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!
December 27, 2014

The Saturday program offers a whopping $146,352 Pick-6 carryover, beginning with the fourth race.

Today’s opener is a restricted (nw-2) extended sprint for $12,500 claimers; there’s little to trust and we’re not planning on getting too heavily involved.  #5 Magna Warrior plummets in class and with anything close to his best race should be able to beat this field in his first start since joining the Desormeaux barn.  He’s won over this track in the past and his recent workouts appear to have him fit enough in his first start since mid-October.  #7 Mahalo Arturo has solid recent form and should enjoy a soft pace-prompting trip outside.  He’s also a first-time gelding, so improvement is likely.  We’ll use both in our rolling exotics.

The second race is a $30,000 maiden claiming sprint for juvenile fillies; best advice to rolling exotic players is to use as many as you can afford to.  #11 Holy Ascension seems as good as any based on her most recent start, an okay third in a highly-rated race for the level at Los Alamitos earlier this month.  She also has a decent runner-up try over this track two runs back, and Arias seems to get along with her.  #4 I’ll Tell You What, second in a productive race at Del Mar last month, rates a look despite low percentage connections.  These are the two we’ll prefer; feel free to toss in anybody else that catches your eye.

A promising group of maiden juvenile fillies sprint five and one-half furlongs in the third race topped by #1 Fantastic Style, who worked the fastest furlong (09 4/5 seconds) at the OBS April preview session before bringing $525,000 at auction.  The daughter of Harlan’s Holiday looks cranked up and ready to win right now for Baffert, though the rail post causes a bit of concern.  #5 Cafetiere is another possible live newcomer; she lands Bejarano has sports a series of useful drills for Mulhall.  #8 Longstocking should move forward off her debut; she wasn’t knocked about by Smith and has come back to drill sharply since that race.  We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics and then press with Fantastic Style on top.

The Pick-6 begins with the fourth race, a $32,000 nine furlong claimer on turf with three solid contenders.  #4 Tigah returns to his claim level and is in excellent form for Miller; he’s won over this course in the past and lands a much better post today then he’s seen in his past two outings.  Espinoza stays aboard and should have him settled in the second flight, ready to pounce.  #2 Jomelo moves up a notch while seeking his third straight score for D’Amato; he’s a tough gelding with a strong late kick and both of his previous efforts over the local lawn were excellent.  Bejarano knows him well and stays aboard.  #7 Buymeabond is a little light on speed figures but he loves to win races and we’ll be surprised if he doesn’t at least outrun his 12-1 morning line odds.

The Midnight Lute Stakes, a hundred grander for older sprinters at six and one-half furlongs, looks made to order for #6 Secret Circle.  A strong runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint two runs back, the Baffert-trained horse ran just as well if not better when second again in the subsequent Cigar Mile after stumbling at the start and losing his best chance.  With any kind of good racing luck today, he should out class this field, though at 4/5 on the morning line there’s not really much we can do with him other than to use him as a rolling exotic single.

The Eddie Logan Stakes for juveniles over a mile on turf boils down to three main players; #1 Willing to Travel;  #3 Daddy D T and #11 Bolo, and we’ll include all three in our rolling exotic play.  Daddy D T had no mishap in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf over this course and distance but we liked the way he kept to his task under pressure and fought hard to the wire to preserve second money.  A similar performance today could be good enough.  Bolo was visually highly impressive winning his maiden at Del Mar and earned a strong number in doing so.  The son of Temple City is drawn farther out than we’d prefer but if his improvement continues the Gaines-trained colt could easily be this good.  Smith should have him forwardly placed and within striking range every step of the way.  Willing to Travel rallied against the race-shape to graduate at Del Mar and has been highly impressive in the morning since that race.  From the red hot Hollendorfer barn, with Bejarano aboard, and from the favorable rail, the son of Pleasantly Perfect is a “must use” at 12-1 on the morning.

#5 Dancingthenightway seeks to extend her unbeaten streak to three in the seventh race, a second-level seven furlong allowance sprint for fillies and mares.  Both of her prior victories earned huge numbers, and once again she’s very likely to be the controlling speed.  This extended sprint trip should be within her range and her recent workouts indicate that another forward move is probable.  The one to fear most is another unbeaten filly – #10 Sayes So – and she’s worth using or at least saving with in rolling exotic play.  The Richard Mandella-trained daughter of Congrats won at first asking at Del Mar in gate-to-wire style, though today she’ll probably be asked to stalk and pounce form her outside draw.  Her speed figure was good, not great, but she appeared to win with something left so she may have the potential to be competitive on the raise.

The featured Robert J. Frankel, for older fillies and mares at nine furlongs on turf, is loaded with  contenders and requires a spread; we’ll try to get by using just two but feel free to include as many as you deem necessary.  #3 Lady Pimpernel was a bit unlucky when a troubled third in her U.S., debut in the Red Carpet Handicap at Del Mar.  Today she’s shortening up from 11 furlongs to nine – it was thought that she needed at least a mile and one-quarter to be effective overseas – and there is some concern that she lacks the necessary turn of foot to win over top of ground at this trip against this level of competition.  That said, she’s a quality sort with top flight connections, so we’ll put her slightly on top.   On paper, #8 Kathleen Rose is the lone speed, though she’s in unchartered waters today at nine furlongs and we really can’t be sure she’ll get the trip.  However, if unpoliced on the front end, the daughter of Good Journey can take this field a very long way and you know she loves this course,  having finished first or second in eight of  nine career starts over the local lawn.

The finale is a two-turn maiden special weight affair for juveniles, with many in the crowd likely to use #5 Cyrus Alexander as a rolling exotic single.  The son of Medaglia d’Oro has burned money in both of his two prior starts – third at 6/5 sprinting in his debut and then second at 3/5 when runner-up over a mile at Del Mar – but the Hollendorfer-trained looks capable of finally breaking through today.  He switches to Smith and continues to impress in the morning, so we’ll give him one more chance.  #11 Prospect Park, in the money in his last pair against similar competition has the always-popular blinkers off angle working for him and may be worth considering on a saver ticket.


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