like the exacta and trifecta, in a deep field in which a decent exacta ticket may be worth the risk, also consider Stormy Liberal, Acceptance and Richard's Boy for 2nd and 3rd. 

Bet He Will and Holy Lute to win at odds of 5 to 2 or more.

Exacta: He Will and Holy Lute over He Will, Holy Lute, Betty's Bambino, Cape Wolfe, Ohio, Stormy Liberal, Acceptance and Richard's Boy.

Pick 4: (Ticket 1)

Race 6 – He Will, Holy Lute

Race 7 – Lightstream, Finley'sluckycharm

Race 8 – Sharp Azteca, Awesome Banner, Mind Your Biscuits

Race 9 – Conquest Enforcer, Frank Conversation, Mittersill, Blackjackcat, Moonlight Drive, Tusk

Cost (at $0.50 minimum): $36

Pick 4: (Ticket 2)

Race 6 – He Will, Holy Lute, Betty's Bambino, Cape Wolfe, Ohio

Race 7 – Lightstream, Finley'sluckycharm

Race 8 – Sharp Azteca, Awesome Banner, Mind Your Biscuits

Race 9 – Conquest Enforcer

Cost (at $0.50 minimum): $15

La Brea Stakes - Race #7 at Santa Anita – Post Time 3:01 PM PT, 6:01 ET

Lightstream and Finley'sluckycharm stand out in this year's La Brea and although they may be poor win bets, using just the two cut down the cost of pick 3 and 4 tickets considerably in what could be a very profitable sequence. Lightstream is 4 for 5 at this 7 furlong trip, with one second place finish as well. She's a multiple graded stakes winner and will get the pace she needs to succeed so will be very tough to beat. However, Finley'sluckycharm is the lone frontrunner and it's not out of the question she can run the rest of the field of their feet early and never look back. The problem is she's never won past six furlongs but her last two races, both wins, earned 117 figures that are tops in the field. Hernandez has been up for her last 2 wins and this is his only mount on the day so expect him to make the most of it.

Consider a win bet on both Lightstream and Finley'sluckycharm at 3 to 2 or higher. 

Malibu Stakes - Race #8 at Santa Anita – Post Time 3:31 PM PT, 6:31 PM ET

Sharp Azteca easily won the City of Laurel Stakes with a field high 121 figure in his most recent race. Jockey Edgard Zayas has ridden Sharp Azteca in all but one of his eight starts, including all four wins, and takes off an entire day in the east for this, his only mount on the card. Better still, he's likely to improve off his last effort in his second start following three months off. Awesome Banner, like Sharp Azteca, is a stakes winner at this seven furlong distance. He won the Prized Stakes in September with a 101 figure, two races after a then career best 107 figure when leading late and settling for second in the Carry Back Stakes, also at the trip. In his most recent race, Disqualified for 2nd out of a career best effort winning last out, Awesome Banner may need only repeat his last race and run straight to win. Mind Your Biscuits ran the best race of his career at Santa Anita a little over a month ago when third behind Drefong in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, earning a 118 figure. Three races before that, Mind Your Biscuits won the Amsterdam Stakes at Saratoga with a rally from last of seven. As such, if the pace is hotly contested he could get up in time. 

Note about Ten Blessings, who opens as the second choice on the morning line at three to one odds. I am not impressed by this horse as the dominating win (with a stakes quality 118 figure) came in a first level allowance race and there are established, multiple stakes winners in this field. Although the runner-up won his next start, the figure for that win was just an average 107 figure. Ten Blessings is one of three starters from the potent Baffert barn. Jazzy Timesis another Baffert trainee and we can look at his form to assess how Ten Blessings may run in this situation.  

Bet Sharp Azteca and Awesome Banner to win at 2 to 1 or more. 

Play and exacta box consisting of Sharp Azteca, Awesome Banner and Mind Your Biscuits

Mathis Brothers Mile - Race #9 at Santa Anita – Post Time 4:01 PM PT, 7:01 ET

Conquest Enforcer is a multiple stakes winner, on turf and all-weather, who nearly beat older in the G2 Nearctic Stakes when last seen, missing by a pair of heads. The runner-up returned to win and since shipping into Southern California from Canada and joining the D'Amato barn the colt put in a very sharp workout, best of 120 at five furlongs, showing he's on edge for a winning effort. 

Frank Conversation nearly proved his 36 to 1 upset Twilight Derby win in November over the course was no fluke as he finished 3rd of 12 in the Hollywood Derby at Del Mar earlier this month. He has a decent shot with his best effort. Mittersill makes his 4th start since coming to the U.S., having missed by inches in his last 2 including a non-graded stakes last month. He gets the rail and doesn't need a lot of improvement off his last effort to post the upset here. Blackjackcat cuts back from 9 to 8 furlongs after leading at the MILE mark (where this race ends) in both the Twilight and Hollywood Derbies. Smith continues to ride and he must be taken very seriously as a contender Moonlight Drive ran the best race of his career in his most recent start, although an allowance race and a sprint, gamely winning by a neck with a 109 figure, Bejarano rides back for Baffert so he rounds out a quintet that have some shot to win. We MUST also consider #11 Tusk at least for exacta and trifecta tickets played as he may be flying late into the thick of the action.

Bet Conquest Enforcer to win at odds of 5 to 2 or more. 

Play an exacta of Conquest Enforcer over Frank Conversation, Mittersill, Blackjackcat, Moonlight Drive and Tusk.

Consider playing that exacta in reverse as well. 

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