Saturday Spots December 30th 2023

Starting things off out West down the hill at Santa Anita I’m a Gambler looks interesting in the Grade 2 Joe Hernandez. The 4-year-old gelding takes blinkers off after a subpar effort and adds Frankie. He looks like he will be in the garden spot with the perfect pace set up if good enough. The back class is there, the barn is on fire, and this guy likes to win when in the right spot.


In the Robert Frankel later on the card Lakota Spirit looks dangerous right back off a sharp win which was never in doubt against lesser. Should handle the rise in class and should get a perfect rail trip to help the cause.


We’ll move over to Gulfstream Park for some more stakes action on the East Coast.


Saffron Moon got run away with last out at Churchill Downs over not the best of turf courses. I think there is a good chance she didn’t like the course or how things played out and she goes much better here. The rail and Tyler help the cause and I see a potential breakout race here from her. Obviously, things would have to remain on the turf.


The Harlan’s Holiday came down to two for me. I like how Gasoline is developing slowly for Todd Pletcher and how he gears up for this meet. The tactical speed makes for a perfect Gulfstream type trip and Irad takes the call. He should be in a good spot all the way around and we will find out Saturday if he belongs with this kind and it does look as if he does.


O’ Connor showed promise from the onset and seems to have put it all together. He is the top choice for me if he gets the set up but that remains a question mark pace wise in here. Saffie has him as good as he has been, and he should again come with his run in the lane. It appears he is finally living up to the promise and it does take down for these good South American imports to acclimate and come around.


In the Fort Lauderdale Stone Age is a tough horse to gauge but I am going to give him another shot. Chad keeps the faith and the connections have kept him in training. Has run with the really good ones, competitively at times while never breaking through. Johnny has ridden him before so he knows him and at this distance, he should have plenty left to finish. Maybe the blinkers on will help as well.


With a few spots to consider for me I’ll pick one to go after hard, and the others as back up or icing on the cake so to speak. That will be a game time decision based on conditions, changes, and the like. I lean to the Santa Anita races Saturday so the maim play will likely be out West.


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Jon Stettin

Since childhood, Jon has always had a deep love and respect for the Sport of Kings. His years of experience have earned him a well respected spot in the industry as a handicapper. He now is a frequent contributor to AmWager as well as writing for his own site.

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