How to bet the 2022 Holiday Cheer Stakes

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

January 1st, 2022

A full field of 12 was entered for Saturday’s $100,000 Holiday Cheer S., a six-furlong sprint on the Tapeta at Turfway Park. I will take a shot with a New York invader to take down this field in his all-weather debut.

#6 Backtohisroots (6-1) has faced stakes foes in four straight sprints on the lawn in 2021 and should relish the move to the synthetic in this offering for conditioner John Terranova. The Mark Valeski six-year-old is relatively lightly raced with just 17 outings under his belt, and he combines tactical speed with a nice turn of foot in the stretch for a heady outfit when shipping a horse.

The dark bay Kentucky-bred has trained well with three morning drills in anticipation of his Turfway Park bow, and he figures to receive a good trip from a few lengths off the early tempo, as well. The top selection will have Joe Talamo in the controls.

#10 Johnny Unleashed (8-1) (now scratched) has gate zip and is also a winner from one lifetime run on the course for conditioner Eric Foster. The five-year-old son of Colonel John has been competitive in some deep races on the green over the past year, and I like his chances to be part of the race from the opening bell on Saturday. Gerardo Corrales will be in the silks.

#2 Super Highvoltage (6-1) has won six of his last seven races in total, including a fine allowance tally on the oval most recently. The Brilliant Speed gelding, who was claimed for $5,000 in July, is versatile and can run from on or off the pace with equal effectiveness. Luan Machado has the assignment.

Eric Foster’s #8 Impressed (20-1) has hit the board in six of eight synthetic tries to date and moves back to the all-weather at a big price. The Flashpoint gelding has been in decent form since being claimed four back, and his ability to make the frame consistently makes him very appealing for the vertical exotics in the big field. Edgar Morales will be up.

Holiday Cheer Wagers

  • $15 win and place #6 Backtohisroots ($30)
  • $5 exacta key box 6 with 2,8 ($20)