Best Horse Racing Bets for Friday, December 17, 2021
My three tracks for the Friday picks are Charles Town Races, Gulfstream Park, and Turf Paradise.
Turf Paradise brings us three ungraded stakes races to fret over, but Gulfstream Park brings us the most profitable underdogs (including one 5/1 sleeper). On the other hand, Charles Town yields three races where the favorite is most likely to prevail. Some days are like that.
Remember that you can see the full race-cards for all three tracks at our best online racebooks.
My Friday Picks for Charles Town Races
We’re on the main track for race six, a 1-1/16 miles allowance run for fillies and mares three years old and upward. I’m backing the 7/5 morning-line favorite—Door Buster, ridden by top jockey Denis Araujo.
This three-year-old filly finished in the money 11 of her 13 career starts, winning five, including the Its Binn Too Long Stakes in May, the Sylvia Bishop Memorial Stakes (Black Type) in August, and the West Virginia Tourism Office Breeders’ Classic Stakes (Black Type) in October.
In this eight-horse field, she’s the only entry with any stakes experience to speak of. No-brainer? And then some.
Ollie L. Figgins, III trains Door Buster for owner Jay A. Reese. Figgins put Araujo in the irons for two of Door Buster’s stakes victories, as well as his maiden win.
Race seven is a 4-1/2 furlong starter allowance race for West Virginia-bred fillies and mares three-years-old and upward. Like race six, this run features a favorite with plenty of stakes experience, except in this case, not quite so successful.
So, I’m betting my two dollars on the 3/1 second-favored Charm Weaver, with Denis Araujo aboard.
Ronney W. Brown, who’s been ranked in the top 100 trainers nearly every year since the turn of the century, trains Charm Weaver for owner Richard P. Harris Jr.
Race eight is a 1-1/16 miles allowance run for three-year-olds and upward. If J. D. L Acosta rides the also-eligible Luxero into the starting gate, bet them to win. The morning line says Luxero is the 3/1 second-favorite.
Trained by Claudio A. Gonzalez for MCA Racing Stable LLC, this three-year-old colt moneyed ten of his 16 career starts, winning three. Not great, but those stats put him at the head of the line in this 13-horse race.
If that doesn’t happen, then buy a win ticket on the 9/5 favorite, Martin Man, piloted by Victor Rodriguez. This six-year-old gelding finished in the money 27 of his 43 career starts, winning six. Again, not great, but surprisingly impressive versus the rest of this field if we don’t have Luxero to bet on.
Newcomer Wade S. Sanderson trains Martin Man for AB Racing LLC.
Friday’s Picks for Gulfstream Park
Let’s start on the all-weather track with race five, a five-furlong claiming run for three-year-olds and upward that have never won three races. I like the fourth-favored (at 9/2) Putin Online, piloted by top jockey Edwin Gonzalez.
This four-year-old gelding moneyed three of his five career starts, winning two. In this eight-horse field, he’ll do.
Sarah Nagle—who’s having a very good 2021—trains Putin Online for owner-breeder Big Lick Farm.
Race seven is a 6-1/2 furlong claiming race on the dirt track for fillies and mares three years old and upward that have never won two races. I like the fourth-favored (at 6/1) Frankie’s Girl, ridden by Luis Figueroa.
Let’s move to the turf for race eight, 1-1/16 miles claiming run for three-year-olds and upward that have never won two races. I’m backing the 5/1 sleeper, Eyes On Target, with veteran jockey Junior Alvarado in the irons.
In a field where the morning-line’s top two favorites took an average of ten attempts to graduate the maiden class, this three-year-old ridgling needed only two. For the record, Eyes On Target moneyed two of his six career starts, winning one.
With nearly fifty years in the racing business, William I. Mott trains Eyes On Target for owner James S. Karp.
Friday Picks for Turf Paradise
Let’s start with race six, the Zany Tactics Stakes—a $60,000 purse, five-furlong turf run for three-year-olds and upward. I’m betting on the 3/1 morning-line favorite, Minister of Soul, with veteran jockey Luis A. Fuentes aboard.
This seven-year-old gelding finished 23 of his 34 career starts in the money, winning 12, including the Tom Metzen H. B. P. A. Stakes (Black Type) at Canterbury Park in September.
Minister of Soul is trained by owner Esteban Martinez. Martinez has tapped Fuentes to saddle Minister of Soul for his last five races.
Race seven is the Arizona Juvenile Fillies Stakes, a $60,000 purse, 6-1/2 furlong run on the dirt track for two-year-old fillies. I’m betting all two of my dollars on the 7/2 second-favored Bella Dona, with Lindey Wade in the irons.
Longtime racing veteran Simon J. Buechler trains Bella Dona for owners Robert M. Driggers, Del Rae Driggers, and Ben Lee Ivey.
Race eight is the Lost in the Fog Juvenile Stakes, a $60,000 purse, 6-1/2 furlong run on the dirt track for two-year-olds. I have to agree with the morning line here and buy a win ticket on the 3/1 favorite, Bango for Bucks, piloted by veteran jockey Glenn W. Corbett.
This gelding moneyed all three of his career starts, winning his initial maiden attempt in September and an allowance race in November, then placing second in the Arizona Breeders’ Futurity earlier this month. His stats are the best you’ll find in this nine-horse field.
Thirty-year racing veteran Bill Brashears trains Bango for Bucks for owners Tom W. Bartol and Richard Dezonno.