Snowbound, and with a few spare minutes after a busy and productive workday, I took a look at two races this afternoon, one for the Del Mar "for fun" winter contest (Race 8) and the other the DRF "Race of the Day" (Race 8 at Oaklawn).
In the 8th at Oaklawn, I like #1, Picko's Pride, at 8-1 in this 6f dirt sprint, figuring the inside draw, early speed and experience edge will play well in this seemingly middling field of 7 (five of which are coming off maiden scores and, in some cases, long layoffs), and would match him with #7, Thezimman, in an exacta box.
Turning to the 8th at Santa Anita, I picked #9 Banana Cream Pie at a 7-2 M/L. A handful of horses in this 9-horse field are making big class drops, but I view none of them as huge threats. The handicappers' selections on the track's website look extremely favorably on #1A International (5-2 M/L), but with a lot of apparent early speed, and the Rosario-O'Neill combo on BCP outside, I put a notional $100W for the free contest. And, fortunately for me (~$900 in the hole), it's only pretend money, but I'll battle back, knowing that I've been nosed at the wire on two double-digit plays over the first few weeks of the contest.