We enter the last Monday of the year before Christmas with four tracks at BetOnline. This is one of the quietest weeks for horse racing on the calendar. The stakes racing schedule is on pause until the day after Christmas. There will be a lot of stakes racing then, as Santa Anita Park, Laurel Park, Gulfstream Park, and Fair Grounds all have stakes events. The biggest of the bunch is at Santa Anita with the running of the $300,000 La Brea Stakes (Gr. 1) and $300,000 American Oaks (Gr. 1).
The $3,000,000 Pegasus World Cup Invitational (Gr. 1) on January 23 at Gulfstream Park is the day to circle on the calendar for early 2021. The big tracks have the day off on Mondays, while the likes of Delta Downs, Mountaineer Park, Parx, and Remington Park get an opportunity to take the betting handle. Remington Park started putting cards early in the week only recently to take advantage of the slow window.
We will get started on Monday at Delta Downs, which features nine races for a total pool of $165,000. There are three horses that we’ll play on the Monday card at Delta Downs in Louisiana. Head below for our free Delta Downs picks for December 21, 2020.
Post Time: 12:55 p.m. CST
Distance:6 ½ Furlongs
Race 1 includes a 12-horse field vying for the top prize out of a $14,000 purse. It will take 6 ½ furlongs to complete on the dirt. Custom Kat and He’s a Believer should prove to be tough runners. Custom Kat gets the inside rail from the No. 1 post position out of the gate. He is winless in five races in his career, with finishes of 5th, 5th, 7th, 2nd, 8th.
In his best performance of the year, Custom Kat placed 2nd behind Unbridled Halo by 3 lengths for a $14,500 purse in August. He tried out a $17,000 event on October 22 and went nowhere. Custom Kat finished 8th in that race, prompting a class drop to a more manageable level for Monday. Expect Custom Kat and He’s a Believer to get into it in the stretch.
He’s a Believer is in a similar position as Custom Kat. He’s looking to get on track after class dropping. He’s a Believer has finished 4th, 2nd, 6th, 6th, 4th in his career. In his best finish, He’s a Believer was 5 ¾ lengths behind My Ty Fu Peg for a $15,000 purse on February 26. In his most recent, He’s a Believer was 4th in a $21,000 event. There were only six runners in that race, so not too impressive. Custom Kat will likely fetch a nice price at post time, carrying some decent value in Race 1.
Post Time: 2:16 p.m. CST
Distance:6 ½ Furlongs
Race 4 is one of the bigger races at Delta Downs on Monday afternoon. For 6 ½ furlongs on the dirt, eight horses will compete for a $20,000 purse. Buxterhooter and Tabia should be near the front in the stretch. Both are in top form right now and should continue to run well. Buxterhooter is 8 for 23 in his career, and has been on a massive tear, with 16 straight races in the top-3.
He has finished 1st, 1st, 2nd in his previous three outings. Buxterhooter was a winner on July 10 and July 30. Buxterhooter beat Outofthisgalaxy by a head for a $18,000 purse, and then followed up for a win by a nose over Run Tappy for a $21,500 purse. In his most recent performance, he placed 2nd behind Tabia by a neck for a $20,000 purse on December 3. Tabia was the favorite, and edged Buxterhooter out at the wire.
Tabia is 5 for 17 in his career and is in hot form as well. He has finished in the top-2 in five straight outings. Tabia is a winner in three of his previous four races. Before beating Buxterhooter by a neck recently, he placed 2nd behind Midnight Las Vegas by 1 ½ lengths. In the rematch between Tabia and Buxterhooter, expect another close battle in the stretch. Tabia likely has the edge.
Post Time: 12:55 p.m. CST
In the second biggest event of the afternoon, Race 7 carries a $31,000 purse for 7 furlongs on the dirt. Cantrell Hill and Vice Versa should have solid runs and a chance for the top prize. Cantrell Hill has finished in the top-3 in six of his previous seven outings. His last win was on September 2 at Churchill Downs. Cantrell Hill beat Irish Spirit by 1 length for a $26,000 purse. Since then, Cantrell Hill has gone 2nd, 2nd, 5th.
He had his worst run in a long time on November 14. Cantrell Hill finished. In a $39,500 assignment, he finished 5th, so will see a drop in class today. Vice Versa is looking for his third straight win on Monday. He downed Donnels Creek by a half length in a $30,000 event on October 16, and then followed up for a 2 length win over Solomonic in a $35,000 race. Note that Vice Versa has finished in the top-2 in three straight races. This looks like another achievable event for Vice Versa.