Handicapping with Jeff Siegel
Today’s opener is a first level allowance downhill turf sprint with two main contenders. #1 Hot Market had a rough trip when a much better-than-looked third in a similar event month and if he can negotiate a decent trip from his rail post the Mathis-trained gelding will be hard to deny. He has an ideal stalking style and the ability to kick it in late and offers value at anywhere near his 7/2 morning line odds. #7 Smokey’s Legacy looked good beating a lesser field over this course and distance last time out and rates a shot right back despite the class hike. ‘Market gets top billing but we’ll include both in our rolling exotics.
The second race is a restricted (nw-2) claiming miler. #4 City State woke up with an impressive win against a soft bunch in an extended sprint last time out, earning a vastly improve, career top number. If he can duplicate that effort today he’ll have an excellent chance to take this group gate-to-wire. In a field lacking in effective closers, he looks capable of taking command early and dominating late as a straight play and rolling exotic single.
The third race is a $16,000 starter’s allowance turf miler for fillies and mares and requires a bit of a spread. We’ll use three but you may find the need to go even deeper. #3 Winninginfashion is a need-the-lead type and if she can get her kind of trip today she could get brave. This drop back in trip will help and she’s run well for Pedroza in the past. #2 Frandontjudge hasn’t won in quite a spell but she’s a solid fit in this league and should inherit and ideal second flight, ground-saving spot. Based strictly on numbers she’s right there off her best effort. #7 Spirit of Ten has a look off her race before last and is another who’ll appreciate the return to a flat mile. Baze rides her back for Glatt. We’ll give Winninginfashion a very slight edge on top while hoping that she can clear this field without exerting too much energy.
The Pick-6 begins with the fourth race, a maiden special weight sprint for state-bred 3-year-old fillies and it’s a complete scramble. #6 Autumn Twilight was well-backed vs. similar in her local bow but didn’t break well and didn’t show much; she’s come back to work well since for Ellis, retains Bejarano, and removes blinkers. She seems as good as any. #8 Jenna’s Faith is bred for much speed and has trained well enough for Bacorn to deserve inclusion in rolling exotic play. #3 My Intention hails from a clever outfit and has been displaying much zip at Los Alamitos. Pedroza will let her roll early. These are the three we’ll be using but without any great confidence or conviction.
The fifth race is another starter’s allowance affair, this one for $40,000 non-winners of two. #4 Mr. Jay D makes his local debut following a private purchase by Hollendorfer, who excels with this type of play. His numbers from Tampa Bay Downs make him strictly the one to beat, and there’s every reason to believe he’ll continue to improve for his new connections. Let’s make him a straight play and rolling exotic single.
Bottom-rung claiming fillies and mares sprint five and one-half furlongs in the sixth race, with #11 Faith Proof the logical short priced favorite. She has big problems, of course, and after winning against $16,000 foes last time out she shows up for $8,000. If she has one good one left, she’ll win. As a backup you should consider #4 Nothing to Hide, a first-time blinkers play with decent form over this track, and #13 Crazy About Him, a terror at Los Alamitos recently and likely to enjoy a perfect pace stalking trip outside. She’s pretty cheap on paper but wants to beat you.
A decent group of maiden 3-year-old fillies meet over a mile on turf in the seventh race with the English import #8 Housemaker certain to get plenty of play for O’Neill. Her form as a juvenile overseas wasn’t bad at all and with Bejarano taking the call she’s clearly a live item today. #6 Donette has been very ambitiously placed by her connections and was beaten just over a length in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies three runs back. She hasn’t made any progress since, but this will be her first try on turf and she could easily move up on the lawn.
#3 Head South was very impressive winning off the bench in his recent comeback for Palma and if he doesn’t bounce – and we don’t think he will – the Kafwain gelding can score right back. He loves this track, retains Desormeaux, and catches a favorable pace scenario for his stalking style. #4 Luckarack used to love to win races but it’s been awhile since he’s scored; the late-running sprinter will need some help up front but could be a good exacta partner with our top pick. We’ll include both in our rolling exotics and then press with Head South on extra tickets.
The finale is a maiden $30,000 extended sprint for sophomores. #7 Sky Heart, first off the claim for Hess, is re-equipped with blinkers and retains Talamo. Beaten in his last pair as the favorite, he’s not really one to trust but looks best by default in what appears to be a rather lackluster lineup. #8 Desert Gem exits the same races as Sky Heart, wasn’t beaten that badly, and may move forward today with the addition of blinkers. #4 Lead the Pack represents stranger danger from San Luis Rey Downs and certainly won’t have to be a world beater to act with these. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics.