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 5, 2015

Big ‘Cap week begins with maiden $40,000 claiming miler.  #2 Larry Birdstone sports the first-time-for-a-tag angle and is adding blinkers for high percentage trainer D’Amato in his second-off-a-layoff, plus he’s making a strong rider switch to Talamo.  These should be his friends.  #6 Derby Glass was in too steep vs. straight maidens on turf, but a repeat of his debut effort at this level two runs back makes him a solid contender.  Both should be used in rolling exotic play with slight preference going to Larry Birdstone.

The second race is a restricted (nw-2) claiming sprint; we’ll double this race as well.  #2 Public Policy, a solid second in a similar event recently, shouldn’t be inconvenienced by the extra half-furlong of today’s race and in his second-off-a-layoff for Sadler figures to produce a forward move.  He’s won on this track in the past and sports a healthy work tab at San Luis Rey Downs since his last outing.  #4 Watch It Buster has the always-popular blinkers-off angle in his corner and that coupled with a class drop from starter’s allowance company makes him a major player.  Iggy will have him doing his best work late.  The edge on top goes to Public Policy but both should be included in rolling exotic play.

The Pick-6 begins with the third race, a maiden special weight affair at a mile on turf for state-bred fillies and mares.  We’ll use three but without any conviction; if you’re a big ticket player you should spread as deeply as you can afford to.  #5 Thermodynamics has had but three lifetime starts so she hasn’t been fully exposed yet; the Hendricks-trained 3-year-old should like the route and turf and continues to look solid in the morning.  She has some upside that the others don’t.  #1 Charming Starlet is a 10-race maiden and not one to trust, but she was nosed out vs. similar down the hill last month and a repeat of that effort today puts her right in the picture once again.  She may be most effective sprinting, though.  #3 High Intensity has improving speed figures for Cassidy and has a right to improve on turf, so we’ll toss here in as well.

Bottom-rung older maiden claimers sprint six and one-half furlongs in the fourth race.  #8 El Monterey hasn’t left with his field in either of his first two starts; if he can get out of the gate cleanly and be somewhat within range early on, the Wicker-trained gelding should be capable of beating this bunch.  #9 Moonlight Meeting is worth using as well; he’s a first-time gelding removing blinkers for Callaghan and has back numbers that surely would be good enough to make him a major contender.

The fifth race is another straight maiden turf miler, it’s a split of the third race.  #7 Spanish Queen is a first time starter with a nice series of drills for Baltas and looks plenty fit for a big effort in a soft spot.  She looks more than capable of winning at first asking against this group.  #4 Cee’s Tizzy Belle is an eight-race maiden and really doesn’t have any kind of move or acceleration, but she has some back figures that make her a fit so we’ll toss in her as well.

We’ll use two in the sixth race, a first-level allowance sprint for state-bred sophomores.  #6 Grazen Sky earned a monster speed figures graduating over this track and distance last time out and really won’t have to improve to score right back.  He switches to Bejarano and catches a field without much early speed.  #1 Run Like a Million was visually impressive breaking his maiden at first asking in his debut with a nice figure but then lost all chance with a slow start when well-backed against similar last month.  If he leaves cleanly from the rail, the Hollendorfer colt could be on the lead early on and if that happens he may never look back.

The featured seventh race is a second-level allowance downhill turf sprint for older fillies and mares and looks fairly competitive.  #4 Heavens Stairway lost her chance at the start in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint last time but she’s a course specialist (four wins in six starts) that is more than capable of bouncing back in this softer spot.  She’s back with her favorite rider, Baze.  #2 Grazenette comes off a game score over this course and distance vs. softer and in fact is two-for-three lifetime over the local lawn.  We’re expecting the winner to be one of these two, with preference on top going to Heavens Stairway.

The nightcap is a $25,000 claiming extended sprint for fillies and mares.  #3 Underhill Drive has steadily improving speed figures and the proper style for the trip; the lightly-raced Miller-trained filly has some further improvement in her and this class drop could make the winning difference.  There’s little to beat so let’s make her a straight play and rolling exotic single.

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