Here’s to a successful season in Arcadia.. Hope everyone had a joyful Christmas and are poised for a great new year and decade!

With Flavien Prat sick and off his mounts, here are the revised riding assignments..

R2 ~ #2 Brill – Flavien Prat changed to Mike E. Smith
R4 ~ #1 Fivestar Lynch (IRE) – Flavien Prat changed to Javier Castellano
R7 ~ #5 Bellafina – Flavien Prat changed to Victor Espinoza
R8 ~ #1 Tiny Tina – Flavien Prat changed to Javier Castellano
R9 ~ #1 Much Better – Flavien Prat changed to Joseph Talamo
R10 ~ #3 Ocean Fury – Flavien Prat changed to Geovanni Franco

5th: San Antonio (G2), 3+, 8.5f (P3, DD, Hi-5)

Gift Box looking to get ‘next year’ going by repeating here, but Midcourt is emergent with upside yet. Draft Pick far from impossible..

Most Likely: #2 Gift Box 9-5 WON ($4.40)
Next Best: #6 Midcourt 2-1 3rd
Best Value: #4 Draft Pick 9-2 6th
Exotics Use: #1 Gray Magician 4-1 5th

6th: American Oaks (G1), 3yo-F, 10f-T (P6, P3, DD, Hi-5)

Best Value: #3 Mucho Unusual 4-1 2nd
Next Best: #5 Lady Prancelot 2-1 WON ($5.20)
Exotics Use: #8 Vibrance 3-1 6th
Super Add: #7 Giza Goddess 7-2 4th

7th: La Brea (G1), 3yo-F, 7f (P5, P3, DD, Hi-5)

Bellafina strictly the one to beat, but want to take the price (7-2 by post time?) on well drawn and Rosario-assisted Mother Mother with a cautionary proviso.. 3yo-4yo’s coming back from significant time away can make big forward moves and Mother Mother is working like she’s prepared to do that. However, while he’s won the La Brea 7 times, this particular gambit has not worked particularly well for Baffert the last 10 years with Emboldened (3rd last year after being away since May), Maybellene (7th in ’15 after being away since March) and Gabby’s Golden Gal (7th as fave in ’09 after being away since July) as examples. As a sidebar, Baffert did win the ’13 Malibu with Shakin It Up off a 9 month break..

Most Likely: #9 Mother Mother 6-1 3rd
Next Best: #5 Bellafina 9-5 2nd
Best Value: #2 Del Mar May 12-1 6th
Exotics Use: #6 Bell’s the One 7-2 5th

8th: Bobby Frankel (G3), F&M-3+, 9f-T (P4, P3, DD, Hi-5)

Mirth way the horse to beat, but presence of zippy Streak of Luck, Ms. Peintour AND Harmless means she’ll have pace pressure if she seeks the point. She has not rated (going longer) in Smith’s 2 rides on her. Excellent Sunset, now under care of Baltas, doffs hood and adds Rosario. Should enjoy perfect trip..

Most Likely: #7 Mirth 5-2 WON ($4.80)
Next Best: #2 Excellent Sunset 7-2 3rd
Best Value: #5 Curlin’s Journey 6-1 5th
Exotics Use: #3 Don’t Blame Judy 5-1 4th

9th: Malibu (G1), 3yo, 7f (P3, DD, Hi-5)

Omaha Beach the obvious focal point, but Complexity came back sharply in prep for this and re-blinkered Much Better will get the lead firing from the inside. Should be a chess match among Smith, Castellano and Prat on those 3 while Rosario looks to make the latest move on turnbacking Roadster..

Most Likely: #5 Omaha Beach 4-5 WON ($2.80)
Next Best: #2 Complexity 5-2 4th
Exotics Use: #4 Roadster 3-1 2nd

10th: Mathis Bros. Mile (G2), 3yo, 1m-T (DD, Hi-5)

Need to single somewhere in P5 and Mo Forza appears on his way to becoming West Coast’s top turfer..

Most Likely: #5 Mo Forza 9-5 WON ($4.40)
Best Value: #8 Proud Pedro 15-1 6th
Next Best: #6 Neptune’s Storm 3-1 3rd
Exotics Use: #2 Originaire 15-1 2nd

11th: Cal-MCLM/50, 2yo, 6f (Hi-5)

Most Likely: #2 Include the Tax 4-1 WON ($7.00)
Next Best: #11 Totally Tiger 5-2 4th
Exotics Use: #3 Champs Success 6-1 7th
Super Add: #5 Tiger the Man 6-1 5th

P5 Grid:

7: 2-5-9 (A), 1-6-7 (B), 3-4 (C)
8: 2-7 (A), – (B), – (C)
9: 2-4-5 (A), – (B), 1-3 (C)
10: 5 (A), – (B), 6-8 (C)
11: 2-11 (A), 3-5 (B), 6-9 (C)

Simple (A+B): 6x2x3x1x4 = 144 x .50 = $72
All A’s: 3x2x3x1x2 = 36 x .50 = $18

$0.50 Pick-5 (7/7/5/5/2) Paid $403.65

P4 Grid:

8: 2-7 (A), – (B), – (C)
9: 2-4-5 (A), – (B), 1-3 (C)
10: 5 (A), 6-8 (B), – (C)
11: 2-3-5-6-9-11 (A), – (B), – (C)

Simple (A+B): 2x3x3x6 = 108 x .50 = $54
All A’s: 2x3x1x6 = 36 x .50 = $18

$0.50 Pick-4 (7/5/5/2) Paid $18.60