Horses to Watch

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SANTA ANITA 

(opens Wednesday, Dec. 26)

PURE FUN: Really don’t know where this filly will show up for her next start, but we will be on the watch with our hands in our wallet ready to lay it in. This girl made one of the most eye catching winning moves we have seen in a long time. She exploded from last to first in one big swoop off a four wide move to win the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet going away. Fun beat a very game Bonde Fog, who was exiting our HTW list at 5-1 and would have gone wire-to-wire on any other day. $$$$$

TOP KISSER: First time starter had no shot against the runaway Baffert 9/5 winner in this race, but was a clear second. Will be one very tough filly to beat next time out for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. 

TIZ ANNA: First time starter took some action in this 7 furlong 30k maiden claimer – a very tough distance for a young filly let alone a first time starter. She ran huge while stalking the pace from the bell and was actually coming back at the place filly coming to the wire in a big time effort. She was claimed out of this race by Vladmir Cerin, who can pop first off the claim. He will have this girl ready for her diploma at Santa Anita next time out. $$$

MAJOR MAGIC: Was in from Turf Paradise and going 6 furlongs on the grass. Sat far back but when ready to make his run had to swing out for room. Was in tight off heels in upper stretch but once clear motored home to just miss by a dwindling head. He will be ready for a trip to the winner’s circle going down the hill at Santa Anita.

JAY’S FIRETRUCK: Took awhile for this gelding to break his maiden, but he finally did. When these kind get the job done they usually come back and run another big race. We will use him next time out.

HAVING ABIG MIDDLE: Was exiting out HTW list but hopped at the start and then got squeezed out to lose all shot. She did make a nice late run finishing third, beaten by 1½ lengths for all the marbles and a half length for the place. We will keep this Big Brown filly on our watch list. 

SMOKEN LEGACY: Is definitely ready to win and will get the job done on the probable move up first off the Doug O’Neill claim. We will use as a single in our picks next time out. 

FLASHBACK: First time starter was bet like a good thing and ran to his even money odds winning for fun. Looks like just another big time Baffert runner who may become a force as the distance get longer on the road to the Kentucky Derby. $$$$$

MENTOR CANE: First time starter finished second behind Flashback and will probably be the even money chalk next time out. He will be very hard to beat off this race which could end up a key outing.

KLISZ: Keeneland shipper for trainer Michael Ewing was bet like a winner and ran like the money dictated. Led by four lengths under a hand ride by Mike Smith. Will repeat going down the hill at Santa Anita. 

Richard Saber, a former director of race and sports at the famed Stardust book, is GamingToday’s horse racing and sports handicapper. Contact Richard at [email protected].

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