Handicapping Picks for 12/26/2011

Welcome back to what will surely be another awesome season at The Great Race Place. I, for one, found the opening day card to be spectacular. Full fields of good quality, evenly matched runners... it's a better Christmas present than most of us got on Sunday!

If you haven't yet given yourself a present this holiday season, may I suggest a Racingwithbruno.com Simulcast Package of Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita ... or ... a Grade1Racing subscription (promo code greatvalue gets you 20% off a seasonal or yearly package)

Let's look at the stakes...
Race 1: California Breeders Champion Stakes (Filly Divison)
6-Ismene is obviously the filly to beat: she's a freak. At a price, I think 1-Tangerine Tickle could make some noise on the board: she's always trained like a really nice runner and the debut was super impressive.

Race 7: California Breeders Champion Stakes (Colt Division)
1-Forever Freedom debut'd a winner in a Maiden (40) but he did it drawing away, plus Mitchell waited 30+ days until Santa Anita came back before running the colt again. I'd also look at 5-Motown Man and 7-Stoney Fleece before the favorite 2-Passing Game, if only for the fact he could seriously bounce 2nd back off the layoff and in coming off the Golden Gate Tapeta onto dirt.

Race 8: G2 Sir Beaufort
4-Mr. Commons is going to be tough to get by, but I think 1-Cozy Kitten just might get the first run on the speedsters ~ and I don't think 8-Ultimate Eagle is going to get such an easy lead this time (hello 4-Comma to the Top!).

Race 9: G1 Malibu
Baffert has 36% of the field and I believe he wins; however, I don't think it's going to be the gray or a horse with anything but a 5 letter name. And I'm saving my exotic key of the day for the last race: 9-Associate ~ you rarely see Dutrow ship west, let alone with a former 50k claimer, plus the colt turned in a big drill over this strip on 12/21.

Don't forget to tune in to Post Parade with The Filly & The Clocker, heard racedays at Noon ET / 9 am PT and archived 24/7! Bruno DeJulio and myself talk about what you need to know before playing the races.