Santa Anita Park Selections for December 26, 2021 – Horse Racing Picks

Santa Anita Park Selections for December 26, 2021 – Horse Racing Picks

We’re back on the racetrack Sunday following a Christmas break on Saturday. That’s the biggest day of the week for horse racing, but it has been pushed back to Sunday where we have a decent card. There are stakes and some graded racing across the country.

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Santa Anita Park has the biggest of the races on the Sunday slate. There are three $300,000 graded events, including the $300,00 Runhappy Malibu Stakes (Gr. 1), La Brea Stakes (Gr. 1), and American Oaks (Gr. 1) on the turf. Santa Anita also has two $250,000 Grade 2 races on Sunday afternoon.

We’re at Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita Park for this card. Access our Gulfstream Park page for more horse racing picks this afternoon. Santa Anita has a total of 11 races with $1,841,000 in prize money. Head below for our free Santa Anita Park picks for December 26, 2021.

Race 5 – San Gabriel Stakes

(1) Indian Peak
+800 (8/1)
(2) Friar’s Road
+250 (5/2)
(3) Bob and Jackie
+800 (8/1)
(4) Hit the Road
+160 (8/5)
(5) Majestic Eagle
+1500 (15/1)
(6) Red Storm Risen
+400 (4/1)
(7) Ready Soul
+600 (6/1)

Post Time: 1:08 p.m. PST
Distance:1 ⅛ Miles
Purse:$200,000

The $200,000 San Gabriel Stakes is 1 ⅛ miles on the turf. Friar’s Road and Hit the Road should carry on well in this race.

Friar’s Road is 2 for 11 and has finished 1st, 3rd, 3rd in his previous three attempts. He beat Luvluv by 4 ¼ lengths for a $72,000 purse on August 28.

Following that win, Friar’s Road jumped up to the graded scene and did well, but needed more for a win. He showed 3rd on October 2 in the $200,000 John Henry Turf Championship Stakes (Gr. 2).

Friar’s Road showed 3rd on November 26 at Del Mar in the $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup Stakes (Gr. 2) most recently.

Hit the Road should put a tough race together. The colt has appeared in five straight graded races, most recently the $200,000 City of Hope Mile Stakes (Gr. 2) for 3rd.

He most recently won back in March in the $400,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile by a neck. That was impressive but hasn’t been back to the winner’s circle.

I can see him getting it done and getting back to that form versus this field on Sunday.

The Bet
(4) HIT THE ROAD

Race 6 – San Antonio Stakes

(1) Extra Hope
+2000 (20/1)
(2) Express Train
+350 (7/2)
(3) Go On
+2000 (20/1)
(4) Hot Rod Charlie
+120 (6/5)
(5) Eight Rings
+400 (4/1)
(6) Kiss Today Goodbye
+500 (5/1)
(7) Azul Coast
+500 (5/1)

Post Time: 1:40 p.m. PST
Distance: 1 1/16 Miles
Purse:$200,000

The San Antonio Stakes (Gr. 2) covers 1 1/16 miles on the dirt for a nice purse of $200,000. Express Train and Hot Road Charlie should be tough to defeat in this one.

Express Train is 4 for 14 in his career and should have a chance in the San Antonio. He’s finished 3rd, 3rd, 1st, 6th, 3rd in his previous five attempts.

Express Train beat Tripoli by a half-length in the $250,000 San Diego Handicap (Gr. 2) on July 17 at Del Mar.

Since then, Express Train finished 6th in the $1,000,000 TVG Pacific Classic Stakes (Gr. 1) and 3rd in the $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes.

Hot Rod Charlie is well-known for his appearances in some of the biggest races in the US. He’s been in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, Louisana Derby, and Haskall Stakes.

Hot Rod Charlie has won his last three attempts, with a win two races back on September 25 in the $1,000,000 Pennsylvania Derby (Gr. 1) by 2 ¼ lengths.

In his last attempt, Hot Rod Charlie finished 4th in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 6. That was tough. Down to $200,000, expect Hot Rod Charlie to be the best in this field.

The Bet
(4) HOT ROD CHARLIE

Race 8 – La Brea Stakes

(1) Canoodling
+800 (8/1)
(2) Eddie’s New Dream
+1500 (15/1)
(3) Kalypso
+500 (5/1)
(4) Private Mission
+160 (8/5)
(5) Missy P.
+250 (5/2)
(6) Brilliant Cut
+1200 (12/1)
(7) Livingmybestlife
+350 (7/2)

Post Time: 2:44 p.m. PST
Distance:7 Furlongs
Purse:$300,000

The La Brea Stakes (Gr. 1) is a 7-furlong event for a $300,000 purse. Missy P. and Private Mission should be involved in the stretch run.

Missy P. has finished 1st, 2nd, 5th in three assignments. She opened well with a 9 ½ length win on March 12 for $61,000.

Following that solid race, Missy P. placed 2nd behind Astute by 2 ¼ lengths for a $75,000 purse on May 1. In her most recent attempt, she was 5th in the $75,000 Desert Code stakes on June 6.

Private Mission has finished 1st, 4th, 1st, 1st, 1st, 11th in her career for Bob Baffert. In her latest win, Private Mission beat As Time Goes By by 2 ¼ lengths in the $200,000 Zenyatta Stakes (Gr. 2) on October 3.

She was unable to keep going that well in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (Gr. 1) on November 6. Private Mission fell to 11th after winning back-to-back events in the $100,000 Torrey Pine Stakes (Gr. 3) and the Zenyatta Stakes.

Baffert should have a winner in Private Mission after dropping her in class. This looks like a good spot for Private Mission to get a win.

The Bet
(4) PRIVATE MISSION
Kyle E / Author

Kyle is a veteran of TheSportsGeek and has spent nearly a decade providing accurate sports picks and writeups here. He has been a sports handicapper for 10+ years and started sharing his picks and thoughts in 2011 at TheSportsGeek. His expertise spans across multiple sports, including the NFL, NCAAF, MLB, NHL, and horse racing. Prior to writing for TheSportsGeek, Kyle was a fantasy football expert, who ultimately parlayed it into a successful sports betting career. You can find his picks daily only at TheSportsGeek.

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