‘Tis the weekend before Christmas and all through the country, stakes races aplenty are available to watch and wager including a headlining bonus race that just recently materialized.
On Saturday December 17th, California Chrome, the world’s richest active thoroughbred with $14,452,650 in earnings, will be competing in the $180,000 Winter Challenge Stakes at Los Alamitos. The superstar horse most recently appeared in the Breeders’ Cup Classic — the runner-up position — and will next appear in the $12 Million Pegasus World Cup Invitational January 28th at Gulfstream. But on the 17th, he’ll face 11 other competitors at a 1 1/16 miles distance. The Winter Challenge Stakes will go to post at 7:28 PM. and has been carded as Race 9. Los Alamitos will also host the $100,000 Soviet Problem Stakes for 2 year old fillies at 3:58 PM. That is the 2nd race on their Saturday program. Los Alamitos also has a Pick-6 carryover Pool of $308,191.
Gulfstream’s championship meet is in full swing and they have five stakes on tap Saturday. The quintet includes a trio of Grade 3 stakes — the Harlan’s Holiday, Rampart, and Sugar Swirl Stakes — and a pair of $100,000 ungraded ones — the El Prado and South Beach Stakes. Staying in Florida, Tampa Bay Downs plays host to the $100,000 Lightning City Stakes and up north, Aqueduct has a showcase pair — the $125,000 Queens County Stakes and $150,000 New York Stallion Series (the Great White Way division) for two year old colts and geldings.
Virginia residents can wager the action at the new Breakers Off Track Betting (OTB) Center in Richmond in the TJ Maxx Shopping Center at 9127 West Broad Street. On line wagering is available via TVG.com, XPressbet.com, TwinSpires.com and NYRABets.com. A second Richmond area OTB will open in early January in Shockoe Bottom, at 110 N. 18th Street in a new restaurant/bar called Ponies & Pints.