Holiday week will have its usual barrage of stakes races from tracks around the country highlighted by a trio of Grade I’s at Santa Anita the day after Christmas. Tracks like Fair Grounds, Tampa Bay Downs, Turfway Park — with its new Tapeta surface — and the Gulfstream Park Championship Meet are in full swing so horseplayers will have plenty of action to digest and enjoy.
On December 26, Santa Anita presents three $300,000 Grade I events — the La Brea, Runhappy Malibu and American Oaks. The Grade 2 San Antonio and Grade 2 Mathis Brothers Mile complement the Grade I showcase races. Laurel also has a powerhouse program filled with eight stakes including the $150,000 Allaire duPont (Gr. 3). Seven others at $100,000 will be contested including the Gin Talking, Native Dancer and Howard County.
On New Years Day, Aqueduct has an early prep for their Wood Memorial coming up in spring — the $100,000 Jerome Stakes for three-year-olds. Santa Anita presents the first of three graded weekend stakes that day — the $200,000 Joe Hernandez (Gr. 2) followed the next day (January 2) by the Grade 2 San Gabriel and Grade 3 Sham Stakes, a one mile dirt race for sophomores. The same day, Gulfstream chips in with their own three-year-old stakes — the Mucho Macho Man.
Looking ahead, January 16 features three Derby prep races — the Grade 3 Lecomte at Fair Grounds, the $200,000 Cal Cup Derby at Santa Anita and $125,000 Pasco Stakes at Tampa. Fair Grounds has an additional five stakes that day and Santa Anita has four others including another pair of Cal Cup events. Gulfstream Park may not have a Derby prep, but they have four Sunshine Millions stakes, a nice pre-Pegasus card to wager in South Florida.
Highlight of the month is the $3 Million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (Gr. I) on January 23 at Gulfstream. A stakes-laden under card features the Grade I, $1 Million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, the Grade 2 Inside Information and a four-pack of Grade 3’s — the Fred W. Hooper, Marshua’s River, William L. McKnight and La Prevoyante Stakes.
Bet all the holiday and post-holiday racing action in Virginia at any VA-Horseplay Off Track Betting Center in Henrico (Breakers), Chesapeake (Buckets) and Collinsville (The Windmill), at any Rosie’s Gaming Emporium in Richmond, New Kent, Vinton, Hampton and Dumfries (opening early 2021) and online via TVG.com, Xpressbet.com, Twinspires.com and NYRABets.com.