Handicapping with Jeff Siegel
The Thursday program begins with a five-runner optional claiming sprint for 3-year-old fillies. #5 Easter Fever was taken off the pace in her most recent outing and the results were quite pleasing; she relaxed nicely, took hold at the mid-point on the turn and then drew off with authority. We’ll assume that similar strategy will be employed today. She’s 2-1 on the morning and that’s about right if you’re trying to beat the even money choice, #2 Bad Ju Ju, a romping maiden special weight winner at Los Alamitos but away since early December. She may be vulnerable today and even if she’s not she’ll be too short to play.
The second race is a maiden $30,000 claimer at six and one-half furlongs for 3-year-olds and has two main contenders. #6 Congrats Seattle drops to his lowest level ever and has figures that are good enough to win in this league. We like the route-to-sprint angle and Desormeaux should have this one rolling late. #4 Whiskey Wild earned a big number when second over a wet fast track earlier this month; if he can turn in two alike he’ll be the one to beat. Both should be used in rolling exotic play.
The Pick-6 begins with the third race, a first-level allowance sprint for sophomore fillies. #5 Tall and Sweet was visually impressive breaking her maiden in her debut at Los Alamitos last month and has been sharp in the morning since. We’re expecting a forward move and a repeat victory, but for protection we’ll also toss in #1 All Star Bub (second off a layoff with the route-to-sprint angle) and #2 Rattataptap (toss out troubled stakes try, fits on figures off her maiden win).
Bottom-rung older maiden claimers meet over a mile in the fourth race. #1 Beach Fever should enjoy an ideal ground-saving trip from the rail and can be tough on the lead or from a stalking position. #3 Couldashouldadid plummets in class and returns to the main track; the Yakteen-trained gelding switches to Bejarano for the money run. #9 Spring Action is poorly drawn but is another dropping in class to a realistic level and will be heard from if taken back and allowed to produce the last run.
The fifth race is a maiden special weight Hillside turf sprint for older fillies and mares and appears to be a below par race for the level. #9 Humoristica hasn’t shown a whole lot of zip in the morning for Mandella, but she’s impeccably bred (Distorted Humor from Halfbridled) and should like turf. She doesn’t have to be world beater to act with these. #2 See Through has run well over this course in the past and probably won’t have to top her best effort to win, while #3 Kristinite chased winners last time out and didn’t run all that badly under the circumstance. She remains protected by Spawr in what we’re assuming is a sign of confidence.
We’ll single #1 When We Met in the sixth race, a $12,500 claimer at seven furlongs. The rail post is no help but the Diodoro-trained gelding drops to his proper level, likes this main track, and is a perfect two-for-two at this extended sprint trip. Let’s make him a straight play and rolling exotic single, though at 9/5 on the morning line there’s probably not a whole lot of value to be had.
The featured seventh race is a starter’s allowance turf miler that looks fairly wide open; we’ll use three in our rolling exotics. #9 I’ll Wrap It Up is 1-for-19 lifetime and certainly isn’t one to trust, but he’s a first-off-the-claim for Lobo and should draft into a good pace prompting position. #6 Warren’s Nicholas had a recent sprint prep and should move forward in his second-off-a-layoff. He’s run well in the past over this turf course and retains Talamo. #7 Silver Torch, freshened since November, should be the most dangerous of the closing types has run consistently well under Desormeaux in the past. We’ll put the Hess-trained gelding slightly on top.
The finale is an inscrutable bottom-level maiden claiming miler (a split of the fourth race) and we’re not planning on getting too involved. #9 Silent Ruler is a 14-race maiden yet looks the best of the bunch and seems capable of producing the last run under Desormeaux. We’ll use him as a single; it’s either him or the buy the race.