The day after Christmas in New Orleans is the start of big sports week in the Big Easy, beginning with a 13-race card at the Fair Grounds on Monday. The lineup features nine listed stakes races, including the aptly named Sugar Bowl Stakes. Brad Cox boasts seven horses in six of the stakes with none higher than 4-1 in the horse racing odds. Also on Monday, the championship meet at Gulfstream kicks off with a pair of listed stakes races on the turf.
Competitive Fields Await Players in the Bayou
Most people will be in town to see Alabama take on Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl on Friday at the Caesars Superdome, about three miles from the Fair Grounds. But some may arrive to the Bayou early to gamble on the Sport of Kings.
Race 3: Joseph E. Spanky Broussard Memorial Stakes (Post time, 2 p.m. ET)
Powder River finished second in the 2021 edition of this race, for fillies and mares at 1 mile, 70 yards, and could take this five-horse field all the way on the front end under Florent Geroux.
- The Plays: 3 to Win; 3-3 Double; 3 with 3 with 3,8 Pick 3
Race 4: Sugar Bowl Stakes (2:30 p.m.)
Corona Bolt makes his second career start for Cox, and any sort of improvement of his open maiden score at Churchill Downs should land him in the winner’s circle at a short price.
- The Play: 3 with 3,8 with 1,4 Pick 3
Race 6: Blushing K.D. Stakes (3:30)
The 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares is a wide-open affair with several directions in which to go. Look for Island Hideaway to get a great trip from the rail behind the speed and potentially score the upset. Carpe Vinum ships in from California and switches barns from Phil D’Amato to John Ortiz, and is also capable of pulling a mild surprise.
- The Plays: 1,4 with 3,5 with 6 Pick 3s
Race 8: Lettelier Memorial Stakes (4:30)
The six-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies is packed with speed and begging for a closer to mow them down in the stretch. Miss Shipman could be the one at a price when betting online, fresh off a maiden victory in her third start during which she made up five lengths in the stretch. Miss Shipman is also entered in Race 12, but this seems to be the better spot.
- The Plays: 6 to Win; 6 with 3,4,6 Doubles; 6 with 3,4,6 with 4,8 Pick 3s
Race 9: Richard R. Scherer Memorial Stakes (5:00)
This is another wide-open race, which features seven hard-knocking sprinters. Tulane Tryst hasn’t raced since May 4, but a four-furlong bullet work among 86 on Dec. 17 could be a signal that he is ready. Surveillance is 3-for-3 at Fair Grounds after running down Heart Rhythm last month. Those two should get first run on the speed.
- The Plays: 3,4,6 with 1,4,8 with 3 Pick 3s; 3,4,6 with 1,4,8 with 3 with 1 with 3 Pick 5s
Race 10: Buddy Diliberto Memorial Stakes (5:30)
A case could be made for perhaps all but one of the horses in this 1 1/16-mile grass race, so we’ll spread out and take three. Spanish Kingdom, Bizzee Channel, and Temper Tantrum appear to be the speed horses who can dictate the race.
- The Plays: 1,4,8 with 3 Doubles; 1,4,8 with 3 with 1 Pick 3s; 1,4,8 with 3 with 1 with 3 Pick 4s
Race 11: Gun Runner Stakes (6:00)
Determinedly put it all together in breaking his maiden in his sixth try by 7¼ lengths, so we’ll ride with the lightbulb angle in this 1 1/16-mile test for 2-year-olds. Determinedly finished second in his return to dirt two-back, 7¼ lengths behind the Bob Baffert-trained Arabian Knight – an early favorite to win the Kentucky Derby – on Breeders’ Cup Saturday at Keeneland.
- The Plays: 3 to Win; 3-1-3 Pick 3
Race 12: Untapable Stakes (6:30)
Pretty Mischievous exits a Grade II and looms large from the rail in this race for 2-year-old fillies at a mile and 70 yards. Pretty Mischievous ran a decent second at 5-1 in the Golden Rod at Churchill Downs and can sit a great trip behind the speed for Brian Hernandez.
- The Play: 1-3 Double
Race 13: Tenacious Stakes (7:00)
Thirteen older horses crowd into the gate for this test at 1 1/16 miles. Intrepid Heart has finished second in six straight races, but can break through at a square price. Post three should be helpful for the versatile Intrepid Heart, who is 1-for-3 with two seconds at the Fair Grounds.
- The Play: 3 to Win
Race 5: Tropical Park Oaks (Post time, 2:11 p.m. ET)
Trainer Shug McGaughey has two of the 10 entrants in the 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies with Personal Best looming large. It looks like Irad Ortiz. Jr. has enough early speed in Personal Best to avoid going too wide from post 10. Personal Best’s speed figure in her last towers over these as she tries stakes company for the first time. Surprisingly, the other McGaughey, is one of four in here that competed in a roughly run Virginia Oaks in September but didn’t make much of an impact. Spirit and Glory avoided all the trouble in Virginia and swept past the field in the stretch at 8-1 under Ortiz. Omixochitl was pinched soon after the start and hard to handle. She veered sharply toward the rail to avoid a wall of trouble at the top of the stretch and led briefly before fading to fifth, beaten a credible four lengths. Candy Light came from well back to be a non-threatening third.
- The Plays: 3,10 with 3,5,10 Exactas; 3,10 with 3,5,10 with 3,5,10 Trifectas
Race 9: Tropical Park Derby, 3:42
Axthelm and Fort Washington finished less than two lengths apart behind winner Balnikhov in a Grade III at Keeneland last month. Balknikhov is favored to win a Grade II at Santa Anita on Monday. Axthelm was third after challenging for the lead at the top of the stretch while Fort Washington made up more than 10 lengths, but was seventh by 2½ lengths after a wide trip. Fort Washington, trained by McGaughey, picks up jockey Jose Ortiz.
- The Play: 6-7 Exacta Box