Handicapping with Jeff Siegel
The Friday program offers a Pick-6 carryover of $39,891 and begins with a starter’s allowance seven furlong sprint for fillies and mares. #1 Sidepocket Run earned a career top speed figure when breaking her maiden over this course and distance two weeks ago and should be primed for a similar effort today. The main concern is the seven pound raise in the weights but with little in the way of competition, we’ll make her a rolling exotic single in a race we’re not planning on getting too involved with.
The second race is a high priced maiden claimer for older horses going six furlongs. #5 Mr. Itkins is an eight-race maiden but he’s a first-time-for-a-tag play and has speed figures that are better than par for the level. He’s always been suspect under pressure in the final furlong but against this group he could get brave. #3 Fancy Shoes, away for more than a year, returns for Hendricks and the trainer is not exactly giving him away at $50,000, so we assume the Brother Derek gelding remains held in some regard. The comeback works are solid. We’ll give Mr. Itkins a very slight edge while doubling the race for rolling exotic purposes.
The Pick-6 begins with the third race and should have a short priced favorite with #3 The Gomper. The son of Sky Mesa has the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch out angle and should easily handle this two-turn trip. If he’s going to be a Derby-type colt, he has to win a race like this, and we suspect he will at a very short price.
Older mid-grade claimers sprint six furlongs in the fourth race; it’s a spread affair and we’ll hope to get by going three-deep. #5 Urban Hunter beat a slightly softer field in sharp style and was promptly claimed by Hollendorfer; the Tribal Rule gelding should run at least as well today while retaining Bejarano and certainly knows how to win (10 victories in 40 career starts). #7 Sacred Ovation is raised dramatically in class by new trainer Papaprodromou – he took him for $8,000 and today re-enters him for $32,000 – but based on pure speed figures the Congrats gelding actually has a strong look. He also likes to win races and loves this track. #3 Regally Soul, a $32,000 Ellis claim in November at Del Mar, returns at the same level so we’ll assume he’s okay despite the break in activity. He’s most effective from slightly off the pace and Maldonado, who rode him to victory in his last start, returns. We’ll give the edge to Urban Hunter on top but use all three in our rolling exotics.
#3 Twentytwentyvision stretches out to a mile in today’s fifth race for older straight maidens; the way the son of Pollard’s Vision finished in his sprint debut here earlier this month indicates he’ll love the extra ground. The work tab since his first outing has been impressive for Mandella and we’re expecting this gelding to produce a major forward move. #6 Nowalking, in the money in his last two, is a solid fit on numbers but may lack a winning punch. We’ll use the six-race maiden one more time, but that’s it.
Maiden claiming sophomore fillies travel a mile in the sixth race; we’re going to take a stand and single #5 I Heart You while conceding that if she doesn’t win, anybody can. The daughter of Harlan’s Holiday drops into a maiden claimer for the first time and should thoroughly enjoy the class relief; she has numbers that can win and looks capable of producing the last run.
The seventh race is a $25,000 claiming turf miler for fillies and mares and is a difficult affair requiring a spread. We’ll use three while preferring #2 Shopping Savannah slightly on top. The daughter of Purim switches to Espinoza, lands a good inside draw, shortens in trip, and should be on or near the lead throughout. #5 Susan B Good exits a tougher starter’s allowance race sprinting down the hill and should improve a ton today while tackling easier and stretching out to a more favorable distance. She’s won over this course in the past and switches to Desormeaux. #6 Scene Queen is another class dropper worth a look; she adds blinkers for the first time, switches to Fallon, and could be a factor at a price from off the pace.
The nightcap is a bottom-rung maiden claiming abbreviated sprint for older fillies and mares and has little to like in it. #2 Ski’s Copper Penny could be a threat from off the pace but she’ll need a bit of luck up front, both from a pace and traffic standpoint. #5 Christmas Secret, away since April of 2013, shows up cheap for Hendricks and seems to be working well enough to fit against this group. #12 Ruby N Diamonds, third in both of his starts to date, isn’t fast on numbers but likely has room to improve and goes from the rail to the outside.