Jeff Siegel's Prime Picks for Thursday, Jan. 8

Nice Pick-6 carryover of $102,376 to shoot for today. Trainer Eoin Harty is hopeful that the classically-bred #1 Hi Flying Indy (A. P. Indy) will make a major forward move in today’s first race. Third in both of his starts including a somewhat one-paced effort in his California debut in late November at Hollywood Park, the $725,000 yearling purchase will add blinkers while retaining Rafael Bejarano. If he’s to be taken seriously as any kind of Derby prospect, Hi Flyin Indy better start showing it. In the same race, #5 Big Shot Syd was nearly six lengths clear of the rest when narrowly missing to Poker Dave in a maiden affair last month across town while displaying vast improvement over his lackluster sprinting debut. He’s the one Hi Flying Indy has to worry about the most. In the 2nd race, #2 With Reason takes another class drop while seeking his winning level. He returns to the main track and simply should be too quick for his $40,000 claiming rivals. The 3rd race kicks off the Pick-6 and we’re hoping to get past this race using just two horses, #2 Tuscan Princess and #4 Stormy Racer. Tuscan Princess has her ailments and might not be the same filly that won three straight during the spring and summer of last year, but just in case she has one more good one left in her coupled with the class drop she’s probably worth using. Stormy Racer looked quite good beating a lesser field in very fast time (while earning a career top 81 Beyer figure) and there’s little reason she won’t run just as well today. In fact, small ticket players likely will use her as a single. None of the first timers in the 4th race looked inspiring, so we’ll consider the known element such as #4 White Lace Jimmy, who makes his second start for a stable that excels with second-time starters; #7 Lahcotah, who continues to work better than he runs and might wake up while making that monumental class drop from straight maiden to maiden claiming; and #10 Reckless Capote who seems to be improving and could be a factor from off the pace at this extended sprint distance. #1 Box Office Queen is listed at 3-1 on Jeff Tufts’ morning line in the 5th race, but she might go lower. By Pulpit out of a mare by Dynaformer, the John Shirreffs-trained filly figures to enjoy the switch to grass and likely will benefit from a ground saving trip from her rail post. Trainer Bobby Frankel has a pair in the race – the first time starting #3 Panorama Ridge and the improving #8 Always Auditioning. They’re both worth using if you can afford to. Also warranting consideration is #7 G’s Heavenly Union, the likely pacesetter who has finished second in her last two starts with improving speed figures. The 6th race looks pretty wide open so we suggest you use as many as you can afford to. #1 Mud Sweat ‘n Tears was overmatched vs. allowance foes on turf last time out but is realistically spotted today and should get a good trip inside. #6 Catch Candy, first off the claim for Hollendorfer (superb with this maneuver), moves up a level following a solid win across town and is reunited with Pedroza. She would seem to be the filly to beat. Well regarded English shipper #2 Sugar Mint makes her U.S. debut in the 7th race and has trained like she’s ready to roll right now for Hollendorfer. He seems to have this filly well placed in a first level allowance event, even though she would appear on form to want more distance. #6 Linda Lou was a clever maiden winner sprinting at Hollywood Park in her turf debut and warrants a big look right back, although she’s probably going to face considerably more heat that she had to deal with in her early November victory. Handicappers are going to have deal with big class dropper #9 Good Newsman in the nightcap one way or another. After closing with courage to finish a very promising third behind subsequent stakes winner Jack O’Lantern in his debut, the Yonaguska colt was suspiciously dangled for a $62,500 tag in his next start as if trainer John Sadler was trying to lose him. Trainer Dan Hendricks obliged, but although the colt ran okay to finish fourth, the new connections couldn’t have been too thrilled with the purchase because Good Newsman shows up today for about half the price ($32.000). I guess you have to use him, but you don’t have to trust him. Spread this race if you can and be sure to use #4 Bubsy, who has solid form at the level for a low profile outfit and should enjoy the extra half furlong.