Quick Picks for January 1, 2013

I hope all of you had a wonderful New Year's Eve! Here's to hoping this year is better than the last and that we hit a few winners along the way. Today, I have a few plays from Santa Anita and one from Aqueduct. Good luck with your bets and if you ever have a race(s) in mind that you'd like me to cover, feel free to let me know on Twitter (@chare889). 

Aqueduct Race 3 -- Affectionately Stakes: #1 Centring
Unfortunately, we won't get the best odds on this one, but perhaps this daughter of A.P. Indy would serve best as a single for those of you who are playing multi-race wagers. The class of the field, in my opinion, Centring has finished in the top three of four straight graded stakes. She's raced against the likes of Princess of Sylmar, Royal Delta, and Authenticity throughout the year and these obviously are not up to that standard. Yes, she finished second to fellow competitor Royal Lahaina at Aqueduct last time out, but she was closing furiously over the one mile contest and you have to think the extra distance benefits her.  

Santa Anita Race 2 -- Allowance Optional Claiming $62,500: #3 Safety Belt
I'll preface this by saying that I'm so glad to see Govenor Charlie back on the track and while he has trained well for this often in company with Shakin It Up, who recently won the Malibu, I'm just not willing to take such short odds on a horse who hasn't raced since May. If he runs at his best, he smokes these, but that's a lot to ask after an extended layoff. Instead, I'll side with a price in Safety Belt, who ships here from South America and has looked solid while working on the main track. This will be his first start in America, but he enters off a second place finish in at G1 in Argentina and gets Gary Stevens aboard. Like Govenor Charlie, he hasn't raced since May, but he clearly offers the better value of the two. 

Santa Anita Race 5 -- Allowance Optional Claiming $62,500: #1 American Blend
If you've followed me on Twitter for long, then you know that biggest cliff horse of 2013 was Den's Legacy. That being said, I'm not sure I'm quite in favor of the switch back to dirt when his best races have certainly been on the turf (reverse jinx?). Instead I'm going to side with American Blend, who most recently finished sixth in a lightning fast allowance race over a mile on the main track that was won by Tiz the Truth. Prior to that race, however, he had two wins and only one off the board finish in five starts at Santa Anita and with other bigger names in the field, you should be able to snag him at a price. 

Santa Anita Race 8 -- Blue Norther Stakes: #1 Famous Alice
Proctor trained daughter of top American turf sire Kitten's Joy enters here after impressively breaking her maiden in her first race, which was on the turf at Hollywood Park. She's prepped well for this and Gary Stevens retains the mount. 

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