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Jeff Siegel

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Handicapping with Jeff Siegel
Horse owner, breeder and XpressbetTV analyst, Jeff Siegel also happens to be Southern California's premier handicapper. Check his blog each day before you play!
February 13, 2016

The Saturday opener, a $40,000 middle distance claimer, attracted only six runners, two of which are trained by Vladimir Cerin.  His best shot comes with #5 Roman Tizzy, who moves up a notch on the class ladder following a solid win over this track and distance last month.  The veteran gelding retains hot bug boy rider David Lopez and shows a nice, easy five furlong workout last week to keep him on edge.  #6 You Know I Know makes a positive jockey switch to Bejarano in his second off the claim for David Jacobson; he’s a fit off numbers though that zero-for-10 lifetime record over the Santa Anita main track is hard to ignore.  The others are uninspiring so we’ll try to get by in our rolling exotics using just these two in a race that we’ll otherwise pass.

 

The second race is a modest maiden $50,000 claiming sprint for state-bred 3-year-olds.  The best of the known element is #2 Calvert Street, third in a similar spot last month while producing his best speed figure to date.  With another forward move today, the son of Slew’s Tiznow may be hard to catch.  We have a hunch that #3 Moose Skowron – the race horse, not the ex-Yankee – is better than shown.  Virtually eased in his troubled debut last summer at Del Mar, the son of Grazen returns as a first-time gelding for the good Phil D’Amato outfit with a relatively brief but sneaky good work tab, and against this group her certainly won’t have to be a world beater.  We’ll toss him in as well.

 

The Arcadia Stakes is carded as the third race – purposely removed from the Pick-6 sequence – and is expected to wind up with only five starters, as both #4 Big Casanova and #7 Prospect Park were entered back in an allowance race on Sunday.  #6 Obviously is clearly the controlling speed – he always is – and though he was worn down in the final strides in the nine furlong San Gabriel S.-G2 last month, the race was franked when the horse that beat him, Flamboyant, came back to win again.  The veteran Irish-bred gelding continues to look sharp in the morning and will get a new rider in Mike Smith.  #1 Om should draft into a stalking position and have every chance; however, this will be his first start ever vs. older company.  #5 Bolo is in the same boat – he’s never raced against older – and this will be his first outing since last July.  #2 Cape Wolfe made a favorable impression when finishing third in a recent downhill listed stakes race but this is a much tougher group.  And #3 Yes Yes Yes just finished second in a $50,000 claimer.  That pretty much takes us back to Obviously, who we’ll use as a rolling exotic single.

 

The fourth race kicks off the Pick-6, a contentious first-level allowance sprint for fillies and mares.  #7 Sweetrayofsunshine is all race horse; the veteran mare has managed to win 10 races from just 21 lifetime starts and she’s six out of nine here at Santa Anita.  First off the claim for Ted West and landing the comfortable outside post, the daughter of Benchmark should settle in the second flight, waiting to -pounce.  The most dangerous of the speed types may be the comebacking #2 Sensitively, so impressive in her nine-length debut maiden win over this track last year but a major disappointment since.  She’s fresh and training like her old self for D’Amato (superior stats with layoff runners) and she seems capable of clearing this group, just as she did when her runaway maiden score.  These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics.

 

Maiden 3-year-old fillies sprint five and one-half furlongs in the fifth race, a wide open affair that at first glance appears to be below par in quality.  #10 Always Believe just missed at 49-1 in her debut in an okay but not great race; she makes her second today in a new barn, having been purchased privately by clients of John Sadler.  Arguably best when beaten – she was off slowly, produced a huge rally wide and then got nailed late after appearing to be a sure winner – the daughter of Archarcharch will be hard to beat if she leaves with her field and produces the expected improvement between her first and second start.  #5 Wife Approved, a reasonable runner-up in her debut and claimed out of the race by trainer Doug O’Neill for $75,000 – is another likely to produce a forward move with a race under her belt, though clearly she exits a softer race than Always Believe.  #8 Emmzy is as first-time starter from the Bob Baffert stable; her works aren’t flashy but this $370,000 yearling purchase by Eskendereya lands Bejarano and appears to be the most dangerous of the newcomers.

 

The sixth race is a grass grab bag down the hill for $25,000 claimers.  Nothing would surprise us.  #5 I’ll Wrap It Up comes off a solid race under these conditions, a third place effort vs. slightly tougher foes, but he’s 2-for-29 lifetime and not really one to trust.  #7 Tripski exits the same race – he finished fifth, beaten just under four lengths – and switches to Bejarano, but the David Jacobson-trained gelding has yet to hit the board in three runs over the tricky course.  #11 Atta Boy Pete is another with a less than stellar record over this layout (zero-for-six), though he could fire a big shot fresh and might wind up being the controlling speed.   #12 Apollo Ten finished second in his only previous try over this turf course and is a first-off-the-claim for Kristin Mulhall, who has superior stats with this angle.  These are the four we’ll be using in our rolling exotics, but not with a great deal of confidence.

 

#2 Calculator was a Kentucky Derby candidate about this time last year, but after a highly impressive win in the Sham S.-G3 the son of In Summation was sent to the sidelines with an injury and today finally makes it back to the races.  Clearly good enough to win an entry-level level allowance sprint if he returns as well as he left, the Peter Miller-trained shows a solid series of drills at San Luis Rey Downs to have him fit and ready.  #4 New Summit and #1 Sleepwalker, second and third, respectively, in a similar sprint last month, have the benefit of recent racing and are the ones to fear most; we’ll use them as well just in case Calculator is a tad rusty off the long layoff.

 

The Santa Maria S.-G2 for older fillies and mares occupies the featured eighth race slot; it’s a chaotic affair similar to the Santa Monica S.-G2 three weeks ago that was won by 64-1 Lost Bus.  #3 Birdatthewire is reunited with Mike Smith, who won on her earlier in the meeting in the La Brea S.-G1.  However, the Tom Proctor-trained filly was no match for Taris in the subsequent La Canada S.-G2 at this distance and we’re wondering if she just might be more effective as a late-running sprinter.   #7 Yahilwa, a modest third in the La Canada, switches to Talamo and could be dangerous if she can clear this field.  However, this will be the 33rd start of her career and she’s clearly lost a step or two of her early zip.  #6 Living the Life loves to win races – she nine-for-29 lifetime – but is another that seems most effective around one turn.  #8 Tara’s Tango missed by a neck as the favorite in the Santa Monica, but Smith, who was aboard that day, jumps off to ride Birdatthewire.  With positives and negatives surrounding each entrant, the best advice is to use as many as you can afford to.

 

The nightcap is a nine furlong maiden turf event for sophomore fillies, with #7 Lady Valeur the logical favorite.  Second in both of her career starts to date and an excellent runner-up in her U.S. debut despite a troubled trip down the hill last month, the Paddy Gallagher-trained filly retains Stevens and stretches out to a distance she’s bred to handle.  Two solid workouts since raced should have the Irish-bred filly on edge and she very well may be a single candidate for rolling exotic players.  We’d also consider, at least as a back-up, #1 Last Resort.  The daughter of Twirling Candy has encountered two troubled trips in her first two starts and probably is better than the lines show.  She lands the rail and switches to Bejarano so we should be able to find out if and how much she can run today.

 

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