Jeff Siegel's Prime Picks for Friday, Jan. 9

Nothing’s ever easy when you’re attacking a $423,985 Pick-6 carryover and today’s card, while lacking the depth that the weekend programs usually provide, represents a serious challenge to the horse player. Lots and lots of question marks in the maiden races help make this six race scheme difficult and I’m not sure there’s a dependable single to isolate. In the 3rd race, the Todd Pletcher-trained #4 Pride certainly exits the best races and deserves top billing, but this is her first on turf and I can’t really say she has a grass pedigree. #2 Fastongrass has winning turf form, but isn’t particularly fast on speed figures. I suppose you have to use them both. The 5th race is an abbreviated sprint for maiden state bred 3-year-olds and the word among the private clockers is that both #6 Vaundell and #8 Negreanu have trained like good colts and both should come out firing. The former, by In Excess, certainly is bred to win early and trainer Carla Gaines already has won with a couple of debut runners this meeting. The latter gets Gomez and an outside post and reportedly is better than the moderate final times of his a.m. drills would indicate. In the 6th race, #4 Sure Thing Eva is moving up the class ladder and has good current form in his corner, while #9 Tribal Deal takes a significant class drop for his comeback and his current condition is anybody’s guess (although the presence of Gomez in the saddle does provide some confidence). This is another race I would think you’d have to double. In the 7th race, #3 Soupy is sharp and dangerous on the front end and has won at this distance in the past. He’s really developed into a consistent, hard knocker since being claimed by John Sadler last summer. #6 Lockford won kind of a set up opening day but he’s a pro and must be respected right back. The Frankel shipper #9 Good Request earned a career top speed figure at Keeneland last time out in a marathon; he arrives fit and fresh and should be rolling late. We’ll use a pair in the 9th race, #3 Silent Western and #6 Girl Humor. Silent Western is the proven element and will take them as far as she can in this shortened dash, while Girl Humor, a daughter of Distorted Humor debuting at the bottom for Doug O’Neill, reportedly has trained well enough to fit nicely in this soft maiden claimer.