Weekend Plays 12/26/2014

Kempton Race 4: Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle -- Faugheen
Undefeated thus far in his career, Faugheen has become one of the more exciting runners on the National Hunt scene and although his jumping can be a bit suspect at times, his engine wins him races and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who could compete with him here without showing massive improvement. This play, however, revolves more around Purple Bay, who was most recently seen easily winning in his seasonal reappearance at Wincanton and looks to be value in what doesn't appear to be a vintage field aside from the favorite. He's the second rated horse in the field behind Faugheen and AP McCoy, who has ridden him to a placing on one other occasion, hops back aboard here. If he runs back to his most recent performance, he'll be tough to beat in the race behind Faugheen.
Play: exacta -- Faugheen / Purple Bay 

Kempton Race 5: Grade 1 King George VI Chase -- Silviniaco Conti 
After looking as if he needed the run in his seasonal reappearance, Silviniaco Conti impressed when seen drawing away late in the Betfair Chase, in which several of these reappear. He's the defending champion of this race and despite the ground coming up better this season, I don't believe that hinders him so much as it potentially aids others. His primary contenders perhaps look to be the two who finished in behind him last time out in the likes of Menorah and Dynaste. Menorah has had a fine season with a win and a runner-up finish behind Silviniaco Conti thus far and the better ground should allow him the chance to go closer to the favorite this time around. Dynaste, on the other hand, ran well to finish third in what was his seasonal reappearance and should come on for the run.
Play: exacta -- Silviniaco Conti / Menorah, Dynaste 

Santa Anita Race 4: Maiden Special Weight -- #1 Wabel
Son of Curlin showed some early speed in his debut at Los Alamitos and with him breaking from the rail this time around, he figures to be the pacesetter in a field that lacks early speed, if he breaks well. The potential for a soft lead over this slightly longer trip on top of Baffert's runners doing extremely well in their second career starts makes him the one to beat in this spot. 
Play: #1 Wabel to win (ML 4/1)

Santa Anita Race 6: G1 La Brea -- #3 Thank You Marylou
This three-year-old daughter of Birdstone has really come into her own late this season and is one who thrives over this seven furlong distance. While she was no match for Taris, who wired them in the G2 Raven Run, there appears to be other sources of early speed in here, which only aids her cause. Her third in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint was perhaps the best run of her career, so she enters here in top form, as she looms the strongest closer in a field loaded with speed. 
Play: #3 Thank You Marylou to win (ML 6/1)

Santa Anita Race 8: G1 Malibu -- #5 Pimpernel    (scratched)
It took him four tries to break his maiden, but since then he's had success sprinting, although not at this level. This will be an acid test, but he figures to get a good trip just in behind the speed of stablemate Chitu and he showed his potential when defeating Hoppertunity last time out, who came back to win the G1 Clark. He'll probably have to put in a career best effort to win here, but a potentially ideal pace setup over what looks to be his preferred distance makes that a possibility. 
Play: #5 Pimpernel to win (ML 10/1) & exacta box: 2,5 (scratched)

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