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Santa Anita Park
Late Pick 4 Guarantee $300,000 Thursday, February 11
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Golden Pick 6 Jackpot $5,708 Thursday, February 11
Super High 5 Carryover $0 Thursday, February 11
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 11, 2016

A new week of racing begins with $12,500 claimers competing over seven furlongs.  #6 Justonemorething has won half of his six career starts over the Santa Anita main track and looks capable of scoring right back on the double jump for new trainer Charles Treece after handling $8,000 foes last month with a stronger-than -par speed figure.  He’s picking up 6 lbs. today off that win but lands the cozy outside draw in a race that has little early speed signed on, so Gutierrez should be able to dictate his trip.  #3 Hadfunlastnight, more than fast enough on numbers to win a race like this, finished a solid second in a restricted $10,000 event over this track and distance three weeks ago and a similar effort makes him the one to fear most.  We’ll use both in our rolling exotics while preferring Justonemorething on top.


The second race is a bottom-rung maiden claiming abbreviated sprint with very little in it.  #6 Bistro Lights appears the best of the known element, though that’s not saying much.  A disappointing fifth in a similar event last month in his first start in nine months, he’s a first-off-the-claim play for Dean Pederson (good stats with this angle) and seems sure to be fitter and tougher today for new connections.  #8 Granny’s Bling represents stranger danger as the only first-timer in the field; the Mulhall-trained gelding has worked okay and a little will go a long way in this modest event.  We’ll double the race in rolling exotic play and then press a bit with Bistro Lights on top.


The Pick-6 begins with the third race, a main track maiden special weight mile affair with #6 The Bench Rules a logical top pick and potential rolling exotic single.  In the money in his last three with strong, rising speed figures, the son of Benchmark finished nine lengths clear of the rest when runner-up in his most recent outing and anything close to that effort today puts him in the winner’s circle.  A steady, healthy work tab indicates further improvement is likely, so at 7/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower, the Ron Ellis-trained gelding doesn’t really offer much to work with.


The fourth race is a starter’s allowance sprint for older fillies and mares and seems fairly competitive; we’ll try to get by using just the two Doug O’Neill entrants.  #5 Revenue Virginius, first off the claim (strong stats with this angle for this barn), finished an excellent second in a recent main track sprint while more than eight clear of the rest, and if she can duplicate that effort she’ll be hard to deny.  She makes a major jockey switch to Prat and should draft into an ideal second flight, stalking spot.  #7 Audra lands the good outside post and gives O’Neill two major bullets to fire.  She’s not as fast on figures as her uncoupled stablemate but in a field without pace she should find herself comfortably pressing or stalking easy splits.  With just six prior starts the daughter of Rockport Harbor has plenty of room to improve and with Bejarano riding her back she’ll be in the battle throughout.


First-level allowance fillies and mares sprint down the hill in the fifth race, with two sticking out.  #3 Entrechat, away since last May, came up a bit short when pressing the pace and then weakening late to wind up fourth in a similar affair last month.  She’ll likely receive the patient ride she needs while being reunited with Prat and her best effort should be good enough to win.  #1 Hundi, a strong runner-up in the same race Entrechat exits, will be dangerous from off the pace once again; she switches to Stevens and continues to impress in the morning for Callaghan.  Both should be used in rolling exotic play, with Entrechat deserving of a few extra tickets on top.


Multiple stakes-winning #4 Enchanting Lady launches a comeback in the sixth race, a second-level main track extended sprint for fillies and mares.  She’s been training like she’s fit and ready for Baffert and will be dangerous with anything close to her best effort.  Garcia should have her within range throughout in a race that figures to produce slower than par early splits.  #2 Finest City just missed in the Santa Monica S.-G2 by only a head in a career-top performance; today she returns to the conditioned allowance ranks and with the benefit of two recent races over the track she may have a condition edge over Enchanting Lady.  The projected pace scenario – slow early – could allow her to inherit the role as the controlling and if so she may prove tough to catch.  Both should be used in rolling exotic play with Enchanting Lady receiving a very slight edge on top.


The featured seventh race is an excellent first-level allowance sprint down the hill for older fillies and mares; we’ll go three deep while preferring #6 Perdona slightly on top.  The versatile daughter of Blame can be tough at any distance but seems best under these conditions and should draft into a good stalking spot, waiting to pounce.  A close third despite some early trouble in a similar event last month, the Peter Eurton-trained filly retains Gonzalez and seems capable of producing the last run with good racing luck.  #4 Nite Delite pressed a hot pace and weakened late vs. state-bred stakes foes in her most recent outing but she’s facing easier today and seems certain to stick better.  Maldonado will have her in the firing line throughout.  #2 Bert’s Melody has been away since last April and this comeback race might be nothing more than a tune-up for a stretch out; however, the Sean McCarthy-trained mare has worked nicely for her return and should be a pace factor throughout.  She earned a speed figure two races back in the Irish O’Brien Stakes over this course and distance that is good enough to beat this field, so toss her in.


The nightcap is a messy bottom-rung maiden track miler with nothing to trust.  We’ll use three, but if you can afford to go deeper go right ahead.  #1 El Nino Terrible stretches out again and may be the controlling speed from the rail.  In a race in which the closers looks suspect, he might be able to stick it out.  #2 Luckbox Sam makes a major jockey switch to Bejarano and on that angle alone must be considered a contender.  However, the drop to the bottom isn’t encouraging and this barn has been ice cold all meeting long.  #7 Formally Wild returns to his claim level for Mullins and should be prominent throughout; the issue is that he’s always been a need-the-lead type and with other t speed types drawn inside of him the Offlee Wild gelding might be forced into a stalker’s role.  We’ll include him by default but not with any great deal of confidence.


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