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Jeff Siegel

'Prime Picks'

Handicapping with Jeff Siegel
Horse owner, breeder and HRTV analyst Jeff Siegel also happens to be Southern California's premier handicapper. Check his blog each day before you play!
March 26, 2015

A new week of racing begins with a chaotic $25,000 claiming sprint for 3-year-olds.  #1 Great Lou is big class dropper making his first start since being gelded and his recent workouts at Los Alamitos appear quite sharp.  He’s a major contender with anything close to his best in this league.  #6 Believe Too, now in the Baltas barn, earned a big figure when breaking his maiden over this track two runs back and if he repeats that race today he’ll be right there.  #5 I’m Popeye is slower on figures than the other two main contenders but he’s making his first start for Diodoro and seems to be a progressive sort.  We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics but otherwise won’t get very much involved.

The second race is a maiden claiming miler for state-bred 3-year-olds and up.  #4 Fort Cady is a 10-race maiden but is listed as the 8/5 morning line favorite pretty much by default.  His only other start at this level – last October – resulted in a strong runner-up effort and he’s been facing straight maiden foes ever since.  #6 Vodka Texted You shows up for a tag for the first time and seems likely to improve; he also has the two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern that we like.  We’ll try to get by using just these two.

The Pick-6 begins with the third race a $20,000 maiden claiming sprint.  #4 Next Right plummets to the bottom and seems likely to stick much better against this group; a repeat of his race before last should be more than good enough to win.  #8 Honey Fever, away since June of 2013, has trained fairly well for Spawr and showed ability in his only outing.  He returns with a cozy outside post and blinkers on, so you have to toss him in.

Bottom of the barrel sprinting fillies and mares occupy the fourth race; we’ll use two and hope that’s enough.  #3 Mahalo Princess shows up at the $8,000 level for the first time since she won against this group last May; her kind of early speed should be very effective at this level for Miller.  She’s back with Baze, who has won with her in the past.  #2 Queen of the Hill, away since last July, is waiver protected due to the layoff and seems to be training well enough at Los Alamitos for O’Neill to be fit and ready.  She’s always liked this main track and could fire a bit shot fresh.

The fifth race is a competitive starter’s allowance six furlong sprint that demands a bit of a spread.  #4 Brother Soldier is fastest on speed figures and may deserve a very slight edge; the Baltas-trained gelding is a route-to-sprint, turf-to-dirt play and is long overdue for a win.  #3 Surfing Angel has steadily improving numbers for Headley, though he hasn’t been out since late December.  Never worse than second in three career starts, the lightly-raced gelding has enough early zip to be within striking range throughout.

We’ll double the sixth race, a strong second-level allowance sprint.  #4 Five Palms, away since winning on opening day here in December of 2013, finally makes is back for Baffert and if cranked up and ready to go certainly is good enough to be a strong threat.  He’s not all that quick early so we’re expecting the son of Unbridled’s Song to appreciate this seven furlong trip.  #1 Pulling G’s is simply a terrible gate horse and if he ever learns to leave with his field he might actually be a very nice colt.  He did manage to overcome his difficulties last time out with a furious late kick to beat a softer field; he switches to Smith for the first time and has more than enough early speed to gain a favorable position if he minds his manners.

The featured seventh race is a state-bred entry-level filly and mare downhill turf sprint.  #7 Gouyen just broke her maiden over this course and distance in her first start since in 10 months; she earned a decent speed figure and will be tough right back with any kind of forward move.  Her workouts since that race have been solid and she switches to Bejarano.  #2 Discatonthesquare is improving with racing for Chew and just finished a strong third in a productive race under similar conditions last month.  She’s back with Gryder, who won on her two races back.  We’ll give a slight edge on top to Gouyen but use both in our rolling exotics.

The nightcap is a maiden $50,000 claimer for older state-bred fillies and mares at five and one-half furlongs; a little certainly will go a long way.  #2 Ticaboo didn’t show much in her only start last year but has trained nicely this time around for Owens and probably is better than shown.  At this level the daughter of Rocky Bar should show her best and that should be more than good enough to beat this field.  Let’s make her a straight play and rolling exotic single.


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