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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 8, 2015

The new week begins with a modest two-turn affair that projects to have a very fast pace and thus set things up nicely for the closers. #5 Dive Down may really benefit by this race-shape. Claimed back by prior trainer Kruljac (always a good sign), the lightly-raced gelding switches to Talamo and will get the patient ride he prefers. A solid fit on speed figures, he should be able to produce the last run. #6 Doyouknowsomething, the 9/5 morning line favorite, drops below his claim level after being overmatched in his last pair by Avila. A prior winner over this main track and switching to Espinoza, the Awesome Again gelding is another that figures to be doing his best work late. These are the two we’ll be using in rolling exotic play; we’ll give Dive Down the nod on top.

In the second race, #3 Ground Rules is improving with racing and this lightly-raced son of Smart Strike earned a career top speed figure when handling a first-level allowance field last month at Del Mar. Desormeaux fits him well, and with another forward move, the Sise-trained colt can handle the class hike. #6 Sammy Mandeville exits a series of graded stakes race – two runs back he finished an excellent runner-up in the Longacres Mile – and is the one to fear most. The main concern is his 2-for-17 lifetime record and his complete lack of tactical speed. However, he does come out of much-the-best races. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll have a few extra tickets with Ground Rules on top.

#4 Lucky Student is the best of the speed types and returns to her favorite oval in today’s third race. All three of her career wins have come at Santa Anita; additionally, she’s been first or second in six of eight starts on this main track. The Spawr-trained mare is dropping another notch in class but remains above her claim level and retains Maldonado, who has won with her in the past. #1 Always a Chance defeated ‘Student soundly at Del Mar two races back and if she can negotiate a good trip from the rail she’ll be tough again. She’s another who has shown a fondness for this surface, having won twice. #7 Shared Image retains Bejarano and should draft into an ideal pace-prompting position outside. Another with a previous win over this main track, the daughter of Rocky Bar missed at 3/5 at Los Alamitos last time out in a starter’s race, so she’s probably the least preferred of the three that we’re including in rolling exotic play, but is worth, at least, using at least as a saver.

The fourth race is a wide-open straight maiden state-bred turf sprint for fillies and mares that requires a spread; we’ll use three but feel free to go deeper if you can afford to. #2 Diamond Debbie, bred to improve on grass, gets her first chance on the sod in her first start in nearly a year for new trainer Puype and could be a bit better type this time around. She returns protected in a sign of confidence, and her form is unexposed, something that can’t be said about most of the others. #6 Lacey’s Rainbow is another switching to grass for the first time and is bred to like it (Desert Code). She’ll also race with blinkers for the first time while switching to Talamo and is quite likely better than her first two outings indicate. At 6-1 on the morning line she should be used. #9 Journeyonthemove is a fit numbers and has the route-to-sprint angle for Puype, though she doesn’t offer a whole lot of value at 3-1 on the morning line. Preference goes to Diamond Debbie but this is a chaotic affair and nothing would surprise us.

The fifth race is yet another difficult affair, a maiden claiming main track miler with little to trust. #6 Popsracer is bred to run long and finally gets his chance for Hofmans; the son of Scat Daddy exits a strong seven furlong race for the level at Del Mar and switches to Espinoza. A bullet six furlong workout over the Santa Anita main track indicates he’s fit and ready. #4 Architop drops to his lowest level ever and tries dirt for the first time, so improvement is possible for the always-potent Stevens/Mandella team. The son of Arch fits very well on speed figures so if he handles the surface switch he’ll be right there. #3 Poythress is another class dropper going from turf to dirt. His career top speed figure was earned against straight maidens over this main track in June and if he runs back to that race today he’ll be a major factor. Let’s try Popsracer on top but use all three in our rolling exotics.

The sixth race is an extended sprint for fillies and mares. #4 Zanab has the proper closing style for the trip and ran well in her first career outing on dirt when third in an extremely fast, highly-rated race at Del Mar last month. A similar effort should be good enough to beat this field, and she’s reunited with Baze, who has won on her in the past. There’s some value here at 7/2 on the morning line, so let’s make this Chew-trained filly a straight play and rolling exotic single.

We’ll double the seventh race, a mile turf event for California-bred entry-level allowance fillies and mares. #7 Minister’sadventure finished first in her last pair (she was disqualified two runs back) and seems capable of winning again while moving up from starter’s allowance company. Her numbers are solid, she sports a healthy work pattern for Hollendorfer, and Bejarano takes over for the injured Prat. We like her strongly on top but we’ll also include on a ticket or two #3 Awesome Lookn. A thoroughly professional race mare in the Miller barn, she finished a solid second under similar conditions at Del Mar in August and has trained solidly since. Graham will have her in a good stalking spot.

In the nightcap, #8 Be a Lady finished seventh of nine in her debut but was very fractious and didn’t break well, so we’re willing to give her another chance. She received some play in that race (5-1) and Gutierrez stays aboard, so at 9/2 on the morning line we’ll put her on top. #3 Gusto’s Gal is another that seems better than shown. Despite stopping to a walk in a similar spot at Del Mar, she retains Talamo and shows a very strong, healthy work tab for Hofmans since her last race. #10 Juju’s Mojo is a first timer from the D’Amato barn (solid with debut runners) and is bred for speed and is training fairly well. She certainly won’t have to be a world beater to fit with these. All three should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll give a slight edge on top to Be A Lady.

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