Jeff Siegel's Prime Picks for Wednesday, Jan. 7

Trainer Brian Koriner is raising #2 Thunder and Ice from $16,000 all the way up to $40,000 in the first race and she seems more than capable of handling the boost in class in a race restricted to 4-year-olds. Her biggest obstacle may be the filly drawn directly to her outside, #3 Dizzy Up the Girl, who might be as quick as ‘Ice and could force her into an early speed duel. We’ll go to school in the first race to see how the main track is playing following a couple of days of heavy renovation. In the 3rd race, #3 Band of Thunder returns to his winning level in a downhill turf dash for $62,500. On paper, he looks like the winner, but this will be his third start in a month and his second in nine days and the veteran gelding, tough as he is, might be a tad vulnerable. The Todd Pletcher-trained #6 Talk of a Cat, lightly-raced and with steadily improving speed figures, is the one to fear most, especially if he can reproduce his main track form on turf. California-bred maiden fillies stretch out to a mile in the 4th race – every filly in the race will be trying two turns for the first time – and #1 Moonlight Tizzy has the style and pedigree to enjoy the added distance. She should enjoy a good second-flight trip saving ground while #2 Unusual Grace and #4 Imforeal make the running. A interesting possibility is #7 Ruffled Feathers, who closed a world of ground in her debut (actually finishing less than two lengths behind ‘Tizzy in that common race Nov. 29). By Include out of an Awesome Again mare and from a stable that excels with second time starters, Ruffled Feathers could be capable of rolling on by in the final furlong if she improves as expected. In the 5th race, #10 Kaffeinator is an eight-race maiden and might be a hard one to trust, but on speed figures he lays over his maiden claiming rivals under Gomez from a comfortable outside draw. His main competition might come from #3 Voodoo’s Run, who gets off the rail and seems to be steadily improving. The feature (7th) race is a competitive first level allowance dash and it will be interesting to see how far #2 Its in God’s Hands can carry his speed. The son of In Excess is extremely quick and earned two huge numbers when beating bottom rung maiden claimers and starter’s allowance foes at Hollywood Park in November. He would clearly seem to be the speed of the speed, but today’s extra half furlong makes him vulnerable. If he can avoid trouble from the rail, #1 Devoted Magic should be tough. First off the claim for Hollendorfer (25%), the lightly-raced gelding has a good stalking style that should give him every chance to produce the last run at this extended sprint distance. Meanwhile, logical favorite #10 Draft Choice figures to have clear sailing outside. We’ve always believed that this Sadler-trained colt was a bit difficult to trust, but he’ll have no excuses from where he’s drawn and should fold over into a lovely second flight spot. In the nightcap, #6 Moon Moment and #9 Play Nine both exit the same race and neither should be inconvenienced by the stretch out in distance. Moon Moment figures to be more mature now than she was when she finished third in a maiden claiming mile affair during the Oak Tree meeting and with another forward move today could be ready to graduate. Play Nine has finished in the money in all five starts and acts like she’ll run on, although her pedigree suggests she should prefer one turn.