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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!
April 19, 2015

There’s a $91,899 Pick-6 carryover for Sunday and since it’s the official “closing day” of the winter/spring season there’s a mandatory payoff.  The spring summer session gets underway next Friday.

The opener is a starter allowance extended sprint with two main contenders.  #2 Next Right woke up with a runaway bottom-rung maiden claiming romp last month and earned the type of speed figure that will be good enough to beat this field, assuming he can turn in two alike.  A sharp three furlong blowout (:34 flat) four days ago indicates he’s retained his speed.  #5 Rocket Heat probably is the quickest of the quick and will take them as far as he can.  If he can avoid the 21 2/5 and 44 flat splits that he cut out last time, he might be able to stick.  In a small field of six, these will be the two favorites, so there’s really no value here and a “pass” might be in order.

The second race is a mile turf event for first level state-bred fillies and mares and marks the comeback of #2 Tiz a Classy Lass, away since Nov. of 2013 but training like she’s fit and ready for Jones.  You have to think she’s live with Smith taking the call and her previous form – if repeated – makes her the one to beat.  #6 Thermodynamics was visually impressive breaking her maiden last time out in her first try routing and her first on grass and she really won’t have to improve much to score right back.  Stevens should have her in an ideal second flight, stalking spot.  We’ll use both in our rolling exotics.

Bottom-rung claiming fillies and mares sprint five and one-half furlongs in the third race, with #6 Queen of the Hill looking for a repeat score after handling a similar group in her comeback last month.  She sports a bullet half mile drill at Los Alamitos since that victory so we’re expecting a repeat score, but at 2-1 on the morning line there’s not a lot to be gained.  We’ll use her as a rolling exotic single but otherwise not get too involved.

The Pick-6 begins in the fourth race, a seven furlong bottom-rung maiden claimer.  #2 Honey Fever was second – beaten 14 lengths – behind Next Right (see today’s first race) in a race he had a right to need, and we’re expecting the Spawr-trained gelding to move forward considerably today.  He has a nice couple of works since that race, switches to Pedroza, and catches a field without too much of anything.  #6 Sterling Wager is a fit on figures and should enjoy this extended sprint trip; he’s hit the board in three of five career starts and in a soft field seems like a contender by default.  We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and then press a bit with Honey Fever on top.

We’ll double the fifth race, a seven furlong entry-level allowance affair while preferring #7 Head South on top.  Comfortably drawn outside and retaining Desormeaux, the Palma-trained gelding has three good races over this track this meeting and has trained like he’s ready for another top effort.  This distance seems ideal for his pressing/stalking style.  #3 My Jealous is strong in the speed figure department, loves to win, and loves this track.  Despite low profile connections, the son of Halo’s Image is a major player and a “must use.”

The sixth race is a maiden special weight six furlong sprint for fillies and mares.  If you can afford to do so, spread this race.  We’ll suggest three for smaller ticket players.  #9 Dr. Fager’s Gal flashed some talent last summer at Del Mar in her only outing and returns with a healthy work tab for Hollendorfer while landing a comfortable outside post.  She looks extremely live under Pedroza.  #7 Tiz Josselyn has done some good work for Proctor and Van Dyke has gotten to know her in the morning.  The daughter of Tiznow acts like she may want more distance, but may be good enough to win at first asking nonetheless.  At 10-1 on the morning line she certainly offers price value.  #8 Conquest Curlgirl is another bred to run long but she’s put together a healthy work tab for Casse and we’ll be surprised if she’s not some kind of factor at 6-1.  All three are first-timers and we’re leaning in that direction because the known element isn’t inspiring, but #3 Exposure and #6 This Is War have the benefit of prior experience and can be considered as well if you’re inclined to protect with a saver ticket or two.

The San Simeon Stakes is today’s feature; is a downhill turf sprint with several course specialists.  #5 Holy Lute is back sprinting where he belongs and both of his hillside victories this meeting were visually quite impressive.  He’s re-united with Smith, who won on him two races back.  #6 Pure Tactics is another route-to-sprint play with excellent form over this course and distance and should be running on strongly late under Desormeaux.  #8 Sweet Swap is back in winning form for Sadler and from the outside draw Talamo can tuck in and stalk just off the leaders.  Any one of the three can win so we’ll triple the race, but then press a bit on extra tickets with Holy Lute on top.

The eighth race is a starter handicap for $12,500 fillies and mares; we’ll use two and feel fairly confident about it.  #6 French Alps makes her first start since being claimed back for $20,000 by Hollendorfer up north and vans down in an attempt to extend her winning streak to five.  She likes the front end but can stalk and win if necessary, and her 123 pound impost shouldn’t be worrisome as she just won carrying that weight while earning a career top number.  #7 Marla Hooch crushed a $10,000 field recently in fine style and was claimed by Mullins, who protects her and switches to Baze.  She loves this track (four wins in seven starts) and has looked quite sharp in the a.m. since her most recent victory.

The finale is a downhill slalom event for maiden fillies and mares; we’re hoping to get by using just two.  #4 Desiresoftheheart has done plenty right in the morning for Warren (excellent stats of late with debut runners) and the daughter of Unusual Heat looks cranked up and ready to fire right now.  She’s the one to beat, but we’ll also include #3 Big Move, a first timer from the Yakteen barn.  The daughter of Mr. Big (Dynaformer) should like the grass, gets Smith, and has shown enough in the morning to indicate a decent amount of talent.  At 12-1 on the morning line she simply has to be used.


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