Jeff Siegel's Horse Racing Picks for 12/30

By Jeff Siegel  (Xpressbet) 

December 29, 2022 08:08 PM

Xpressbet writer Jeff Siegel offers his top plays for Friday with both at Santa Anita.

Santa Anita Race No. 4 (4:29 p.m. ET/1:29 p.m. PT)

#5 Nolo Contesto (5-2)

Once hung a photo on Omaha Beach over this track and distance back in 2019 and was considered at that time to be something of a 3-year-old classic prospect. But the son of Pioneerof the Nile has a history of being started and stopped on a bunch of times since then, and almost four years later he’s still looking for his next victory. Maybe it will come today. After shaking off some of the rust in his latest comeback when third in a fast sprint at Del Mar last month, the John Sadler-trained ridgling should be capable of stretching out and handling this restricted, non-winners-of-2, $16,000 claiming field, especially with the switch to Flavian Prat.

Santa Anita Race No. 9 (7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT)

#5 G Laurie (5-2)

Won at first asking in very impressive fashion at Colonial Downs last summer and then verified that highly favorable impression when ambitiously placed in the Grade 1 Natalma Stakes at Woodbine, where she attracted serious action on the tote (3-1) before performing quite well to be third in an effort that earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 75 that was 18 points better that her first outing. She will race with blinkers, an equipment change that seems warranted after she appeared somewhat green and unfocused through the stretch in the Natalma. We’re expecting the Graham Motion-trained filly to settle in mid-pack early and then be asked to quicken from the quarter pole home. At 5-2 on the morning line, she is a Win play and rolling exotic single.

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