Early Pick 3 at Santa Anita on Dec. 26
Six stakes races are on tap during opening day at Santa Anita on Saturday. Taking down the early Pick 3, prior to the big events, is a great way to get things started.
Race 1 -- Allowance (2 p.m. ET)
Fillies and mares will travel nine panels on the lawn in the opener. In a field lacking a standout and overall class, I feel compelled to use a few in the first leg. Maiden winners #5 Cover Version (15-1) and #8 Rocking Redhead (6-1), as well as Group-3 placed #10 Hermaphrodite (3-1) and top pick #11 Shanghai Truffles (4-1), make the ticket.
Race 2 -- Maiden Special Weight (2:32 p.m. EDT)
A solid field of juvenile prospects will go seven-eighths on the dirt. #2 Affable (8-5) is the one to beat for conditioner Mark Glatt. $600,000 Flatter colt was a sharp runner-up on debut at Del Mar, and the Florida-bred has trained well in the interim in preparation of his local unveiling. He gets top billing of the youngsters that have a start under their belts.
I’ll also include a pair of debuting juveniles with #4 Sir Flatter (6-1) and #5 Deservedly (6-1). It would be little surprise to see either fire big at first go.
Race 3 -- Claiming (3:04 p.m. EDT)
A mile dirt event for 3-year-olds attracted a field of nine, and I will use two to conclude my play. #1 Defense Wins (5-2) takes a huge class plunge on the turf-to-dirt move for O’Neill. Flatter gelding will be tough to stop if he repeats his maiden win on the surface two prior.
#2 Hapi Hapi (3-1) has been vastly improved since being claimed three back by Peter Eurton. Chestnut son of Clubhouse Ride comes in off of a good runner-up showing at this level at Del Mar most recently. The California-bred has the best chance to upend the morning-line choice.
$1 Pick 3: 5,8,10,11 with 2,4,5 with 1,2 ($24)