Handicapping with Jeff Siegel
The Friday program consists of eight races with first post the usual 1 p.m.
In the opener #2 Faith Hope Love is a first-off-the-claim for Sadler and is being protected in starter’s allowance company, so the barn must like her. She’s clearly the controlling speed and should be tough to catch, although at 8/5 on the morning line she doesn’t really offer much value. The most dangerous of the closers is #5 Warren’s Cracker; a repeat of her maiden win two races back puts her in the hunt. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics.
We have a hard time getting a grasp in the second race, a nine furlong turf event for mid-grade claimers. #1 Stoney Fleece is realistically spotted after a series of modest performance and could easily wake up against this group. He’s had excellent success over this turf course in the past and figures to be running on strongly late. #5 Greeley Awesome has his problems but retains Smith and is another that should be a late threat. We’ll try to get by using just these two, but this is not a race we’re planning on getting too involved in.
The Pick-6 begins with the third race, a maiden special weight router for juvenile fillies. #6 Olivia’s Greatdane really turned some heads in her debut; the Baffert-trained filly finished like a freight train to be second while clearly wanting more ground and gets her chance today vs. a below par field for the level. Normally we’d prefer an additional sprint before a stretch-out play but this daughter of Ghostzapper probably doesn’t need one. She looks like a short priced rolling exotic single.
Restricted (nw-2) $12,500 claimers meet over nine furlongs on the main track in the fourth race; we’ll use two and hope that’s sufficient. #4 Go Black Tie drops for the money run and seems to have found his winning level. The Hess-trained gelding earned an okay number when never a threat vs. tougher sprinting earlier this month and should move forward considerably today while stretching out again. #2 Stolen Property earned a very competitive speed figure with a bottom-rung maiden claiming win at Fresno; he looks like the controlling speed again and could run back to that number today if not respected on the front.
The fifth race is a maiden $50,000 claiming sprint for state-bred runners. #2 Nevada Time debuts for the clever Mullins outfit and has a sneaky good work tab; got a hunch this gelding will be extremely well-meant today. Baze has been out to work him in the morning; this son of Time to Get Even is a “must use” at 6-1 on the morning line. #10 Smokey’s Legacy, in the money in both of his starts at this level at Del Mar, tries conventional dirt for the first time and should be in the fray throughout. We’ll double the race in our rolling exotics and then have extra tickets with Nevada Time on top.
Older maidens sprint down the Hillside course in the sixth race. #6 Tap Dancing is a filly tackling the boys but shouldn’t be out of her element; the Biancone-trained daughter of Galileo ran quite well in her U.S. debut over this course and distance two weeks ago and could produce enough of a forward move to be dangerous. #3 Act returns following an extended vacation and could be a better type this time around; he ran well under these conditions in April and his work tab at San Luis Rey Downs looks solid. A recent sharp five furlong drill over this track should have the Sadler-trained son of War Front right on edge. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference going to Act.
The featured seventh race is a first-level allowance race over the classic American distance of a mile and one-quarter. #7 Wanstead Gardens returns to dirt and should return to his best form; now in the Sadler barn, the son of Flower Alley has a right to adore the trip and gets a break in the weights with the switch to bug boy Van Dyke. #3 Valley Cat is another that should enjoy the distance and his previous form over this main track is outstanding. After a bit of a freshening, the Hollendorfer-trained gelding looks primed for a top performance and Bejarano stays aboard. #5 Songforjohnmichael earned a big figure demolishing a starter’s allowance field recently at a mile; he’ll get loose on the lead again today and if he can stay the trip he could prove an elusive target. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics while slightly preferring Wanstead Gardens on top, especially at or near his morning line of 5-1.
The nightcap is a modest maiden claiming sprint for juveniles; use as many as you can afford to in rolling exotic play. #1 Lucky Shoes to Win is one of two Mullins entrants and might be the better of the two despite being higher odds (8-1) on the morning line. He was a fair third in his debut (slow race, though) but has trained like a much better type since. #11 Arrigato, a solid second in his debut for maiden $50,000, returns for $30,000 and that’s a bit disconcerting. Also, Talamo jumps off to ride the Mullins-trained #7Bodie Bojangles. We’ll use him but not with a great deal of confidence. Toss in anybody else you like; it’s that kind of race.