Jeff Siegel’s National Best Plays for Friday, December 16, 2022
Churchill Downs – Seventh Race – Post time: 3:50 ET
5-Magical Lute (4-1)
Was likely best when beaten in her debut in early July when finishing a strong second (more than three lengths clear of the rest) despite breaking poorly and costing herself valuable early position. Though she couldn’t quite catch the winner, the daughter of Maclean’s Music galloped out far in front as if to indicate that added distance shouldn’t be a problem. Away for 10 weeks but sporting a healthy series of recent drills that should have her fit and ready, the Ian Wilkes-trained 2-year-old seems likely to step forward while offering excellent wagering value at or near her morning line of 4-1.
Los Alamitos – Seventh Race – Post time: 4:01 PT
4-Dr. Troutman (3-1)
Eight-year-old with 52 career starts is a first-off-the-claim play for high percentage trainer Jonathon Wong (26% with this angle) so we’re expecting serious improvement from the son of Vronsky, who should take full advantage of a projected soft pace scenario as the likely controlling speed. With the switch to excellent front-running jockey Edwin Maldonado and with a perfect two-for-two career record over the Los Alamitos main track, the veteran gelding is a strong play in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics.