Jeff Siegel's Prime Picks for Friday, Jan. 2

There’s a Pick-6 carryover $141,011 and it wouldn’t totally surprise me if it carries over again to Saturday. You talk about a tough card! The most likely single candidate is #1 Double Trouble, who was listed at 7/5 on Jeff Tufts’ morning line in the 7th race, but while I consider her a major contender and a “must use,” the Bobby Frankel-trained mare falls far short of being a free bingo space. In fact, I actually give slight preference to the Bay Area invader #3 Victorina, a win machine in Greg Gilchrist’s barn who lands Rafael Bejarano in her return to Southern California. Earlier on the Friday program a promising group of Derby-aged colts compete in the second race, and the Ron McAnally-trained #3 Massone, fresh from a maiden two-turn score at Hollywood Park, tries to move up the ladder while again facing #2 Poker Dave, whom he defeated by a half length when they last met at Hollywood Park in late November. Poker Dave came out of that race to graduate with a much better speed figure then what Massone had just earned, so Massone probably will have make another forward move to continue his mastery over Eddie Truman’s colt. Perhaps more interesting than either one is # 6 Billionaire Bob, who stretches out for the first time and returns to the main track after a good effort sprinting on the turf across town. Billionaire Bob should enjoy an ideal pace prompting trip sitting just off likely pacesetter #4 Aquicksting, and although he’s no slam dunk to route based on pedigree, his running style seems ideal for a stretch out play. The 3rd race launches the Pick-6 and to illustrate just how wide open this event is, the morning line favorite, debuting #8 Not So Plain Jane, was listed at the very lukewarm price of 7/2. Among those you must consider using is #12 Secret Limit, who retains Chantal Sutherland after failing to run to her works and solid 7-1 backing in her debut after a bit of a slow start. She continues to train like she’s got more talent than your typical maiden claimer and really doesn’t have much to beat. The 4th race brings back #1 All Man, who could be under some consideration as a single for smaller ticket players. The Canani-trained gelding fits very well on numbers and has won at this extended sprint distance in the past. If he can avoid trouble from the rail, the veteran gelding could be along in time. If you can afford to double your ticket, toss in #6 Soul City Slew, a past classer and a synthetic track specialist who is fresh and dangerous on the class drop for O’Neill. The 5th race is a grass grab bag that saw three of the main contenders - #8 Gula Gold; #9 Heathersdaddysbaby, and #10 Persian Express – land in the three outside stalls. I suggest you use all three and a few more on top of that if you can afford to. I believe you can get past the 6th race using just two runners, #1a In the Woods; and #10 Cat Brulay. In the Woods, coupled with the comebacking #1 Saint Paul, always has been well regarded but physical issues have interrupted his career on more than one occasion. He’s shown the ability to fire fresh, has numbers that give him a strong look, and hails from a barn that has a high percentage with layoff runners. In the Woods has good tactical speed and should be a pace factor throughout, but this a tough assignment for a comebacker. Cat Brulay lands a lovely outside draw and likely will wind up a relatively short price. He’ll add blinkers today and figures to do his best running from off the pace. As mentioned previously, #1 Double Trouble and #3 Victorina appear to outclass the Paseana field and I doubt you’d have to go any deeper than that. Double Trouble won the Gr. 2 Santa Maria ‘Cap here last year and anything close to that makes her a winner again. However, don’t underestimate Victorina, First or second in 18 of 23 lifetime starts, the Florida-bred filly could be using this race as nothing more than a prep for the Sunshine Millions Distaff (Jan. 24) but could find herself in an ideal pace prompting spot behind #5 Chocolate Lava and #6 Forest Melody. The nightcap is a bottom rung maiden claiming sprint and while #8 Motorboat and #12 The Emerald King should get plenty of play, both are difficult to trust. Motorboat is a first-off-the-claim play for Hollendorfer (26%) and that coupled with a recent sharp work may be significant. However, if you’ve gotten this far in the Pick-6, you might not be safe unless you’ve got the final race bought. Saturday’s card is no picnic, either. This thing could go on for awhile.