December 26 promises to be one of the most important days in the history of 1/ST Racing. It’s opening day of the Classic Meet at Santa Anita, opening day of the Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park and host date of the Christmastide Day stakes card at Laurel Park. All month, 1/ST BET will prepare you for a 26th of December to Remember with special content.
Entries for the trio of major programs loom in the next few days.
Laurel Park: Saturday, Dec. 17
Gulfstream Park: Sunday, Dec. 18
Santa Anita: Wednesday, Dec. 21
Having the early past performances is always a good thing, giving horseplayers more chance to put in the due diligence when handicapping. It’s particularly convenient this time of year when Christmas Eve and Christmas Day fall on a Saturday and Sunday, respectively, before the massive Monday of Dec. 26 racing.
Utilize your free resources provided by 1/ST with the additional time, particularly race replays available at Xpressbet and workout videos from XBTV, which has crews on the ground in South Florida and at Santa Anita watching and recording the morning moves. The extra video study, whether you specialize in morning or raceday or both, can be what separates you from the handicapping pack.
When it comes to race replays, I’m particularly interested in races with common opponents re-matched. See if you can’t find a reason why the result played out the way it did, and if it could be flipped or expected to be repeated. Also go back and watch horses who have trouble comments in the past performances to see if said comment was warranted, but more importantly, to assess just how much impact it had on the final result. For instance, did a horse ‘shuffled back’ already look to be toast?
As for morning workout videos, play closer attention to horses with fewer career starts as they can often make giant leaps between outings, and also consider horses coming off of layoffs to gauge their progress. When working in company with a workmate, take the extra time to search the workmate at Equibase to see the quality of the morning competition. Is a 2-year-old working with an older horse? Is today’s entrant working in company and holding his or her own against a stakes-proven runner? Those kind of tidbits are at your fingertips – and for free – if you’ll take the time.
With entries coming between 5-9 days out from the Dec. 26 showcases, time is your friend, even around the holidays.
The 26th of December to Remember Stakes Lineup
Gulfstream Park | Championship Meet | Opening Day
$100K Tropical Park Derby
$100K Tropical Park Oaks
Santa Anita | Classic Meet | Opening Day
$300K G1 Malibu
$300K G1 American Oaks
$300K G1 La Brea
$200K G2 Mathis Mile
$200K G2 San Antonio
$200K G2 San Gabriel
Laurel Park | Christmastide Day Stakes
$100K Dave’s Friend
$100K Gin Talking
$100K Robert Manfuso
$100K Willa On the Move