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!
February 28, 2015

At the time of this posting it is uncertain whether there will be turf racing.  The weather report calls for the possibility of rain.  For the purpose of this analysis, we’ll assume normal conditions.

In the opener #3 Blue Law has much in his favor; his speed figures continue to rise dramatically with each start and with another forward move today he should be home free.  In what appears to be a below par field for the level, we’ll make him a straight play and rolling exotic single and hope to get close to his morning line odds of 5/2.

The second race is a restricted (nw-3) $16,000 claiming sprint for older fillies and mares.  We’ll double the race but not with a whole lot of confidence, #7 Patriotic Brother returns to her proper level, lands the cozy outside post and sports a bullet workout since raced.  Pedroza should have her in a perfect pace-stalking position.  #6 Lust for Life has the route-to-sprint angle going for her and based on her race-before-last the Baltas-trained filly is a solid fit.

#1 Sacred Ovation and #4 Nextdoorneighbor have a rematch in the third race, a six furlong $25,000 claiming sprint, and while ‘Neighbor won the last encounter we’re looking for a reversal today due to the shortened trip.  Secret Ovation is the quicker of the two and looks like the controlling speed; given this scenario the son of Congrats could establish dominance early.  However, both should be included in rolling exotic play.

The fourth race kicks off the Pick-6 and as of this writing the race remains on the Hillside course.  But no matter what surface they run on, we’re going to prefer #7 Humoristica on top.  The Distorted Humor filly from champion Halfbridled won at first asking over this course and distance last month and she continues to impress in the morning on dirt; in fact, she may be every bit as good on the main track or even better.  We loved her debut win and expect a forward move today.  #8 Smooth It  shortens in trip and should be in the battle throughout (we’ll assume she’ll scratch if the race comes off the turf), while #11 Anniversary Gift ran super in her comeback under these conditions last month and a similar effort will make her very tough right back.  She, too, probably won’t start if they run this race on dirt.

#6 Masochistic is 4/5 on the morning line in the fifth race and anything close to his best race beats this field.  The works say ready, so we’ll make him a free bingo square rolling exotic single.

#2 The Man continues to train like a very nice colt but has yet to really put it together in the afternoon.  Maybe in today’s sixth race, a maiden two-turner, the Baffert-trained colt will do just that.  We like the blinkers-off angle and the solid speed figures; couple that with the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern and you have the logical top pick.  We’ll also toss in #9 Ideal, arguably the most dangerous of the closing types.  The son of Super Saver is bred to improve a ton two-turning and finally gets his chance today.

Entry-level allowance 3-year-old fillies meet over a mile in the seventh race with comebacking #7 Luminance making her first start since a stellar debut maiden score last summer at Del Mar.  She’s trained like she’s fit and ready and may simply out class this group; however, at 8/5 on the morning line she doesn’t offer much in the way of value.  We’ll make her a rolling exotic single.

The featured Santa Ysabel Stakes-G3 for sophomore fillies may require a bit of a spread.  #3 Enchanting Lady, winner of the Landaluce last summer at Santa Anita but on the shelf since, returns for Baffert with a series of impressive drills and looks cranked up for a major effort.  She’s plenty quick but her pedigree suggest she’ll be even better over a distance of ground.  #6 Light the City earned a career top number when second in the Las Virgenes S.-G1 last month and may not need much better than that to win today.  #7 Rattataptap is improving with racing and earned a giant figure beating a good allowance field sprinting last time out.  This will be her first two-turn try, but there’s no reason she won’t get the trip.  In a tough call, we’ll put Enchanting Lady on top while using all three in our rolling exotics.

The nightcap is a bottom-rung maiden claimer for older fillies and mares; we’ll use two but feel free to include as many as you can afford to.  #4 Sweet Sense makes her first start since July and has trained like she’s retained all of her old speed; the Puype-trained mare drops to the bottom and could get very brave against this group.   #3 Cindy’s Secret was overmatched last trip but ran well at this level two runs back at Los Alamitos so she’s a major player as well.

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