Top Horses to Bet on Today – December 26 for Santa Anita Opening Day Analysis – Monday, December 26, 2022

by: Ed Meyer

Santa Anita

Race #1 – The G2 Santa Anita Mile – 1 mile on the turf – 2:00 pm ET Analysis / #6 – Handy Dandy / #7 – Sumter / #1 – Balnikhov

#6 Handy Dandy hails from the Peter Miller barn with Joel Rosario in the saddle. He is 10 for 12 ITM on the turf and sports a strong late kick. Shortens up in distance from 9f and drops down in class from the G1 Hollywood Derby. He is 5 for 6 ITM over the course. #7 Sumter has plenty of speed coming to post for Dick Mandella and Mike Smith. This son of War Front is 2nd off the layoff and should call the shots on the front end. #1 Balnikhov is a late runner shipping in from KEE off a win in the G3 Bryan Station for Phil D’Amato. Tyler Gaffalione has the rail draw and should come calling turning for home.


Race #3 – The G2 San Gabriel – 1 1/8 on the turf – 3:00 pm Analysis / #6 – Prince Abama / #2 – Masteroffoxhounds / #3 – Dicey Mo Chara

#6 Prince Abama hails from the Phil D’Amato barn with turf master Flavien Prat in the saddle. A perfect stalker who is cutting back in distance and exits off a win in the G2 Hollywood Turf Club in the hands of Prat looking to go two in a row. #2 Masteroffoxhounds is a speedy son of War Front for D’Amato and Mike Smith. He is making a 2nd off layoff move and is 6 for 6 ITM over the course. #3 Dicey Mo Chara is a late runner for Leonard Powell and J.J. Hernandez. This is a 2nd off layoff move and was a beaten favorite last out.


Race #6 – The G2 San Antonio – 1 1/16 – 4:30 pm Analysis / #6 – Country Grammer / #5 – Heywoods Beach / #1 – Hopkins

#6 Country Grammer hails from the Bob Baffert barn with Frankie Dettori in the irons. Dettori is riding in California for a few months as he’ll wrap up an incredible career in 2023. He is 3 for 3 ITM over the strip and drops in class off a beaten chalk effort. Look for a well timed stalking trip from Frankie down the lane. #5 Heywoods Beach is a stalker from the John Sadler barn with Ramon Vazquez in the saddle. He comes in fresh off a 52 day break and 3 for 4 ITM over the course. #1 Hopkins is a speedy son of Quality Road for Bob Baffert and could play the role of rabbit for Country Grammer with J.J. Hernandez.


Race #8 – The G1 La Brea – 7f – 5:30 pm Analysis / #2 – Hot Peppers / #4 – Midnight Memories / #6 – Fun to Dream’

#2 Hot Peppers hails from the Rudy Rodriguez barn and sports a very quick turn of foot. Tyler Gaffalione is in the saddle coming off a three month break from Saratoga. The barn wins 25% with shippers and she is dangerous if left alone in front. #4 Midnight Memories goes to post for Bob Baffert and is a perfect stalker in the field. She is a perfect 3 for 3 ITM at SA and is looking to make it three straight. #6 Fun to Dream hails from the Baffert barn and is a perfect 2 for 2 at SA with J.J. Hernadez. She sports a bullet work moving up the ladder.


Race #10 – The G1 Runhappy – 7f – 6:30 pm Analysis / #6 – Taiba / #4 – Nakatomi / #2 – Messier

#6 Taiba is a son of Gun Runner for Bob Baffert with Mike Smith in the driver’s seat. He is a perfect 2 for 2 at SA and comes off a 51 day break shipping in from KEE in the Breeders’ Cup Classic where he ran a tough fought third. His bullet work shows he is sharp and ready to roll. #4 Nakatomi hails from the Wesley Ward barn with Tyler Gaffalione getting the call. His last race win was a perfect prep win climbing back up the ladder. Look for this stalker to lay just off the pace and fire when ready. #2 Messier is a late running son of Empire Maker for Bob Baffert and John Velasquez. Going 7f should have him in stalking mode and if good enough he will be in the mix.


Race #11 – The G1 – American Oaks – 1 1/4 on the turf – 7:00 pm Analysis / #6 – Mise En Scene / #8- Pizza Blanca / #5 – Bellstreet Bridie

#6 Mise En Scene is a late running gal from the Brendan Walsh barn with Tyler Gaffalione in the saddle. This is her 2nd start in the states and dropping in class from the BC Filly and Mare Turf. She comes off a 51 day break and may enjoy the change of scenery. #8 Pizza Blanca hails from the Graham Motion barn with Umberto Rispoli in the saddle. This is her 2nd off the layoff move and Rispoli wins 18% of his turf closers. #5 Bellstreet Bridie goes to post for Mark Glatt and Mike Smith who look to move forward off a perfect stalking trip win last out. She is 9 for 10 ITM on the sod and can be dangerous down the lane with a solid trip.

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