Four graded stakes races happen on Saturday. Wouldn’t you know it? All four graded races take place at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA. But although the Jerome and Smarty Jones aren’t graded, all three are important Kentucky Derby preps.
Check out top plays and Horse Racing Odds for the Top Stakes Races of the Week from Saturday, Dec. 31st to Sunday, Dec. Jan 1st. You can also visit our Online Racebook to place your bets on active racetracks.
Horse Racing Odds & Picks December 27th Edition
Top Stakes Races for the Week
- When: Friday, Dec. 31 – Saturday, Jan. 1
Santa Anita Park – Friday, Dec. 31
- Grade 3 Robert J. Frankel Stakes
Dogtag, Mucho Unusual, and Moraz headline a group that should also include England’s Rose, Cordiality and Bodhicitta. If Richard Mandella trained Dogtag bounced out of her tenth place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf in good order, she will be tough to beat.
Aqueduct Racetrack – Saturday, Jan. 1
- Jerome Stakes – 1 mile dirt – $150,000
A couple of last out maiden winners figure to demand the most action in Aqueduct’s first Kentucky Derby prep of the year, the Jerome Stakes. Kelly Breen trained Courvoisier is a Tapit sired colt who broke his maiden on Dec. 2. Life is Great is a Tapiture sired runner that broke his maiden in November. Other potential Jerome entrants include Mr. Jefferson, Rumble Strip Ron, Cooke Creek, and Smarten Up.
Oaklawn Park – Saturday, Jan. 1
- Smarty Jones Stakes – 1 mile dirt – $250,000
Brad Cox won the 2020 Smarty Jones with Caddo River. Cox should bring a strong hand into the 2021 race. Both Home Brew and Vivar will attract action. Other potential runners include D. Wayne Lukas trained Ignitis, Kavod from the Christ Harman barn, and 2-time winner Barber Road trained by John Ortiz.
Santa Anita Park – Saturday, Jan. 1
- Grade 3 Sham Stakes – 1 mile dirt – $100,000
There’s a chance Bob Baffert enters five runners in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes. Pinehurst, Winning Map, Rockefeller, and last out maiden winners Doppelganger and Newgrange may all run. Doug O’Neil could go turf to dirt with MacKinnon, an American Pharoah sired colt. Trainer Keith Desormeaux is pointing Oviatt Class to the Sham as well.
- Grade 3 La Canada Stakes – 1 1/16 miles dirt – $200,000
Baffert trained as As Time Goes By could be odds on to win the La Canada Stakes on Saturday. Those trying to beat the likely chalk include barn mate Velvet Slippers, Richard Mandella trained Moonlight d’Oro, and Park Avenue from the John Sadler barn. Park Avenue will be searching for her third straight. The Quality Road sired miss broke her maiden in October and then won an allowance in December.
- Grade 2 Joe Hernandez Stakes – 6 ½ furlongs turf – $250,000
Trainers for eleven runners are pointing to the Grade 2 Joe Hernandez Stakes. Name runners include Chewing Gum from the Bill Mott barn, Hit the Road trained by Dan Blacker, and Chad Brown’s Delaware. Grade 3 Turf Monster runner up Beer Man Can may also enter. The likely entrants makes the Joe Hernandez Stakes one of the toughest to handicap this week.
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