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Jeff Siegel

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Handicapping with Jeff Siegel
Horse owner, breeder and XpressbetTV analyst, Jeff Siegel also happens to be Southern California's premier handicapper. Check his blog each day before you play!
February 12, 2016

The Friday opener offers an even money morning line favorite, #2 Appealing Lady.  She’s a nine-race maiden and perhaps not one to trust, but on pure form she’s an absolute stick out.  A repeat of either one of her last two races gets her home by daylight and if she doesn’t win, anybody can.  Let’s make her a no-value rolling exotic single.


The second race should belong to trainer Tim Yakteen, who saddles two major contenders, #4 Big Discovery and #6 Action Hero.  Big Discovery has raced over conventional dirt only twice during his career, and both outings were quite good; a repeat of either one probably makes him the winner in this modest straight maiden miler.  Action Hero, in the money in his last three, was a beaten choice in his last start when runner-up at Los Alamitos but is a strong fit on figures and should draft into an ideal pace-prompting position.  They’re hard to separate – perhaps a very slight edge on top goes to Big Discovery – so we’ll include both in our rolling exotics.


The third race kicks off the Pick-6 sequence with #4 Ferocious appearing to find a perfect spot to regain his winning form.  The Belvoir-trained gelding adds blinkers, gets a break in the weights with the switch to bug boy Lopez, and should be quick enough to secure a good stalking spot in a race that lacks early speed.  He’s a strong fit on numbers and has won twice in the past over this main track.  #6 I B Mike, first off the claim for Glatt, has plenty of room to improve for a trainer who boasts superior stats with this angle.  Although his recent form looks poor, this veteran gelding has done well over this main surface in the past and this one-level raise in class in negated by the non-winners condition of this $10,000 claimer.  #3 Trelawny is a big class dropper for Desormeaux coming off a 10 month layoff; the workouts look pretty good and this stable has decent stats with comebackers.  A winner of 11 races during his career, the son of Three Wonders could fire fresh and out class this field, so he has to be included.


We’ll also go three-deep in the fourth race, a seven furlong sprint for $10,000 claiming fillies and mares.  #5 Roianna may offer some value at or near her morning line (6-1); the Bay Area shipper has the proper style for this extended sprint trip and has numbers that make her a solid fit at this level on this circuit.  Lopez should have her doing her best work late.  #3 Warrensdollarsigns adds blinkers after a solid runner-up effort vs. slightly softer foes here last month; the Miyadi-trained mare doesn’t win very often but she’s another with numbers that fit and she should draft into a good pace-stalking spot.  #6 No Tricks for Jack, a route-to-sprint play, has been claimed in her last three starts and now finds herself in the Carava barn.  She’s an old pro with 17 career wins and recent figures that are acceptable at this level.   She’s won three of four lifetime at seven furlongs; look for her to be running on strongly late.


The fifth race is a downhill turf sprint for state-bred straight maidens; we’ll use three in an open affair and hope that’s enough.  #8 Heat ran well over this course and distance during the autumn season when finishing a solid third; he’s been routing ever since but this turn back in trip could make the winning difference.  The son of Unusual Heat is solid in the speed figure department and should draft into a perfect stalking spot from his outside draw.  #4 Lord of Chaos flashed ability in his debut when third under these conditions last month; any kind of forward move will make him hard to beat and trainer Brian Koriner has superb stats with second-time starters.  #2 Country Road is a first-timer by Thorn Song and therefore is bred to love grass. The Drysdale barn doesn’t win with many first-time starters but this gelding has trained decently and his workmate – the filly Georgia Blue – ran very well when finishing second in her debut in a Hillside turf sprint last week.  At 12-1 on the morning line he’s worth including in rolling exotic play.


Restricted (nw-3) $16,000 claimers sprint six furlongs in the sixth race with #10 Juansagain the one to beat.  However, he was a voided claim for $25,000 due to unsoundness when fourth last month and today shows up for $16,000, so there has to be a major concern about his current condition.  The positives are that he’s drawn comfortably outside and switches to Bejarano, so if the son of First Samurai has one good one left in him he’ll be hard to beat in this league.  We’ll also include #7 Syndicated and #8 Eagle Rock in our rolling exotics.  The former is a first-off-the-claim for Craig Lewis switching to Desormeaux and might be a late threat, while the latter just won an identical restricted race while above his conditions so he’s eligible to come right back and do it again, though he loses Bejarano today.


The featured seventh race is a better than par first-level allowance main track mile affair for fillies and mares.  #3 Two Taps returns from New York and will be making her first start since October; she has a prior win over the Santa Anita main track and will be tough if cranked up.  Her workout pattern is a tad spotty and the barn usually races its stock into shape, but with Smith taking the call this daughter of Tapit might be good enough to win even at something less than 100 percent.  While we wouldn’t take less in the straight pool than her morning line of 5/2, we can still use her as a rolling exotic single.


The nightcap is a seven furlong maiden $30,000 claimer for 3-year-old fillies that probably requires a spread.  #6 Benjammas Trio is a first timer from the Eurton barn with a good enough work tab to indicate some ability and a little certainly will go a long way against this group.  You have to use her.  #8 Lucky Cherry isn’t particularly fast on speed figures but at least her numbers are improving and another forward move today puts her right there.  #11 Icona, beaten a neck in her debut (but subsequently disqualified back to fourth), switches to hot bug boy Lopez, lands the outside box, and hails from the D’Amato barn (solid stats with second-timers).  She seems like the logical favorite and one to beat.

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