12/26 Japan Plays (Nakayama)

Picks and Plays from Japan:

Race 9: #6 Hartley
Sunday Racing's son of Deep Impact looked a smart two-year-old when closing from the clouds to win on debut. He doesn't have the luxury of Ryan Moore aboard this time around after he copped a suspension for his winning ride aboard Maurice in the Hong Kong Mile. Hartley does get a fine replacement in the form of Hugh Bowman. Well-bred, Hartley is out of former Doug O'Neill runner Wickedly Perfect, who won the G1 Alcibiades in 2010. In a race which features a great deal of front end speed, Hartley figures to be roaring home late. 

Play: Win bet #6 Hartley

Race 10: #7 Gold Actor
The featured Arima Kinen is a more complex race from a pace scenario. There are a fair number of frontrunners, but those horses who do typically go forward don't go especially hard early in their races. For that reason, we'll give the slight edge to individuals who are likely to be placed in the front half of the field early. He's unproven versus this quality of competition, but Gold Actor -- third in last year's G1 Kikuka Sho -- enters here with three straight wins and looks to be well placed from barrier seven in a race which should suit him to a tee from a pace and distance perspective. He appears to have recovered well from his knee injury and looks a ripe chance to make the frame at a nice price. While they won't be privy to the same setup, it's impossible to ignore Gold Ship -- who'll have been primed for what is the final race of his career -- and G1 Yushun Himba runner-up Rouge Buck in what will be her second-up run of this form cycle. Rouge Buck will have the poor recent record for fillies in this race to overcome, but she's always looked a progressive type and given how well she ran first-up in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup, a big effort is expected from her here. As far as Gold Ship is concerned, make sure to have a look at him on course before betting. When he appears cool, calm, and collected -- as he did last time out -- he tends to flop. Three-year-olds Lia Fail and Kitasan Black offer place claims entering this race in good form and likely being two who will control the tempo from the outset. 

Play: Win/show bet #7 Gold Actor
          7,13 exacta box
          7,13 / 7,13,15 / 7,11,12,13,15 trifecta

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