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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!
October 25, 2015

The closing day Sunday program begins with a starter’s allowance main track miler for juveniles that came up fairly contentious. #2 Sugar Buzz is fresh from a decent maiden claiming win and may prove to be a timely claim by Hendricks. The son of Include strikes us as a progressive sort and already has proven he can get the trip. #1 Tribal Roar stretches out for the first time and likely will be sent from the rail; the son of Tribal Rule earned a speed figure two races back that makes him a fit at this level. #6 Courageous Dave has the two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern we like and exits a hot dash here two weeks ago. On pedigree he should enjoy the added trip so he’s the likely choice and one to beat. Let’s use all three in our rolling exotics while slightly preferring Sugar Buzz on top.

Maiden claiming juvenile fillies sprint five and one-half furlongs in the second race. #2 Nine Point Nine, first off the claim for Cerin, moves up in class but is a route-to-sprint play and switches to Nakatani, so the daughter of Tribal Rule seems likely to produce a forward move in a below par race for the level. Her numbers are steadily rising, so at 7/2 on the morning line she deserves top billing. #4 Tiz Pleasant, a beaten choice in a similar spot here earlier this month, retains Bejarano, is a fit on figures, and should get plenty of backing again. In the money in three of her four career starts, the daughter of Southern Image figures to be part of the pace throughout. We’ll try to get by using just these two.

The third race is a $40,000 claiming sprint restricted to 3-year-olds and may be a winning spot for #3 Smack Talk. Once well-regarded after breaking his maiden at first asking as a two-year-old, the Belvoir-trained gelding shows up for a tag for the first time and has back numbers that are good enough to win at this level. He’s also returning to the main track while retaining Talamo and continues to impress in the morning. Today should be his day. #5 Lambo Luxx comes of a game starter’s allowance win here last month and shows a healthy work pattern since; the Carava-trained gelding has the kind of early zip that should have him on or near the lead throughout. We’ll give Smack Talk the edge but use both in our rolling exotics.

Maiden claiming juvenile fillies meet over the extended sprint distance of seven furlongs in the first leg of the Pick-6 sequence; we’ve got it down to two main contenders while preferring #3 Bella Anatola on top. She’s a first-time starter from the Baffert barn with a decent series of workouts that should have her fit and ready in a soft spot. #4 Blessherheart drops drastically in class after chasing much tougher straight maidens in her first two outings; the daughter of Quality Road also has the dangerous route-to-sprint angle and enough early speed to be a strong factor throughout.

Trainer Richard Mandella has three strong contenders in the fifth race, the Senator Ken Maddy Stakes for fillies and mares sprinting down the hill. Why not use all three? #8 Off the Road is an intriguing Brazilian invader with excellent South American form and an impressive local work tab; she looks like a live item with Smith taking the call so let’s put her slightly on top. #6 Baruta has hit the board in six of seven career starts over this turf course and should appreciate this return to grass. Bejarano takes the mount and will have her within striking range throughout. #5 Spirit of Xian, a solid runner-up over this course and distance against a slightly lesser field last month, retains Talamo and more than likely will draft into an ideal pace-stalking spot. She really won’t have to improve all that much to win.

The sixth race is an inscrutable bottom-rung claiming miler that requires a spread; best advice is to use as many as you can afford to. #6 Dekko comes off a decent win at this trip last month at Del Mar and all three of his efforts this year have been solid, so if the Pure Prize gelding has one more good one left he’ll be tough again. #4 Cant Do the Dance is a front-runner from the Bay Area with good recent form; if he can make the running without undue pressure he’ll take this field a very long way. #3 Planet Sunshine is re-equipped with blinkers, drops for the money run and looks the most dangerous of the closing types. We’ll try to advance using just these three but if you can afford to go deeper, by all means do so.

The seventh race is yet another difficult affair with several possibilities. #1 Chief of Staff must overcome an extreme outside draw, but the Hollendorfer-trained colt is genuine and consistent and a strong fit on figures. Though he was beaten at even money when third in a photo in his most recent start earlier this month, he retains Bejarano and should be given a big chance to make amends. #9 Dream Police has a good stalking style and room for further improvement for hot trainer Baltas, so we’ll including him at 9/2 on the morning line. #7 Got Even always is dangerous on the lead when not pressured and could be the controlling speed again. ‘Staff gets the edge but we’ll use all three in our rolling exotics.

The eighth race is yet another raffle; this one a Hillside turf affair for first-level allowance sprinters. #7 Global Magician, second in his last pair, returns shortens up for Miller and should enjoy an ideal pace-stalking trip. He may be as good as any but in a tough race he’s only one of several that appear capable of winning. #4 Wildcat Sailor tries turf for the first time and there’s no reason he won’t handle it. The Mulhall-trained gelding came off a layoff to finish a decent third sprinting in a $50,000 claimer on the main track earlier this month and has a right to step forward today while being protected in an allowance race, a positive sign. Nakatani stays aboard. #11 Pay the Fine has won over this course in the past, lands the good outside draw, and earned a career top sped figure when second in a similar spot over the Del Mar main track in late August. He’s looked sharp in the morning since and seems primed for another major effort for O’Neill. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics while giving Global Magician a very slight edge on top.

The nightcap is a bottom-rung extended sprint for older maidens and actually looks like a stronger than par race for the level. #8 Cass in Stone, first off the claim for O’Neill, has rising speed figures and the always-dangerous blinkers off angle while switching to Bejarano, so we’re expecting a major forward move today from the son of Quality Road. We’ll put him on top but also use #5 Travel Bound and #6 Lucky Reality in our rolling exotics. The former adds the hood for the first time and is dropping dramatically in class, so improvement is likely, while the latter also is tackling much softer foes today in his first start since mid-August and has looked pretty good in morning in recent workouts for Blacker.

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