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Santa Anita Park
Pick 6 Guarantee $150,000 Saturday, February 13
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Golden Pick 6 Jackpot $11,573 Saturday, February 13
Super High 5 Carryover $3,746 Saturday, February 13
Jeff Siegel

'Prime Picks'

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 14, 2016

The Sunday opener is a maiden $100,000 claiming sprint for 3-year-olds; it’s a race full of question marks and not one that we’re willing to get too involved with.  #4 Gramsson worked a quarter of a mile in a blazing 20 3/5 seconds at the OBS March Sale last year but never made it to the post during his 2-year-old season.  This seems like a proper spot for his coming out party, as there’s a huge difference between a straight maiden and an expensive maiden claimer on this circuit at this time of the year and this Baffert-trained colt is pretty much claim proof at this price.  Let’s put him on top and use him as a rolling exotic single; it’s either that or spread the race and we’re not really keen on doing that.

 

The second race is a maiden special weight sprint down the hillside course with seven first time starters to deal with.  We’ll prefer three, but this race has spread written all over it.  #1 Is Trevor Clever was impressive in the OBS April preview session last year – he breezed a furlong in 10 seconds flat – and then brought $175,000 at auction.  His work tab at San Luis Rey Downs looks solid, so we’ll put him slightly on top.  #8 Rim Nick was a beaten choice last month after a slow start, and most likely is better than the race indicates.  He’ll try turf today and Bejarano stays aboard, so the son of J P’s Gusto probably deserves another chance.  #5 Brandothebartender is a California-bred first timer by Tribal Rule showing up in open maiden company in a grass sprint; a five furlong drill in 1:00 flat last week catches the eye so he probably can run.

 

The third race is a three-other-than main track affair that serves as a type of prep race for the Santa Anita Handicap a month down the road.  #3 Prospect Park, away since September, has trained like he’s fit and ready for Cliff Sise and was scratched out of Saturday’s Arcadia Stakes when this race filled.  He’s shown the ability to fire fresh and should be able to out class this field.  At 6/5 on the morning line he offers no value but we can use him as a logical, short-price rolling exotic single.

 

The fourth race kicks off the Pick-6 sequence with a difficult abbreviated sprint for $20,000 claiming sophomore fillies.  #2 Pico Chick, first off the claim for Danny Velasquez and dropping a notch after sitting out her jail term, has been a beaten choice in her last two starts and may not be one to trust, though she does land Bejarano and the work tab looks pretty decent.  We’ll use her along with #3 Sooner Time (second in her last pair but dropping in class for the fourth straight race, not a healthy pattern) and #9 Hail Mary Play (Northern California shipper making her second start off a layoff for strong connections and a winner over this track during the autumn season).  Tread lightly here.

 

The fifth race is a weak bottom-rung maiden claiming sprint for older fillies and mares.  Needless to say, nothing would surprise us.  Those who need the action probably will gravitate toward #8 Sweeter Thancandy, a 13-race maiden but in the money in her last three starts and retaining Bejarano.  She probably won’t have to improve much at all to finally earn her diploma but at 5/2 on the morning line doesn’t offer a whole lot of value at that price.  This might be a good race to stay clear of.

 

The sixth race is an interesting mile and one-half turf affair for first-level allowance optional calimers and drew a competitive field of 11.  #4 Tale of a Champion is an ex-classer with a typical amount of ailments for an old pro his age, but he shouldn’t have any issues with this marathon trip and his healthy recent work tab coupled with the presence of Bejarano in the saddle makes him quite intriguing at 8-1 on the morning line.  The Mulhall barn has exceptional stats with layoff runners and this son of Tale of the Cat looks capable of firing a big shot fresh.  #2 Dylan Ward finally won a maiden race in his 12th career start over this course last month and strikes us as a gelding that will really appreciate this 12-furlong trip.  He’s a trier and a grinder and Gonzalez should have him in a good stalking spot throughout.  #5 Tattenham has won at this distance in the past and had a nice prep in a turf miler at this level earlier this meeting.  The Hess-Desormeaux team always is dangerous and we’re expecting this Rock Hard Ten gelding to show up with his best stuff today.

 

The seventh race is a challenging main track starter’s allowance race; we’ll see if we can get by using just two.  #1 Perfect Set is eligible for this race for having run for a $16,000 tag last March; he’s actually a solid $50,000 claimer in the real world and simply may out class his rivals.  Drawn comfortably inside while retaining Gonzalez, the Hollendorfer-trained gelding should enjoy an ideal pace-stalking, ground-saving trip.  #7 Doyouknowsomething is a genuine and consistent claimer with the potential for some improvement; the Awesome Again gelding earned a career top speed figure when second in a first-level allowance race over this track and distance last month and has trained sharply since for Avila.  With another forward move today, he may be the one to beat.

 

Sophomore fillies sprint down the hill in the eighth race, the Sweet Life Stakes, with the major contenders drawn outside.  #8 Swift Lady may have found a home on turf; the daughter of Awesome of Course was visually quite impressive winning a first-level allowance race over this course and distance last month and should be tough right back with Garcia staying aboard for Baffert.  #7 Jeremy’s Legacy was second to Swift Lady in that aforementioned race while finding her best stride too late and probably is capable of a bit better today.  There’s also a two pound shift in the weights in her favor, for whatever that’s worth.  #9 Nordic looked good breaking her maiden under these conditions last month and while she’s noticeably slower than the other two based strictly on speed figures the lightly-raced Irish-bred import certainly has a right to improve with experience for D’Amato.  We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics while preferring Swift Lady on top.

 

The finale is a restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claimer over a mile on the main track.  #7 Dream Police exits a much tougher race and should find this group within his scope.  Prat stays aboard for Baltas and should have this Wildcat Heir gelding within striking range throughout.  He has several back numbers that are more than good enough to win at this level.  #9 L’s Choice, a solid runner-up under these conditions last month, is lightly-raced with further improvement in him and may be the most dangerous of the closing types.  Gutierrez stays aboard for Eurton.  #4 Gambler’s Roll is stretching out for the first time and surely will try gate-to-wire tactics.  The pedigree okays the added distance and if this lightly-raced son of Eskendereya shakes loose early without pressure, he could take this field a very long way.

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