• opening day! (Santa Anita retrospective & picks)

    POSTED Dec 26, 2011
    Thoroughbred horse racing in North America can at times feel as if it's just one long season (or grind!), but marquee events (e.g. Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands) and race meetings (e.g. Saratoga) help create a seasonal vibe not otherwise found when considering there is live Thoroughbred racing 364 days a year.

    Opening day at Santa Anita Park creates such a vibe. Known as "Boxing Day", "December 26", or "The Day After Christmas" outside the horse racing world, opening day at The Great Race Place is as much about renewal as the New Year that dawns several days later.

    Huge live crowds are typical, but the simulcast world pays attention as well. It's only been eight days since Hollywood Park went into hibernation, but Santa Anita opening means looking forward, not back. There is the promise that comes with emerging three-year-old stars on the Triple Crown and Kentucky Oaks trails as well as the establishing of a pecking order among the top regional horses in such glamor divisions as handicap male, older female, and turf milers. Plus plenty of good, old-fashioned West Coast speed on display in everything from maiden races to Grade 1 sprints.

    One of the things I like most about Southern California racing is the premium placed on quality handicapping information. Since joining Brisnet.com in July, I've become far more interested in West Coast racing because of the information available on a daily basis. Andy Harrington's National Turf Clocker Report, Bob Selvin's Fair Odds & Analysis, and Today's Racing Digest premium edition are three of the specialty products Brisnet.com and TwinSpires.com have available for this circuit, and the information is a valuable complement to our Ultimate Past Performances, Daily Selections full-card analysis, and other products.

    I love handicapping races because it's a challenge. I very rarely have bet someone else's pick blindly without doing at least a little research on whether "this horse is right for me", but I routinely read other people's analysis. Speaking of which, another great asset for betting Southern California is Tom Quigley's Twitter feed, which provides real-time information on the impressions entrants make in the paddock before each race.

    Whether you're chasing a six-figure score in the Pick 6, looking for a few winners here and there, or anything in between, there are lots of opportunities at Santa Anita Park--both wagering and in receiving information.

    As for the nine-race opening day card, my best bet is Mr. Bossy Pants in race six. Here is a look at my selections for all nine races.


    tomsara said...

    what do the columns mean -- is column a your main picks

    Unknown said...

    Hi, Tomsara...

    Yes, column "A" are my main picks--the horses I expect to offer the most value. Column "B" are horses who are likely winners but I expect will be overbet or longshots I think have a decent chance of winning (e.g. #8 in race 4). Column "C" are horses who wouldn't shock me to win but I expect will offer absolutely ZERO value.

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    It's only been eight days since Hollywood Park went into hibernation, but Santa Anita opening means looking forward, not back. There is the promise that comes with emerging three-year-old stars.

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