Best Horse Racing Bets for Friday, December 10, 2021

| December 9, 2021 12:21 pm PDT

I found sleepers, longshots, and underdog moneymakers galore at the three tracks I selected for my Friday horseracing picks: Golden Gate Fields, Tampa Bay Downs, and Turf Paradise.

Each of the three tracks coughed up at least one sleeper, with Golden Gate going the extra mile with a righteous 20/1 longshot for our wagering pleasure.

Check out the line-ups for all the races at our top horseracing wagering websites.

Good luck!

My Friday Picks for Golden Gate Fields

We’re starting on the turf course with race five, a one mile claiming run for fillies and mares three years old and upward. I’m buying a win ticket on the 20/1 longshot, Slew of Fashion, ridden by top jockey Kevin E. Orozco.

The youngest in a six-horse field, this three-year-old also has the best 2021 record: six money finishes in 12 career starts, three of those wins. In contrast, the top three morning-line picks for this race have scored zero wins this year.

Longtime racing veteran Melanie W. McDonald trains Slew of Fashion for Viola Racing Stables.

We move to the all-weather track for race seven, a 5-1/2 furlongs allowance race for three-year-olds and upward.

This race is a virtual carbon copy of one from a month ago, with only two of the eight entries different. I’m going to bet on the same horse that won that earlier race: Cool Mountain Lad, with Pedro M. Terrero in the irons. The morning line says he’s the 3/1 favorite.

This three-year-old gelding moneyed all seven of his career starts, winning four. Does it matter that his jockey is having the best year of his career? I think we can all agree that it certainly doesn’t hurt.

Victor M. Trujillo trains Cool Mountain Lad for owners William Lordan, Timothy Francis O’Leary, and Larry Powers.

Race eight is a 1-1/16 miles allowance optional claiming run on the all-weather track for fillies and mares three years old and upward. I’m betting my two dollars on the 7/2 morning-line favorite, Miss Super Saint, with veteran jockey Catalino Martinez aboard.

This seven-year-old mare has a record the rest of this 12-horse field cannot touch: 12 money finishes in 21 career starts, seven of them wins.

With more than four decades in the business, Steven Specht trains Miss Super Saint for owner Jim Grigsby.

My Friday Picks for Tampa Bay Downs

Let’s start on the main track with race seven, a seven-furlong claiming race for fillies and mares three years old and upward that have never won two races. I like the 10/1 sleeper, Naval Wave, piloted by veteran jockey Fernando De La Cruz.

This three-year-old filly finished in the money five of her nine career starts, winning one. For comparison, the morning-line favorite—Gone Dreaming—has seven money finishes in 15 career starts, with one win. In fact, Naval Wave’s record compares favorably to the rest of this 11-horse field.

Newcomer Rafael Schistl trains Naval Wave for Endsley Oaks Farm, Inc.

We switch to the turf course for race eight, a one-mile allowance optional claiming race for two-year-olds. I’m calling this one for the second-favored (at 5/2) Optigogo, with jockey Rocco Bowen in the irons.

This colt moneyed both of his career starts, breaking his maiden at Presque Isle Downs in September, then placing third in the Display Stakes (Listed) at Woodbine in late October.

Eoin G. Harty trains Optigogo for owner-breeder Calumet Farm. Harty tapped Bowen to saddle Optigogo for his maiden victory.

Race nine is a 1-1/16 mile claiming race on the turf for fillies and mares three years old and upward that have never won two races. My money’s on the 7/2 third-favored Musetta, ridden by Alonso Quinonez.

This three-year-old filly finished in the money for four of her eight career starts, winning one—which makes her the statistical leader in this 12-horse field.

Ranked among the top 100 trainers for wins in 2020, Jose H. Delgado trains Musetta for Carole Star Stables. By the way, jockey Quinonez, who was in the irons for Musetta’s maiden victory, is currently experiencing the winningest year of his career.

Friday’s Picks for Turf Paradise

We’re on the turf course for race three, a 7-1/2 furlong allowance optional claiming race for fillies and mare three years old and upward. I’m buying a win ticket on the 8/1 sleeper, Copper Charm, piloted by Enrique Garcia.

This three-year-old filly moneyed both of her career starts, finishing second in her initial maiden attempt back in February, then graduating from the maiden class just last month. In this seven-horse field, she’s the one to watch.

Currently enjoying the winningest year of his career, Miguel L. Hernandez trains Copper Charm for owner-breeder Jan Osborn. Hernandez put Garcia in the irons for Copper Charm’s maiden victory.

We’re back on the main track for race four, a 6-1/2 furlong claiming race for three-year-olds and upward that have never won two races. I’m going to go along with the morning line for this one and bet on the 5/2 favorite, Toil and Trouble, with veteran jockey Lindey Wade aboard.

This three-year-old gelding finished in the money six of his eleven career starts, winning one, giving himself the best statistics in this short field of six.

Matt Williams trains Toil and Trouble for owners Dennis Gilligan and John Smales.

And we’re right back on the turf for race six, a one-mile claiming race for three-year-olds and upward. I’m backing the fourth-favored (at 5/1) Johnny, ridden by Harry Hernandez.

This three-year-old gelding has a record that makes him the start of this eight-horse field: seven money finishes in ten career starts, three of those wins. In contrast, the six-year-old favorite, Playoff Bound, moneyed 19 of his 35 career starts, winning eight—with only two of those wins in 2021. 

James R. Brown, who’s having a year anyone in the business would envy, trains Johnny for owner Terry Elsener.

J.W. Paine

J.W. Paine is one of the most experienced writers at He's written for television and the printed media, and is a published novelist (as Tom Elliott).

Paine loves writing about Las Vegas nearly as much he loves living here. An experienced gambler, he's especially familiar with thoroughbred horseracing, poker, blackjack, and slots.

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