Friday’s Best Bets and Quick Picks: Playing Santa Anita’s $100,634 Pick 6

January 19th, 2024

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares best bets and quick picks for Friday, Jan. 19 at Tampa Bay Downs, Fair Grounds, and Sunland Park, along with analysis of lucrative Pick 6 carryovers at Fair Grounds and Santa Anita.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Winter Money Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second or third in select races every Thursday-Sunday.
  • Bayou & Bluegrass 10x Points: Receive 10x reward points on all wagers (excluding show bets) at Fair Grounds and Turfway Park from Nov. 29 through Feb. 4.

Best Bets and Quick Picks

Tampa Bay Downs: Race 4: $16,000 Maiden Claiming (5 1/2 furlongs, 2:05 p.m. ET)

#5 Sa Sa Sa (5-2) has finished second and third in his first two starts against $25,000 maiden claiming competition at Tampa Bay Downs. Adding Lasix (a 25% winning move for trainer Gerald Bennett) and dropping into a $16,000 maiden claimer should send this three-year-old gelding to the winner’s circle.

Fellow class dropper #4 Imperialty (5-1) is a logical choice to complete the exacta while exiting $40,000 maiden claimers.


  • #5 Sa Sa Sa (5-2)
  • #4 Imperialty (5-1)
  • #8 Uno Uno (8-1)


  • $25 to win on #5 Sa Sa Sa
  • $5 Exacta: 5 with 4
    Total: $30

Fair Grounds: Race 8: $80,000 Allowance Optional Claiming (six furlongs, 5:15 p.m. ET)

#8 Corona Bolt (9-5) is 4-for-5 overall and 4-for-4 sprinting. The Brad Cox trainee dominated the six-furlong Sugar Bowl S. at Fair Grounds last winter, wiring the field by 6 3/4 lengths, and he was last seen employing identical tactics to win Keeneland’s seven-furlong Lafayette S. over the multiple Grade 1-placed Hejazi.

Corona Bolt hasn’t run since April, but hot trainer Brad Cox (a 31% winner at Fair Grounds this meet) wins at a 26% rate with horses returning from layoffs of 90 days or more, so the time away shouldn’t be a big issue. Red-hot jockey Florent Geroux (a 38% winner teaming up with Cox over the last two months) is named to ride, so let’s place a large win bet on Corona Bolt.


  • #8 Corona Bolt (9-5)
  • #11 Surveillance (5-1)
  • #7 Kavod (10-1)


  • $30 to win on #8 Corona Bolt

Sunland Park: Race 9: Riley Allison Derby (one mile, 5:54 p.m. ET)

#3 Crafted (5-2) impressed in his debut sprinting six furlongs at Fair Grounds last month, leading all the way through strong fractions of :21.78 and :44.87. That’s impressive since the son of Vino Rosso is bred to improve with maturity and thrive running long.

Stretching out over one mile for the Riley Allison Derby should be right up Crafted’s alley, so let’s bet him to win and key him over Churchill Downs maiden winner #6 Lucky Jeremy (2-1) in the exacta.


  • #3 Crafted (5-2)
  • #6 Lucky Jeremy (2-1)
  • #2 Alotaluck (6-1)


  • $25 to win on #3 Crafted
  • $5 Exacta: 3 with 6
    Total: $30

Carryover Watch

Fair Grounds: Race 4: $11,520 Pick 6 carryover (3:15 p.m. ET)

If you want to take aim at Friday’s $11,520 Pick 6 carryover at Fair Grounds, you’ll ideally find a trustworthy single to build tickets around.

Fortunately, the sequence for the $1 wager encompasses the above-mentioned Race 8, in which #8 Corona Bolt (9-5) is shaping up as a formidable favorite. Given that Corona Bolt has already won a stakes at Fair Grounds, making his four-year-old debut in an $80,000 allowance optional claimer established the morning line favorite as a compelling choice. In a competitive Pick 6, Corona Bolt is a logical single.

Santa Anita: Race 3: $100,634 Pick 6 carryover (4:32 p.m. ET)

A non-jackpot, six-figure carryover is up for grabs in Friday’s $1 Pick 6 at Santa Anita. To be precise, the prize pool is worth $100,634.

Let’s take a race-by-race look at the sequence and assemble a ticket for $64:

Race 3: Maiden Special Weight (seven furlongs)

#4 City of Angels (6-5) threw down a field-best 94 Brisnet Speed rating when fourth in a non-state-restricted maiden special weight at Los Alamitos last month, and he’s a logical favorite while squaring off against California-breds at Santa Anita. But don’t dismiss the filly #1 Sand to Sea (3-1), who brings tactical speed and strong dirt form to the table for trainer Gary Stute, a 40% winner at Santa Anita this meet.

Race 4: $50,000 Claiming (six furlongs on turf)

#2 Alternate Rock (8-5) won by two lengths over this course, distance, and class level two starts back, and she followed up with a fifth-place finish in an $80,000 allowance optional claimer. Returning to the $50,000 claiming ranks should make Alternate Rock tough to beat, though #3 Stressed (9-5) has more tactical speed and shouldn’t be underestimated in this four-horse field.

Race 5: $50,000 Maiden Claiming (6 1/2 furlongs)

Stablemates #3 Jazzy Boo (4-1) and #2 Eltonsingsanother (5-2) hail from the red-hot barn of Mark Glatt. Eltonsingsanother has speed and hasn’t missed the trifecta in three starts over this class level, while Jazzy Boo is dropping in class out of maiden special weights. One or the other ought to prevail.

Race 6: $25,000 Claiming (five furlongs on turf)

#6 Teen Drama (5-2) brings strong Brisnet Speed ratings to the table and won a $32,000 maiden claimer sprinting five furlongs at Del Mar last summer, so she should be tough to beat for the hot jockey/trainer duo of Flavien Prat and Phil D’Amato. We’ll make Teen Drama a Pick 6 single.

Race 7: Allowance (six furlongs)

#2 Hopkins (8-5), winner of the six-furlong Palos Verdes (G3) at Santa Anita last February, has been posting fast workouts for his return from a long layoff. He’s the horse to beat for trainer Bob Baffert, though two-time Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) runner-up #3 C Z Rocket (2-1) remains a force to reckon with even at the age of 10.

Race 8: $50,000 Starter Optional Claiming (six furlongs on turf)

A competitive turf sprint closes out the sequence. #1 Neon Lights (7-2), #4 Cribbage Board (5-2), #5 Mars On Fire (4-1), and #6 Awesome Rhythm (8-1) all have the form lines to factor, so we’ll spread deep with this quartet.

  • $1 Pick 6: 1,4 with 2,3 with 2,3 with 6 with 2,3 with 1,4,5,6 ($64)

Good luck!