Key Bets & Races for Saturday, December 31


Laurel Park Pick 3 - Races 4 through 6 - Race 4 Post Time 2:00 ET

Pick 3:

Race 4: Irish War Cry
Race 5: ALL 11 horses
Race 6: Ms Locust Point

Cost: $5.50 (50¢ Pick 3)

With standouts in race 4, the Marylander Stakes and in race 6, The Gin Talking Stakes, this cheap pick 3 ticket (even if played for $1 or $2) could yield a much better profit than win bets on either of the two standouts.

In race 4, the Marylander Stakes, Irish War Cry sticks out based on his very mature win in his career debut last month over the track. He rallied from 9th of 12 to win going away by four lengths and he has improving to do off a field high 97 Equibase figure for the always strong (and red hot) Graham Motion barn.

In race 6, the Gin Talking Stakes, Ms Locust Point is as much of a standout. She finished 2nd of 12 in her debut in October after leading for the first half mile and was five lengths clear of the third horse. A little over a month later, Ms Locust Point romped by almost five lengths with gas left in the tank. She has put in two solid workouts since for excellent trainer Servis and leapfrogged over the horse that beat her first out (Squan's Kingdom, who earned a 76 figure in her win) by earning a very strong 85 figure last out, which is very likely to be improved on markedly here.

Laurel Park Pick 3 – Races 6 through 8 – Race 6 Post Time 3:00 ET

Pick 3:

Race 6: Ms Locust Point
Race 7: Ansible, By the Moon, High Ridge Road, Addibel Lightning
Race 8: Chief Lion, Measured, Chublicious, Heaven's Runway, Rockinn On Bye

Cost: $10 (50¢ Pick 3)

As I've already mentioned why Ms Locust Point is a single (the only horse to use) in this pick 3 sequence, we can now spread in the next two legs for (hopefully) a nice profit.

Thirty Eight Go Go Stakes - Race #7 at Laurel Park – Post Time 3:30 PM ET

Ansible added blinkers for the first time in her most recent start, the 10th of her career, here at Laurel at this one turn mile trip. The result was a career best effort with a 95 figure. Making her 2nd start following 3 1/2 months off she's got improving to do and I'm happy about the jockey change from Karamanos (who moves to High Ridge Road) to McCarthy. Although the 95 figure isn't nearly as good as the recent figures earned by favorite By the Moon, the fact is opening at 10/1 compared to 3 to 5 for the favorite, Ansible is the much better win bet. High Ridge Road missed by a nose in the Grade 3 Go For Wand Handicap in New York last out and now has three wins and a runner-up finish in four career races at the trip. Addibel Lightning won easily by nearly 5 lengths at a mile (two turns) last out with a career best 104 figure and is another who can improve.

Bet Ansible and Addibel Lighting to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 8 to 1 or more.

Play an exacta box consisting of Ansible, High Ridge Road, By the Moon and Addibel Lightning.

Dave's Friend Stakes - Race #8 at Laurel Park – Post Time 4:00 PM ET

Measured lost a very tough photo by a neck at 41 to 1 last month in the $200K Fabulous Strike Handicap, following a win, which demonstrates the runner-up effort was no fluke. Wolfsant has ridden him well since his first time in the saddle in June, with six straight in-the-money finishes, and rides back today. The 114 Equibase figure from his most recent race is the 2nd best in the field to boot. The best belongs to Chief Lion, who opens at 5/2 compared to 12/1 for Measured. Still, Chief Lion ships in from Aqueduct off a classified allowance win. He's won on the lead and from off the pace and has had a career best year with a 5 for 13 record and over $285K in earnings so he is the other horse in this field with the bulk of the probability to win. We will also use Chublicious, Heaven's Runway and Rockinn On Bye on pick 3 tickets played.

Bet Measured to win or to win and place at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

Play an exacta consisting of Measured and Chief Lion over Measured, Chief Lion, Chublicious, Heaven's Runway and Rockinn On Bye. 

American Oaks Stakes - Race #8 at Santa Anita – Post Time 4:00 PM PT, 7:00 PM ET

Queen Blossom shipped in from trainer Graham Motions' Fair Hills Training Center in mid-December and has worked twice here at Santa Anita, this race obviously on the trainer's mind since the horse imported to America in May. After a pair of poor efforts, Queen Blossom was privately purchased by Team Valor and Gary Barber and given seven months off to recover and acclimate. She debuts on Lasix today and gets the services of Joel Rosario, who flew into California for the opening day stakes last Monday and winning both the San Simeon and Malibu Stakes.She's a stakes winner in Ireland and looks very well spotted here. Sassy Little Lila has improved in all three of her most recent races, first earning a 99 Equibase Figure breaking her maiden by five lengths at Saratoga at nine furlongs, then improving to a 105 figure at this 10 furlong trip then two 112 rallying for second in the Winter Memories Stakeslast month. Likely to continue to improve again and with jockey Luis Saez in from New York to ride, this gal has a big shot to run well enough to win in this situation.  Decked Out may have been over her head in the Rodeo Drive last time out, mostly because it was a grade 1 race for three year olds and upward, her first ever effort versus older. One before that against her own age group such as she's facing today, Decked Out rallied furiously and wide to miss by a head in the similar Del Mar Oaks, earning a 111 figure. Decked Out could be rolling by many if not all of the other runners in this year's American Oaks. Two other horses deserve consideration, Mokat and Stays In Vegas, both grades stakes winners earlier this year.

Bet Queen Blossom to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more. Consider win bets on Sassy Little Lila and Decked Out at odds of 7 to 2 or more. 

Play an exacta box consisting of Queen Blossom, Sassy Little Lila and Decked Out.

Play an exacta box consisting of Queen Blossom, Sassy Little Lila, Decked Out, Mokat and Stays in Vegas

BONUS Pick 3 – Santa Anita Races 3 through 5 – Race 3 Post Time 4:30 PT, 7:30 ET

Pick 3:

Race 3: St. Joe Bay
Race 4: Sweet Charity, Arles, Ryans Charm
Race 5: Yavrig, Daring Darling, Tangled Up in Ju, Amazing Lady

Cost: $12 ($1 Pick 3)

St. Joe Bay stands out in the first leg, the Midnight Lute Stakes, coming off a dominant six length romp with a 123 Equibase figure, Desormeaux up then as now. The rest of the field can't hold a candle to that effort if he repeats it. With a single in the 3rd, we can spread in the next two legs and earn a lot more for the $12 investment then betting that $12 on St. Joe Bay to win. 

In races 4 and 5 I would play exacta boxes among the listed contenders.

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