Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita opinions for Tuesday, Dec. 26 (Opening day, first post noon)

Preview: Racing is back after a brief break and turf racing is back following a month off since the closing of Del Mar. The word is that that main track is deeper but safe. Whether that carries over to the afternoons is another story. There will be a few new jockeys and trainers this meet so watch out for names you don’t know. Otherwise, good luck and good betting.

FIRST RACE: 1. River Boyne, 2. Big Buzz, 3. Fengari. LONG SHOT: Pali High.

SECOND RACE: 1. American Rule, 2. Candy Cornell, 3. Longden. LONG SHOT: Praetorian.

THIRD RACE (Grade II San Antonio): 1. Collected, 2. Giant Expectations, 3. Top of the Game 9SCRATCHED). LONG SHOT: Hoppertunity.
Shouldn’t this just be called the Bob Baffert Invitational? All the silver-haired trainer has Collected and Hoppertunity. Collected is the obvious choice. I never know what to do with Hopperertunity. Top of the Game is a perfect 4-for-4 on this track and Giant Expectations comes out of a key race and has been tearing it up in the mornings.

FOURTH RACE: 1. Sensible Myth (best bet), 2. Tell Your Mama, 3. Mapit. LONG SHOT: Tiny Tina.

FIFTH RACE: 1. I Will Score, 2. Spectre Bond, 3. Big Gray Rocket. LONG SHOT: Street Vision.

SIXTH RACE (Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile): 1. B Squared, 2. Big Score, 3.Colonist. LONG SHOT: Kroy.
Not the best field in this race’s past, but time moves on. B Squared has won at this distance before and over the turf course plus draws an inside post. Big Score is the favorite but the outside post bothers me a little bit. Kroy is the unknown but trainer Armando De la Cerda knows how to get them ready.

SEVENTH RACE (Grade I La Brea): 1. Mopotism, 2. Paradise Woods, 3. Unique Bella. LONG SHOT: Miss Sunset.
Everyone is looking for to the battle of the 3-year-old fillies in Paradise Woods vs. Unique Bella and down the lane it might be that way, but I’m going with the upset with Mopotism (12-1) from the Doug O’Neill barn. She likes the track and should appreciate the cut back in distance. I think she will sit off the speed and close in the lane or at least that’s what I hope.

EIGHTH RACE: (Grade I Malibu): 1. Favorable Outcome, 2. Pavel, 3. C Z Rocket. LONG SHOT: Irish Freedom.
The final Grade I of the 2017 racing calendar came up a bit weak in my eyes, but other top 3-year-olds are either retired or taking a break. Favorable Outcome is from the powerful Chad Brown barn and won the Grade II Swale earlier this year at Gulfstream Park at this distance. Pavel, also from the O’Neill barn, has faced older horses in his last two and is the favorite in my eyes. C Z Rocket is a perfect 3-for-3 in his career and has been pointing for this race under the eye of trainer Al Stall Jr.

NINTH RACE: 1. Chris and Dave, 2. Tule Fog, 3. Spanish Hombre. LONG SHOT: Winning Element.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

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