Handicapping with Jeff Siegel
An excellent Saturday program offers a deep and competitive nine race card, with first post time at 1 p.m. There’s a Pick-6 carryover of $34,949.
The opener is a starter’s allowance abbreviated sprint for fillies and mare with two main contenders. #1 Mahalo Princess is the 7/5 morning line choice and has back numbers (and back form over this main track) that will make her tough if she produces her best effort. She runs well for Stra has but no options at this trip from the rail, so if she doesn’t beak sharply she could find herself in a jackpot. #5 Backwoods Belle is a five furlong specialist and likely is the speed of the speed. If she can clear off early she might get brave, but ‘Princess figures to wear her down late if she manages to negotiate a good trip.
We’ll double the second race, a weak maiden claiming miler for older fillies and mares. #8 Afleet Echo, second in her last pair at this level, probably isn’t one to trust but she switches to Bejarano and figures to enjoy an ideal pace-prompting position. #4 Sheza Dish has the “first time for a tag” angle working for her and is a strong fit on speed figures. The concern is the five month layoff but this barn does well with comebackers so we’ll put her on top and make her the horse to beat. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.
Juvenile fillies in the starter’s allowance ranks meet over a mile on the main track in the third race and we’ll concentrate on the two exiting the Surfer Girl Stakes. #1 Devil’s Beauty broke her maiden at first asking in game style for a tag and then was overmatched in her last start; she’s realistically spotted today and should be on or near the lead throughout from her favorable rail draw. #7 Shezapiranha is a fit on numbers and won a two-turn affair at Lone Star in July, so she figures to be doing her best work late with the switch to Nakatani.
The fourth race kicks off the Pickp-6; it’s a downhill turf sprint for state bred maiden fillies and mares. #1 Temeeku may have lost her best chance at the start in a similar affair earlier this month; she retains Bejarano and figures to be prominent throughout with a clean break. #5 Fast Magoo tries turf for the first time and if she can transfer her main (or all-weather) form to the sod she can be dangerous. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics while preferring Temeeku on top.
Straight maiden two-year-olds sprint six furlongs in the fifth race; there are a number of fast-working types that make this event extremely difficult. #3 Firing Line has been burning up the track for Callaghan and this son of Line of David worked a quarter of a mile during the Keeneland April Preview session in 20 1/5 before bringing $200,000 at auction. He should be a major contender; however, this stable hardly ever wins with a first timer. We’ll toss him in but without a great degree of confidence. #7 Candy Cowboy is bred to run long but has done excellent work in the morning for Mullins and seems fit and ready first crack out of the box. #13 Alright Alright has been impressive in a series of workouts for Vienna and is bred for intense speed on both sides of his pedigree. He looks fit and dangerous at 12-1 on the morning line and is a “must use” in the exotics.
The sixth race is an entry-level downhill turf sprint that may offer a bit of value. #3 Carlot Cowboy earned a strong figure beating a much lesser field two-turning on dirt recently; he’s wheeled back quickly today while shortening up in trip, switching surfaces, and tackling tougher. The son of Silver Train is unproven on grass but there’s no reason he won’t handle the sod, and he’s shown in the past the ability to win sprinting, so the turn back in trip shouldn’t be an issue. Protected today in an allowance race while retaining Baze, the Spawr-trained gelding seems set for another huge run, so we’ll put him on top and may even get a bit better than his morning line odds of 4-1. #1 Back Off Buddy is another trying turf for the first time and the son of Tale of the Cat has a look if he can duplicate his main track form on grass. The rail post is no help but the Machowsky-trained gelding should represent danger from off the pace. #5 Conquest Two Step is lightly raced and eligible to improve; he was a solid runner-up over this course and distance vs. similar last month and should at least get a piece of it again today. All three should be used in your rolling exotics; we’ll have extra tickets with Carlot Cowboy on top.
The seventh race is an extended sprint for first-level California-breds, and the comebacking #5 Kill Shot looks well placed to win in his first start in almost a year. The works indicate he’s fit and ready and his back numbers tell us that he’s more than good enough to win if he comes back as well as he left. He’s 5/2 on the morning line and we’d take that right now if we could get it. Let’s make him a strong straight play and rolling exotic single.
The featured eighth race is the Autumn Miss Stakes, a Grade-3 affair over a mile on turf. We’ll go three-deep and maybe get a price home. #7 Alexis Tangier could be an up-and-coming star for Mandella; the Tiznow filly from the marvelous race mare Cambiocorsa just won impressively down the hill but she’s also been successful around two turns, so today’s additional distance shouldn’t pose a problem. Espinoza knows her well and should have her within striking range throughout. #5 Lexie Lou won both the Woodbine Oaks and the Queen’s Plate in Canada so you know class won’t be an issue; it’s possible, though, that a mile might be a tad sharp for her, at least in this league. We’ll use her. #3 Famous Alice probably is a bit better than her morning line odds of 12-1; she can be a late threat off her best race and has been first or second in four of five starts over the Santa Anita turf course in the past.
The finale is an abbreviated sprint for bottom-rung maiden claimers; a little certainly will go a long way here. #4 Takeit To the Limit has finished in the money in each of his last three but missed by a head when tagged late as the favorite vs. similar last time out. He’s not particularly fast on speed figures but somebody has to win and he might do so by default. #5 Tasha’s Courage is an 11-race maiden and certainly not one to trust, but the switch to Bejarano could help a bunch and he’s a strong fit on speed figures. These are the two we’ll prefer; toss in anybody else you like.