Handicapping with Jeff Siegel
The Friday program begins with a restricted (nw-2) $12,500 claimer at seven furlongs. We’ll go two deep and hope to survive and advance. #6 Matzoh Ball Magic likes to settle and produce a run and has the right style for this extended sprint distance. He’s lightly-raced, has won on this track in the past, and seems to be steadily improving. We’ll put him on top but also use #1 Casual Attire, a class dropper from the Miller barn adding blinkers in his second start off a long layoff.
The second race is a $20,000 claiming miler for fillies and mares and appears to be a good spot for #4 Rosewhitenblue, a tough race mare moving up a couple of notches following a nice win sprinting last month. She can route as well, and Machowsky’s placement at this level tells us she’s doing well. #6 Toomanytomatoes, a winner of two of her last three, is another with proven winning form over this main track and this triple jump in class by Moger can be viewed as a sign of confidence. Both should fire big shots; we’ll give Rosewhitenblue the edge because she’s faster in the speed figure department.
The Pick-6 begins with the third race; we’ll spread using three in this $50,000 claiming turf miler. #8 Which Market looks dangerous from off the pace with his best effort and this slight drop in class could make the winning difference for the Puype-trained gelding. #5 Te Rapa, away since October, is realistically spotted by Zucker and should be a late threat, while #7 Horizontalyspeakin is clearly the controlling speed and if not pressured early could take this group a very long way.
Maiden claiming 3-year-old fillies sprint six furlongs in the fourth race. #3 Dixie Dame is a blinkers off play in her first start since being claimed by D’Amato and seems certain to produce a forward move. Nothing else in here inspires, so let’s use her as a straight play and rolling exotic single pretty by default.
State-bred maidens compete over a mile on turf in the fifth race and in a soft affair we’ll give #1 Papa Z the nod at 6-1 on the morning line. Both of his races were better than the lines would indicate and from the rail he should enjoy an ideal ground-saving trip, assuming he can break with field for the first time. Look for Blanc to have him rolling in the final furlong. #10 Prohibition Repeal has the two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern and trains like he’ll enjoy the extra ground. Bad post and all, he’s worth tossing in.
The sixth race is a strong entry-level allowance middle distance event for 3-year-olds, and we very much like the chances of #3 Eckersley to come right back and score again following an impressive maiden victory last month on turf. He should just as effective on this main track and in a race without much pace could find himself comfortably placed on or near the lead. He’s a fit on speed figures and has plenty of room for further improvement. #3 Cyrus Alexander finally graduated after a series of money burning disappointments last time out and earned a decent figure. He’ll be well-bet again and now that he’s got his confidence could easily move up the ladder. #2 Harmonic ran reasonably well in the Cal Derby up north and if he duplicate his all-weather form on conventional dirt he could make some noise. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics and then have extra tickets with Eckersley on top.
The featured seventh race is a second-level 10-furlong turf event that looks fairly wide-open; we’ll use two but feel free to spread if you can afford to. #7 Awesome Return switches to Smith, who has won on him in the past, and the late-running colt has a touch of class and should love the trip. He’s the best of the closers. We’ll also use the controlling speed, #1 Joes Blazing Aaron, a strong New York invader making his first start since October for Mullins. He could get very brave on the front end if not respected.
The finale is a bottom-rung maiden claimer with little in it. #5 Oil flashed speed before fading in his debut and then was turned out; the son of Tribal Rule could be a better type this time around and has trained like he’s fit and ready for Hendricks. In a poo affair, we’ll make him a straight play and rolling exotic single.