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TVG racing expert Emily Shields is back this week with picks for Saturday's races at Gulfstream, Santa Anita & More

Winter racing action is in full swing with five stakes races across the country set to take place January 9. Four different racetracks are running playable cards on Saturday: Santa Anita, the Fair Grounds, Gulfstream Park, and Aqueduct.

Santa Anita, Race 8 - $200,000 La Canada Stakes (G3) - Click here to bet with TVG****

This is a very good field of top-class fillies and mares, with #3 Fighting Mad (9-5) getting the nod here based solely on how well trainer Bob Baffert has been doing of late. Her archrival #2 Hard Not to Love (2-1) loves this surface and has been training well for this. Longshot Play: #1 Proud Emma (6-1) is coming off a big win at Los Alamitos and draws the rail for trainer Peter Miller.

Santa Anita, Race 9 - $100,000 Las Cienegas Stakes (G3) - Click here to bet with TVG****

#6 Jolie Olimpica (8-5) is back off a long layoff, with only one start since May. She loves sprinting, is two for three over the course, and is five for seven lifetime. The question with her is if she needs the race. #6 Oleksandra (9-5) was good enough to beat males in Grade 1 company last summer. They all have to beat #4 Lighthouse (5-2) who has won twice in her last three starts, missing by a neck in the third. This is another very tough, competitive event.

Fair Grounds, Race 9 - $75,000 Nelson J. Menard Memorial - Click here to bet with TVG****

#8 Play On (3-1) takes on a solid field here, including three horses who outran her last out, but she has been top two in five of six on this course, and was second in this race last year. She just needs to run a jump better than the streaking #4 Elle Z (7-2), who beat her last out with a career-best speed figure. #3 Into Mystic (9-5) will be the choice for many; she ran in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (12th of 14) and hasn’t won since August but has placed against some tough company.

Aqueduct, Race 3 - $100,000 Say Florida Sandy Stakes - Click here to bet with TVG****

Best Bet of the Day: #1 Funny Guy (3-5) certainly won’t make you any money at the price, but he should win this and is one of the classiest campaigners on the circuit. John Terranova trains the star New York-bred. #3 My Boy Tate (5-2) has the best upset chance; he has earned just under half a million dollars and is five for 10 on this track.

Gulfstream Park, Race 10 - $100,000 Tropical Turf (G3) - Click here to bet with TVG****

The story of #3 Ride a Comet (5-1) continues here as the six-year-old was off for over two years but has since come back to be unbeaten. He doesn’t seem to care about surface, and the Mark Casse trainee has had two bullet workouts for this. #6 Analyze It (2-1) runs for Chad Brown, who is always dangerous on the grass. #5 Frostmourne (9-2) is coming off a good win over the distance from November.


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