Santa Anita Picks & Rainbow Pick 6 Betting Analysis for December 26: Opening Day

'The Great Race Place' is back ... It's Opening Day at Santa Anita! The after Christmas tradition continues and we have you covered with this Rainbow Pick 6 analysis. Enjoy!
"The Great Race Place" is back ... It's Opening Day at Santa Anita! The after Christmas tradition continues and we have you covered with this Rainbow Pick 6 analysis. Enjoy!

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Opening Day at Santa Anita ... is there anything that sounds better? Once again, the SoCal track is open for business, and they have a card that is strong top to bottom. The signature bet is the .20 Rainbow Pick 6, which is sure to have a Pool that is brimming with cash! Check out J.N. Campbell's analysis below ... Note: Be sure to check the forecast, rain might make an appearance overnight.

At we have you covered, including all of the action from what is known as "The Great Race Place." It is a good time for some of the best that North American racing has to offer. Stay tuned! 

If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country this Sunday be sure to check out our free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below. Do not forget to follow us on Twitter ... @Horseracing_USA ...

Horse Racing Picks
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LEG 1: (Race 6: Dirt, 1 1/16th, San Antonio S. (G2), $200k, 3+)

Opening Day @SA … let’s tuck in, and deconstruct this Rainbow P6 ticket! Starting off is a real highlight—Grade 2 San Antone! There is a history here of repeat champs that dates back 10 years ago to the likes of Bob Baffert’s Game On Dude and Hoppertunity, plus John Sadler’s Gift Box. All went back-to-back … This year we have the return of Eric Kruljac’s Kiss Today Goodbye #6. If you are not familiar with him, he is a conditioner with a smaller stable, especially when compared to the Baffert or Doug O’Neill. Those fellas are in here too, and will try to spoil Kruljac’s return to the SA Winner’s Circle. I think they have a shot to play that role since the colt by Cairo Prince has not won since running in last year’s race. Sure, he competed in celebrated contests like the Pegasus WC (G1), the Big ‘Cap (G1), and the San Diego (G2), but he was literally “no factor” in any of them. As for Baffert, he has his customary uncoupled entry ready to enter. Eight Rings #5, a colt by Empire Maker, and Azul Coast #7, a 4-yr-old by Super Saver, are perfectly nice horses, but to me they have some weaknesses when it comes to class. That is especially evident when you compare their dossiers to that of O’Neill’s Hot Rod Charlie #4. The Vox Populi Award recipient was one of the top 3-yr-olds in 2021, and the Boys from the Boat are looking to see this guy head to Dubai, if all goes well. Frankly, I am not sure anyone can beat him with that tactical ability of his. Flavien Prat will have a stablemate entered in Go On #3, and that will provide a rabbit who can go out on the lead. All “Charlie” #4 needs to do is steer clear of traffic, and use those late gears. I like John Shirreffs’ Express Train #2 plenty, but not in this situation. O’Neill has himself a superstar … it is a “Single” for me … I know, not very inventive … but look what is coming!

Selections: 4 (Single)


LEG 2: (Race 7: Turf, 1 Mile, Santa Anita Mathis Mile S. (G2), $200k, 3) (OFF-THE-TURF)

Moving right along on this Sunday, we would have switched to the SA Turf Course, for this G2 route, but it is now moved to the MT. Formerly known as the Sir Beaufort S., the past 3 winners of this contest have come from Jeff Mullins (River Boyne (IRE), Peter Miller (Mo Forza), and last year’s victor, Mike McCarthy (Smooth Like Strait). Each has an entry once again; though Miller has officially retired, the capable Ruben Alvarado is in-charge. I like None Above the Law #1 (Alvarado) and Law Professor #9 (McCarthy) because they are each going to be great prices on the tote. McCarthy’s #9 might not have the class per se, but the gelding by Constitution gets frequent-flyer Jose Ortiz back aboard—he rode this one to victory @DMR back in Nov. He can make a difference when you least expect it. To my eye, the toughest guess to make in this race is how will John Shirreffs’ Beyond Brilliant #8 runback after scoring by-a-neck last out in the Hollywood Derby (G1) @DMR? That was quite a surprise considering the odds of 11/1, and it gave rider Kent Desormeaux “Jock of the Week” honors. Who doesn’t like the offspring of Twirling Candy on the turf or on the dirt? If this one can handle the shorter distance (the HWTC was 1 1/8th), then he could be very tough! I am going to take a stand against him, and instead back Leo Powell’s Flashiest #6. This gelding by Mizzen Mast is perfect for a spot like this one … remember when he scored in the Oceanside 100k on Opening Day @DMR? The distance … same as today. He has the class to measure up with Abel Cedillo aboard. One other entry that I am going to spurn is Bob Baffert’s Du Jour #7, that is partly-owned by his wife. Even though the colt is bred for the lawn by Spendthrift’s Temple City, gets Flavien Prat, and 2/2 @SA, I think his form is suspect. I thought he got amazing trips those times, and in the American Turf (G2) on the Derby undercard. That will not happen today, so I am sticking with my picks … going 4-Deep. Here is where we really have a shot at a nice price!

Selections: 1/6/8/9 (4-Deep)


LEG 3: (Race 8: Dirt, 7F, La Brea S. (G1), $300k, 3F)

This is what I consider to be the toughest race in the sequence because you could make a case for any of these fine fillies. Of course, about 10+ years back this race was a ping pong match between 2 trainers, Bob Baffert and John Sadler. But Baffert was the last to win one, and that was way back in 2012. Since then, it has flipped between Jerry Hollendorfer (long gone from SoCal), and a bevy of other conditioners.  There is no question that Baffert has an uncoupled entry that is going to get a ton of play. Both Kalypso #3 and Private Mission #4 are formidable, and they have the class lines to back it up. But I have some questions … The former by Brody’s Cause, is coming off-the-bench, and the last time we saw this filly was in the Eight Belles (G2) @CD on the Oaks undercard. You never want your comment in the form to read, “Bled; eased; walked off.” I am sure Baffert has done his recalibration, and he clearly has the proper rider in Johnny V (who is in for the Meet from NY/FL). Still, I think she needs a race … plain and simple. As for the latter, this daughter of super sire Into Mischief did not flash much talent down at Del Mar in the BC Distaff (G1). She led … and then she didn’t … dead last 11th. Though not quite short on experience, she is going to have to earn the “deserving favorite” tag. She can win, but I am not backing her as a “Single.” My top selection comes from the barn of Mike Puype … or I should say, Todd Fincher. Canoodling #1 is owned by B4 Farms, and has in the past wanted to run out in SoCal (they did this last year @DMR). They trust Fincher, but his realm is more in New Mexico, so they have transferred this well-bred filly by Pioneerof the Nile to Mike Puype’s outfit. Fincher broke her originally, and though it might not appear so, she has battled some tough company in the lower ranks at Sam Houston, Lone Star, and all the running NM tracks. Jockey Roimes Chirinos makes the trip out as her regular rider, and I think this filly will be much tougher than anyone might think. Puype is a class act, as is Fincher, so it would be ultra-impressive to see this one run well. Just in case there is a pace meltdown, or some miss the break, I am hitting the “All” button … sensible, especially because I have some definite opinions when it comes to the 2nd half of this .20 P6 sequence.

Selections: 1-7 (All)


LEG 4: (Race 9: Hillside Turf, 6½F, ALLW69k, F&M 3+) (OFF-THE-TURF)

There is nothing in North American racing, or for that matter, the World, like the Hillside Turf Course at Santa Anita. Too bad this one was "taken off." This turns into a dirt sprint, as a different set of challenges remain. When it comes to a top choice in this race, I will fall on John Sadler’s Kalon #6. Owned by the powerful Hronis Racing, this filly by Bernardini has strong experience, and gets JJ Hernandez in the irons. He had a special year in 2021, and can really make snap decisions on the grass when it matters the most. Let’s use this one, which could hover around 8/1, but I also want to include a few others. To expand the ticket, I also like Richard Baltas' Fantail #1, Brian Koriner's Super Game #2, the speedy Rapid Transit #4, Ben Cecil’s Another Eddie #8 to round things out. That should complete the line … moving to the MT.

Selections: 1/2/4/6/8 (5-Deep)


LEG 5: (Race 10: Dirt, 7F, Runhappy Malibu S. (G1), $300k, 3)

What a Runhappy Malibu that we have for your enjoyment this year … It is going to be a true barnburner, and of course, everyone is chattering about John Sadler’s lightly-raced speedster called Flightline #5. In a pair of lifetime races, this colt by Tapit (part-owned by Hronis), has absolutely smoked the field he has faced. A MSW61k @SA was won by 13-lengths, while an OC40k was by 12 … Flavien Prat simply was along for the ride, as his mount made the others look like they were being timed with a sundial. Let’s put it this way, if Sadler’s charge can post a speed fig like he did last time, then this race will be over after a few furlongs. I am willing to bet, based on his works and the company, that this talented colt gets it done. I know there are horses that come into spots like this one, and they are in actuality “not ready” … this is not one of those. I think a “Single” is in order, despite the fact that the impressive Dr. Schivel #4 from Mark Glatt’s midst comes calling after getting nailed by Wayne Catalano’s Aloha West in the BC Sprint (G1) back at Del Mar. I make this claim, even with HOF trainer Bob Baffert’s entry … the undefeated Triple Tap #7, that is also out of Tapit … go figure. This will be a “heck’of a” race to quote John Madden, but I think Sadler gets to visit the SA Winner’s Circle … scoring his 2nd Malibu S.; the last being Twirling Candy in 2010.

Selections: 5 (Single)


LEG 6: (Race 11: Turf, 1¼, American Oaks (G1), $300k, 3F) (OFF-THE-TURF)

Over 10 years ago, when this race was contested at Hollywood Park, it boasted a purse of $750k. Even though the current valuation is not quite that high, it still brings together a good group of competitive 3-yr-old fillies who would be starting their journey from the mouth of the Hillside Turf Course. Now, we are the Main Track ... Super turf trainer Chad Brown has won a pair of these races (Competitionofideas, 2018 and Duopoly, 2020). He is used to invading, and when he comes to pillage, he means business. I must say that I have never been a fan of his entry, Fluffy Socks #1. Ever since I first saw her run at Pimlico in 2020, I always thought that when she won, it was just pure unadulterated luck. In the Jimmy Durante (G3) that same year, Irad Ortiz literally “bullied” his way to victory aboard her (he does that?). I am willing to look elsewhere because I do not care for Mike Smith as a lawn jockey. He is a HOF-er, but he simply does not ride enough on the surface. Sure, you can bring up that win aboard that Charlie Appleby-trainee last summer, but I am not listening. I am actually much more intrigued by another “invader” who is going to be a boxcar price for sure at something like 30/1. Core Values #2 is trained by the Kentucky-based Vicky Oliver, and the daughter of Honor Code won some nice races back in June/July/August. That score at Ellis Park was just by a whisker. Shipping into hostile territory like Santa Anita will be tough, but I sure would like to see Oliver come away with a victory! Let’s use this one on our ticket, but I also think that 2 of Mike McCarthy’s runners look promising. How about the form of Irish Oaks (G1) participant Nicest #4, and also the Eclipse-owned Queen Goddess #9? The latter is way more talented than her dossier might admit, and the Empire Maker filly is sitting on a big race, in my good opinion. I am hoping her odds float towards double-digits because I will be using her in several types of wagers! Last, but not necessarily least, I want to add Carla Gaines’ Closing Remarks #3 and Phil D’Amato’s Going Global #5. Each is steeped in Santa Anita experience, and D’Amato’s ace is 4/4 … we cannot leave them off the ticket. That should round things out in what has amounted to a massive card. How exciting, especially considering the potential size of this P6 Pool! Everybody in!

Selections: 2/3/4/5/9 (5-Deep)


.20 P6 TICKET COST: $140.00

Enjoy Opening Day at Santa Anita! A Sunday trackside at “The Great Race Place,” nothing better! Be sure to follow us on Twitter @Horseracing_USA …

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