​Santa Anita Park Horse Racing Picks for Friday 1/8/21

It's a great time to dive into horse racing, and FanDuel Racing gives you the chance to do just that.

Starting at 3:30 p.m. EST, we have nine races at Santa Anita Park. Using numberFire’s projections as a guide, here are some of the best bets.

As always, check the program for scratches and changes, and check the weather and track conditions.

(I will reference Equibase's Speed Figure in selected races, which tells you how fast a horse has been running in each of its races -- adjusted for track, distances, and conditions.)

Discretionary Day, Race 1

FanDuel Racing Odds: 5/2

The day at The Great Race Place begins with a Maiden Special Weight for three-year-olds going 1 mile on the turf. The winner by numberFire’s projections is favorite Big Flint (9/5) in front of runner-up Discretionary Day (5/2) and Blue Star (5/1).

Big Flint just missed two months ago at long odds, coming from way off the pace to finish runner-up with a 91 speed figure. Discretionary Day was solid in that same race, getting along the lead in the stretch with fast fractions but was swallowed up by closers. Jockey Mike Smith rides Discretionary Day again with first time Lasix in place. Well-bred Big Talker (5/1) has been off four months, and leading jockey Flavien Prat has been asked to ride.

That Corey and Hail Freedom, Race 3

FanDuel Racing Odds: 5/2 and 3/1

Race 3 is a split of Race 1 with the same conditions -- a Maiden Special Weight for state-bred three-year-olds going 1 mile on the turf. Favorite That Corey (5/2) breaks from the far outside No. 10 post, and numberFire project’s he’ll win. He stretches out after improving last race and looks ready to break through with a pace-pressing trip.

Gordy’s Boy (4/1) returns to his preferred footing on the grass, where he previously finished a length behind the top choice. He’ll challenge That Corey with jockey Drayden Van Dyke keeping him near the front. Hail Freedom (3/1) has strong stretch rider Joel Rosario in the irons. He tired two weeks ago in his main track debut and should fare better back on the turf with a strong pedigree. Guaranteed Tip Sheet makes him the best bet.

Zestful and Pubilius Syrus, Race 8

FanDuel Racing Odds: 5/2 and 3/1

Race 8 is an Optional Claiming race for older horses, and it's going 1 mile. The top pick for numberFire’s algorithm is Zestful (5/2). He’s a 10-time winner and should be the front-running speed in the field from the rail.

Horse Racing Radar notes that Pubilius Syrus (3/1) switched to the dirt three starts back and has not lost since. He’s hit triple-digit speed figures in two of those races, including at Santa Anita in October. The meet's top jockey, Juan Hernandez, rides. Two Thirty Five (3/1) is a veteran stakes runner who has won three times at Santa Anita and returns from Kentucky following four races. Strong gate jockey Abel Cedillo rides for EPO trainer Richard Baltas at a preferred distance.