XpressBet editor-in-chief Jeremy Plonk offers his best bets for Monday with one at Gulfstream Park and one at the traditional Dec. 26 opening card at Santa Anita.
Gulfstream Park Race No. 8 (3:42 p.m. ET/12:42 p.m. PT)
#2 Grand Sonata (7-2 ML)
Classy colt has a beautiful post draw in the 2-hole to save ground just behind what looks to be a fast pace. Hot-riding Javier Castellano and red-hot Gulfstream trainer Todd Pletcher have the horse to beat in the Tropical Park Derby. Has won both local starts. Win bet. Exacta key-box #2 Grand Sonata with #4 Dakota Gold and #6 Axthelm.
Santa Anita Race No. 10 (6:39 p.m. ET/3:39 p.m PT)
#3 Apprehend (8-1 ML)
Always thought this 3-year-old had big talent, but missed half of the year with injury. Comes into Grade 1 Malibu with this being the season goal after reappearances vs. some of these whose goals were earlier in the campaign and may be "over the top." Has won both starts on the Santa Anita dirt and should be best at this 7-furlong trip. Big test, but price feels right at anything 5-1 or more. Win bet.