On Saturday, Dec. 18, Gulfstream Park runs four graded stakes races. Three of the graded stakes are Grade 3 events: the Suwannee River, the Sugar Swirl, and the Harlan’s Holiday. The Grade 2 Ft. Lauderdale is the highlight race of the weekend. Aqueduct’s top stakes race happens on Sunday when horses go 1 1/8 miles on dirt in the Queen’s County.
Check out top plays and Horse Racing Odds for the Top Stakes Races of the Week from Saturday, Dec. 18th to Sunday, Dec. 19th. You can also visit our Online Racebook to place your bets on active racetracks.
Horse Racing Odds & Picks December 13th Edition
Top Stakes Races for the Week
- When: Saturday, Dec. 18 – Sunday, Dec. 19
Gulfstream Park – Saturday, Dec. 18
- Grade 3 Suwannee River Stakes – 1 mile turf – $100,000
At least ten runners will go in the Suwanee River. Among the 10, Todd Pletcher trained Sweet Melania will attract action. Named after the former first lady, Sweet Melania has finished second in two straight, including the One Dreamer Stakes at Kentucky Downs.
Cristophe Clement trained Classic Lady could go off the favorite even though Shifty She from the Saffie Joseph barn won the Grade 3 Noble Damsel in her last. Horseplayers will also give a look to In Hurry and Alms, both of which are in decent enough form to win.
- Grade 3 Sugar Swirl Stakes – 6 furlongs dirt – $100,000
Expect seven terrific sprinters to enter the Sugar Swirl starting gate. Bill Mott trained Frank’s Rockette will be happy she doesn’t have to go against Bell’s the One in this. There’s a chance Rockette goes off the chalk, followed by Paulo Lobo trained Center Aisle, Louriloupies and Bronx Beauty.
- Grade 3 Harlan’s Holiday Stakes – 1 1/16 miles dirt – $150,000
So far, South Bend, Cowboy Diplomacy, Mighty Heart, Eye of a Jedi, and Fearless will run in the Harlan’s Holiday. Among the confirmed contenders, Todd Pletcher trained Fearless will garner the most betting dollars.
The Ghostzapper sired 5-year-old gelding won the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Mile this past February, finished second behind Silver State in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap in July, and finished third behind Last Judgement and Modernist in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special on the Preakness Stakes undercard in May.
- Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale Stakes – 1 1/8 miles turf – $200,000
Saturday’s top graded stakes event should also be one of the weekend’s most competitive races. Chad Brown hopes regally trained L’Imperator finally lies up to the billing. The gelding won an allowance in its last. Before that, L’Imperator finished a well-beaten seventh in the Grade 3 Knickerbocker.
Space Traveller from the Brendan Walsh barn, fourth-place Cigar mile finisher King Guillermo, Solo Volante, Graham Motion trained English Bee, Dowell from the Barclay Tagg barn, and Breaking the Rules and Atone should also run.
Aqueduct Racetrack – Sunday, Dec. 19
- Queens County Stakes – 1 1/8 miles dirt – $125,000
In 2019, Stan the Man beat Adventist and Han Sense to win the Queens County. Last year, first place went to Backsideofthemoon, with Musical Heart finishing second, and Empty Tomb finishing third.
We won’t know who will run in the Queens County until the draw later this week. What we do know is that horseplayers should expect a competitive event. Make sure to handicap from top to bottom before deciding on a winner.