The holidays are upon us and for many that means time off work and time with family. But wagering opportunities also abound during the holidays, as racetracks around the world gear up for winter/spring meets.
This Saturday, December 21, has the $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The seven-furlong contest pits top class sprinters X Y Jet and Imperial Hint against each other, with classy Florida runner Diamond Oops a 10-1 shot on the outside despite being four for five over the surface. The race goes as the 10th on an 11-race card.
Saturday night in North American time – Sunday afternoon in Japan – is the $5.6 million Arima Kinen (G1). The fantastic Japanese horse race is voted upon by fans each year, and will have world standout Almond Eye taking on the likes of Lys Gracieux, Saturnalia, Velox, Suave Richard, Fierement, Kiseki, and Cheval Grand. The star-studded field is one of the deepest in racing all years.
There are no graded stakes races from December 22 until December 26, when Santa Anita Park opens with a huge card. The day is topped by the $300,000 Runhappy Malibu Stakes (G1), which will feature the return of top runner Omaha Beach, as well as the $300,000, grade 1 La Brea Stakes for fillies, the $200,000 San Antonio Stakes (G20 for older males, and the grade 2 Mathis Brothers Mile on the grass.
On Saturday, December 28, there are a whopping 22 stakes races across the United States. Gulfstream Park will host six of them, including the Tropical Park Derby, and Laurel Park will have five, including the $100,000 Gin Talking Stakes. Santa Anita will have the $300,000 American Oaks (G1T) for fillies.
All Northern Hemisphere Thoroughbreds celebrate their birthdays on January 1, regardless of when they were actually born. There are only two stakes races on New Year’s Day, including the $150,000 Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct in New York, which is traditionally the first Kentucky Derby prep race of the year. The Jerome is worth 10 points to the winner on the road to the 2020 Derby, which will take place May 2 at Churchill Downs.