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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!
March 27, 2015

The Friday opener is for restricted (nw-3) $16,000 claiming fillies and mares.  #4 Runningwiththelute, freshened since mid-January, returns to her winning level, makes a major switch to Talamo, and should be too quick for these.  We like her on top but we’ll also include in our rolling exotics #3 Lust for Life, a strong runner-up in a similar affair here last month.  She’ll be doing her best work late.

The second race has very little in it; #5 Prevaricator ran reasonably well off a layoff when third in a similar bottom-rung maiden claimer and with any kind of forward move should be able to earn her diploma.  She gets an extra half furlong to work with, switches to Baze, and seems like a logical straight play and rolling exotic single.

The third race kicks off the Pick-6 sequence; we’ll use two and hope to survive and advance.  #4 Air Nashoba is a first-time gelding while switching to the main track and the son of Birdstone continues to hint at ability for Gaines in the morning.  His form is improving and today could be his day.  #6 Ajac ran well routing way back in 2013 and has the two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern working for him while retaining Bejarano.  He’ll fire his best shot today and if not pressured on the front end will take this field a very long way.

The fourth race is a competitive nine furlong turf affair for $25,000 claimers and requires a bit of a spread.  We’ll use three and hope that’s enough.  #5 Tigah, first off the claim for Glatt, always is dangerous from off the pace and should be rolling late.  With good racing luck he’ll be right there.  #3 Sizzlin’ Joe, a closing third in the same race Tigah exits, figures to be dangerous from off the pace again.  #7 Jomelo, first off the claim for Baltas, has won over this course in the past, stretches out again, and switches to Bejarano.  He may be the most dangerous of the deep closers.

The fifth race has the same conditions as the first race but this one is at a mile, not five and one-half furlongs.  #6 Winninginfashion returns to the main track, exits a tough starter’s allowance race, retains Pedroza, and seems the solid choice.  She looks very much like the controlling speed and in a field without any real punchers, should be able to hold way.  At 4-1 on the morning line she offers value as a straight play and rolling exotic single.

#1 Awesome Return was a bit unlucky when narrowly missing against a similar group last month and with good racing luck in today’s sixth race should be able to make amends.  Smith stays aboard and will have him picking up the field late.  #7 Lucky J Lane continues to ascend the class ladder and he’s a solid fit based on speed figures.  The Baltas-trained gelding retains Bejarano and should draft into an ideal, second flight, stalking position.  We’ll prefer Awesome Return on top but use both in our rolling exotics

The seventh race boils down to two major players.  #4 Head South ran well when second as the choice in a similar affair earlier this month, has trained well since, and should fire another big shot.  Desormeaux will have him on or near the lead throughout in this abbreviated main track sprint.  #6 Off the Deep End away since August, certainly can fire fresh and may be the quickest in the field.  His comeback works indicate he’s fit and ready and Talamo knows him well.

The nightcap is a grass grab bag down the hill for high priced maiden claiming 3-year-olds.  Best advice is to use as many as you can afford to.  #6 Currency Exchange shows up for a tag for the first time and may have found his friends; the Belvoir-trained gelding switches to Bejarano and looks capable of producing the last run.  #2 Vicious is a first-time gelding in his first start since December and he’s also showing up for a tag for the first time.  Beware.  #3 Big Hat Charlie is a route-to-sprint play and has the proper style for the Hillside course.  He’s worth tossing in as well.



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