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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!
June 28, 2015

It’s mandatory payoff day on the final program of the winter/spring/summer season with an excellent card that begins at 1:02 PDT.

Race 1: 

The opener is a restricted (nw-2) $12,500 claiming miler that matches eight runners, none of which really have a winning spirit.  We’ll tread lightly while preferring #4 Surfer Moon (second-off-the-claim for Miyadi and shortening up a furlong to a more preferred trip) and #1 Pefiolo (first-off-the-claim for Marquez with a switch to Baze, a good inside draw, and solid numbers).  Both should be included in rolling exotic play but if you feel the need to go deeper, go right ahead.

Race 2:

Entry-level allowance fillies and mares sprint down the hill in the second race, a wide-open grass grab bag if there ever was one.  #8 Daddy’s Duo was one of the most visually impressive maiden claiming winners we’ve seen in a long time last September; she never took a deep breath in destroying a $30,000 field in a main track sprint but then disappeared and is making her first start since.  She returns protected by Desormeaux and is bred to like turf, so at 8-1 on the morning line she’s a “must use” in rolling exotic play.  We’re hoping that her workouts at San Luis Rey Downs will have her fit and ready.  #3 Missy Mouse seeks her third straight win for Truman and her numbers continue to rise, so this Cal-bred daughter of McCann’s Mojave should fit with open company.  She’s a prototype late-running sprinter and Van Dyke stays aboard.  #4 Tale of Papa Nick gained a state-bred win in April over this course and distance via disqualification and earned a strong figure in doing so; the lightly-raced daughter of Papa Clem likely has another forward move or two in her for hot trainer Baltas and might be the controlling speed.  We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics and then press a bit with Daddy’s Duo on top, especially if she’s near her 8-1 morning line odds.

Race 3:

The third race is a strong first-level allowance main track sprint that finds #4 Pat the Bear listed as the 2-1 morning line choice.  The Miller-trained gelding exits a fast, highly-rated sprint and has worked well since that May 9 effort, so we’re expecting him to bounce back in a big way against this considerably softer group.  The big break in the weights doesn’t hurt, either.  #7 I B Mike, a $32,000 Belvoir claim, is solid in the speed figure department and should enjoy a nice pace prompting trip outside.  Talamo stays aboard and knows him well.  Preference goes to Pat the Bear but both should be included in rolling exotic play.

Race 4:

The traditional closing day feature, the San Juan Capistrano, is carded as the fourth race and therefore isn’t included in the Pick-6 sequence.  #6 Going Somewhere made a very favorable impression in his U.S. debut when finishing an excellent third in the Whittingham Stakes last month and if he produces a forward move as expected over this marathon trip the Drysdale-trained Brazilian will be the one to beat. He’s even money on the morning line, which seems a bit short, but he’s certainly a deserving favorite.  #2 Decisive Edge moves way up in class following a visually pleasing victory against a non-winners of two field; the son of Bernardini acts like he’ll run all day and he’ll get that chance today.  He’s worth using as at least a saver in your rolling exotics.

Race 5:

The Pick-6 begins in the fifth race with an entry-level main track optional claimer at a mile.  #2 I Don’t Care Who is racing in sharp form and makes his first start since being claimed for $25,000 by Sadler; the son of Dehere loves this main track and knows how to win races. #3 Grazen Sky might have been best when an unlucky third in the Snow Chief Stakes against 3-year-old California-breds  on turf last time out; he seems just as effective on dirt and may be able to produce the last run despite facing older company today.  #8 Iron Fist graduated like a decent prospect last time out, though the colt he defeated, Rosicky, came back to disappoint in a poor effort.  Still, the son of Tapit remains well regarded and on pure numbers seems quite capable of scoring right back for the high percentage Smith-Hollendorfer team.  These are the three we’ll including in our rolling exotics with slight preference on top to I Don’t Care Who.

Race 6:

Straight maidens meet over a mile on turf in the sixth race, another competitive affair that requires a bit of a spread.  #5 Blue Law is a first-time gelding and could be a much better type because of it; his strong runner-up performance over this course and distance two races back charts very well in this spot and Desormeaux should have him in an ideal pace-prompting position.  #2 Paythebank missed by a head in a similar event in early May and has trained well since; he’s a fit on numbers and could very well produce another forward move today.  #7 Pretentious already has had eight chances but comes off his best race, a narrow second place finish with a furious late kick in his first ever wearing blinkers.  If he can turn in two alike, he’ll be right in the thick of things again.

Race 7:

The seventh race is a maiden claiming sprint for fillies and mares that could be the perfect spot for the class-dropping #9 Matter of Luck.  The Blacker-trained filly lands the comfortable outside post after chasing much tougher in a turf sprint in her debut last month.  She’s come back to work well and if she leaves with her field today she’s likely to flash a lot more early zip.  You have to use her at 6-1 on the morning line.  #1 Designated Royalty is buried on the rail but if she can negotiate a decent trip the Headley-trained filly could be a late factor.  She was a willing third in her debut and today gets an extra half furlong to work with.  #5 Hi Fever, fourth after a slow start in her debut while exiting the same race as Designated Royalty, is very likely to improve as well; the daughter of Stormin Fever continues to hint at some ability in the morning and Pedroza stays aboard.

Race 8:

#2 Big John B will try to do his best impression of John Henry when he totes 130 lbs. in the eighth race, a starter handicap for $25,000 claimers at a mile and one-quarter on turf.  The veteran Hard Spun gelding completely outclasses his rivals on pure form (he was beaten just over five lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Turf last fall) and his recent workouts indicate he’s back on the beam for D’Amato.  Small ticket players may consider him a possible single; however, if you’d feel more comfortable with some protection than consider including #5 Persuasive Paul (seeking his third straight and packing 125 pounds himself) and #6 Salah Champ (a sharp Bay Area invader that could be tough to catch if not policed up front).

Race 9:

The ninth race is a restricted (nw-2) six furlong $25,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares; it’s a messy affair with little in it to trust.  We’ll use just two but you should feel free to spread if you can afford to.  #7 Mothernaturespell drops for the money run and the O’Neill-trained filly has numbers that are good enough to win at this level.  She switches to Perez and should be on or near the lead from the get-go.  #4 Ill Tell You What is reunited with Baze, who won on her three runs back, and should draft into a good second flight, stalking spot.  A recent sharp five furlong drill since her last outing seems to have her right on edge.

Race 10:

The nightcap is a maiden claiming turf miler for fillies and mares that offers an extreme handicapping challenge.  Let’s go with #2 Dixie Tweet on top; she’s 6-1 on the morning line and offers some value at that price.  She’s dropping into a claimer for the first time, lands a good inside draw, continues to look sharp morning and should be forwardly placed and free of trouble throughout.  #8 Scuti de Patuti has the blinkers off angle that we like so much and combines that with the maiden to maiden-claiming class drop factor that produces some many winners at this level.  If she can route, she can win.  #12 Ya Ya Girl gets the worst of the draw but earned a nice figure when nosed out in a decent downhill turf sprint last month; she retains Bejarano and won’t have to improve much at all to earn her diploma.

Thanks for joining us during the past six months.   We’ll see you in September!


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