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 are set for Laurel’s 11-race program that includes 6 stakes races. The 7-furlong Heft Stakes opens the stakes spree in Race 4 and kicks off the winter’s local path toward the Preakness in the soon-to-be sophomore division. Let’s meet the contenders for the Heft.
1-We Don’t Need Roads: Two-time Delaware Park winner recently changed home bases to Penn National and veteran trainer Mark Salvaggio. The Hoppertunity colt finished fifth of 9 in the off-the-turf Laurel Futurity over a sloppy track in his only local start.
2-Alottacents: Jose Corrales trainee rallied to break his maiden by a neck Dec. 10, rallying from a dozen lengths back in a 6-furlong sprint. The Goldencents gelding was disqualified for interference in July.
3-Riccio: Disappointing sixth in the James F. Lewis III at Laurel in November, the former Jerry Robb trainee changes hands to Richard Sillaman. Colonial allowance winner cashed checks in 3 Delaware stakes since then. Bargain $15K purchase has earned nearly $115K.
4-Midnight Trouble: Well-beaten fifth in Remsen after a rocky start, the multiple stakes-placed Delaware allowance winner makes his first local start. Gulfstream connections Peter Walder and Paco Lopez team up on the cut-back from back-to-back routes.
5-Full Moon Madness: Likely favorite, the Grade 3 Nashua runner-up has fired in all 4 starts at Saratoga and the Big A. Regally bred Into Mischief-By the Moon colt had a bullet workout Dec. 15 on the Belmont training track for his first road trip. Michelle Nevin brings Manny Franco to town for the mount.
6-Home School: Seven-start maiden has missed in maiden claiming company 5 times. Has never raced shorter than 1 mile and has been around 2 turns in each of his last 3. Horacio Karamanos has the call for trainer Norman “Lynn” Cash.
7-Prince of Jericho (pictured above): Should vie for favoritism with Full Moon Madness. Dominant winner by 11-3/4 and 5-1/4 lengths in last 2 Laurel starts, maiden special weight and allowance sprints at 6 furlongs. Only loss in 3 starts came when third to Brittany Russell stablemate Post Time, a highly impressive stakes winner since their match up. Sheldon Russell guides the son of Munnings.
8-Coffeewithchris: Fourth in the James F. Lewis III and third in the Maryland Juvenile, this gelding by Ride On Curlin has only a maiden claiming win – promoted via disqualification at that – on the positive ledger so far. Trainer John Salzman Jr. went to blinkers 2 starts back and there’s been a marked improvement.
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