Best Horse Racing Bets for Thursday, December 30, 2021

| December 29, 2021 12:28 pm PDT

It was all about underdogs and sleepers at the three tracks I looked at for my Thursday picks—Aqueduct Racetrack, Fair Grounds Race Course, and Turfway Park.

I didn’t find a favorite I liked at either Fair Grounds or Aqueduct, but then I saw two that had the stats to match the morning-line’s favoritism at Turfway. On the other hand, I found two 8/1 sleepers at Aqueduct, which should embiggen our bankrolls a tad.

You can always get the full story on all the races with a quick visit to one of our recommended horseracing wagering sites.

Good luck!

Thursday Picks for Aqueduct Racetrack

Let’s start on the main track with race three, a one-mile allowance race for New York-bred three-year-olds and upward. I’m betting my two dollars on the 8/1 sleeper in this six-horse race—Anything Pazible, ridden by Jacqueline A. Davis.

This six-year-old gelding finished in the money 25 of his 47 career starts, winning eight. Sure, that’s not particularly impressive, but in this field, it makes him a star—particularly when you notice that he’s won nearly as many races this year as the other five contenders combined (he’s won three in 2021, they’ve won four). Oh, and his speed figures are consistently high.

Anything Pazible is trained by co-owner Eduardo E. Jones for himself and Luis Gutierrez.

Race four is a six-furlong claiming race on the main track for three-year-olds and upward that have never won three races. My money’s on yet another 8/1 sleeper: Conformist with jockey Eric Cancel in the irons.

This three-year-old gelding moneyed five of his eight career starts, winning two, including the Ontario County Stakes (Black Type) at Finger Lakes in June. He’ll do.

Longtime racing veteran Chris J. Englehart trains Conformist for My Purple Haze Stables.

Race seven is the Bay Ridge Stakes, a $100,000 purse, 1-1/8 miles run on the dirt for New York-bred fillies and mares three years old and upward. I’m buying a win ticket on the 2/1 third-favored Maiden Beauty, with veteran jockey Kendrick Carmouche aboard.

The oldest horse in a short field of five, this five-year-old mare was aggressively campaigned at the stakes level, starting with her first professional race, the Lynbrook Stakes (Black Type) at Belmont Park in 2018—which she won.

Her overall record is 18 money finishes in 34 career starts, eight of those wins, and her 2021 record—four eight money finishes in nine starts, four of them wins—proves she knows her way to the winner’s circle.

Robert N. Falcone Jr. trains Maiden Beauty for John Grossi’s Racing Corp. Falcone tapped Carmouche to saddle Maiden Beauty for her last three races, resulting in two wins.

My Thursday Picks for Fair Grounds Race Course

We start on the dirt track with race five, a 5-1/2 furlong starter optional claiming race for Louisiana-bred three-year-olds and upward. I’m betting my two dollars on one of the second-favored entries (there are two at 4/1 in this race): Mr. Production piloted by Reylu Gutierrez.

This five-year-old finished 16 of his 25 career starts in the money, seven of them wins. And his 2021 record shows he’s just getting started: Nine money finishes in 13 starts, five of them wins.

Ron Faucheux trains Mr. Production for owner Allen Cassedy.

We move to the turf course for race six, a one-mile grass run for Louisiana-bred three-year-olds and upward. I like the third-favored (at 9/2) Jaci’s Royalty, with Declan Carroll aboard.

This four-year-old gelding finished in the money six of his 12 career starts, winning four. In this ragtag field of eleven, he’ll do.

Relative newcomer Cortland Harrison trains Jaci’s Royalty for Bienvenu Racing.

We’re back on the dirt for race seven, a one-mile and 70 yards allowance race for Louisiana-bred three-year-olds and upward. My money’s on one of the third-favored entries (there are three at 6/1 in this race), Guilty Lover, ridden by Rene Diaz.

Not only does this three-year-old gelding have the advantage of the best record in this eight-horse field (ten money finishes in 14 career starts, three of those wins), but he’s also got Diaz’s apprentice weight allowance to grease his way to the finish line.

Thirty-year racing veteran Nathan D. Hatcher trains Guilty Lover for Powderhorn Racing.

Thursday’s Picks for Turfway Park

We’re on the all-weather track for race two, a one-mile claiming race for three-year-olds and upward that have never won two races. I like the 5/2 morning-line favorite, Heat of the Night, with veteran jockey Gerardo Corrales in the irons.

This three-year-old gelding finished in the money three of his nine career starts, winning one—his initial maiden attempt in September of 2020. Later that same month he finished fifth out of seven in the Summer Stakes (Grade I) at Woodbine.

Ranked among the top 100 in earnings and wins for the past four years, Timothy E. Hamm trains Heat of the Night for owners Blazing Meadows Farm LLC and Frederick Hertrich III.

Race six is a one-mile allowance optional claiming run on the all-weather track for three-year-olds and upward. I’m backing one of the fourth-favored entries (there are three at 5/1 in this race), Royne, ridden by Joseph Rocco Jr.

This three-year-old gelding finished three of his five career starts in the money, winning one. He notably finished six out of ten last year in the Central Park Stakes (Black Type) at Aqueduct. In 2021 he moneyed two of his three starts.

Michael W. Dickinson trains Royne for Augustin Stable.

Race seven is a one-mile claiming run on the all-weather track for three-year-olds and upward that have never won two races. I have to agree with the morning line here and buy a win ticket on the 3/1 favorite, Eye of the Cat, piloted by veteran jockey Joseph Talamo.

Even though this three-year-old gelding didn’t break his maiden until July, he’s still the statistical frontrunner in this lackluster field of eleven. For the record, Eye of the Cat moneyed three of his seven career starts, winning one.

Breeders’ Cup veteran Wayne M. Catalano trains Eye of the Cat for owner-breeder Carmen Catizone.

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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