Santa Anita News
Jeff Siegel's Prime Picks for Thursday, Jan. 15
We have another Pick-6 carryover to attack today – there’s $103,255 already in the pool – but the task is challenging. There’s not one logical Pick-6 single in the sequence, let alone two. But if you’re playing, consider the following: The 3rd race is a puzzling maiden claiming dash that looks like a spread. #1 Lucious Antonius has worked impressively for his comeback for new trainer Jennie Green (had been a Peter Miller) and will race without blinkers in his first start for a tag. Hard to say if he’s nothing more than a cheap speed type but I suppose you have to use him. #4 Forster Hall is another comebacker and obviously has to be better than his only start last year in Florida, a race against straight maidens in which he had brief early speed before stopping to a walk. Trained by Mark Casse, the Deputy Minister gelding has worked like he’s ready and lands Casse’s main guy, Patrick Husbands. #6 James Prior is the morning line favorite at 2-1 and has steadily rising speed figures while returning to the maiden claiming ranks. He’s a route to sprint play and adds blinkers and should fold into a great stalking spot. A couple of decent working first timers (#2 Izemine, #3 Wizard Man) wouldn’t surprise in the least, making this race one of the most difficult on the program. Use as many as you can afford to use. The 4th race – a downhill turf sprint – is no picnic, either. We suggest you use #1 North Rodeo and #2 Filter but a strong case can be made for a few others as well. North Rodeo ran well over this course during the Oak Tree meeting, earning a career top 89 Beyer figure when third in the Cal Cup Distaff Handicap and a repeat of that effort today likely will be good enough for a win. Filter is a route to sprint play, lightly-raced, and capable of improving for trainer Doug O’Neill. She should be part of what might be a soft pace. #8 Unworldly Heat tries turf for the first time and she’s by Unusual Heat, so improvement is likely. And #9 Summertime has winning connections and competitive figures and should be dangerous from off the pace. This is another possible spread. The 5th race has just six starters but three can be considered major contenders. #1 Lucky Striker is improving with each start for top Bay Area trainer Bill Morey and with another forward move today could easily extend her winning streak to three. The rail is no bargain but she’s a “must use.” #4 Flew First Class retains Bejarano and is a solid fit on numbers. She’s not real quick so she’ll be doing her best running late. If you feel compelled to add another, morning line choice #3 Homemade Brew certainly is good enough, although this huge class drop ($62,500 to $25,000) causes a bit of a concern. Maybe she has a hole in her, or maybe Ted West is simply trying to steal a purse. An older filly and mare maiden dash in the 6th race looks like a logical spot for #9 Lavender, who lost all chance at the start when breaking poorly yet wound up a closing third in her debut across town in a turf sprint. She’s been :57 and change in the morning since and if she leaves with her field today she’ll be hard to deny. Right alongside her is #10 More Than Music, who also broke slowly in her debut at Hollywood Park before finishing with interest to be second and she, too, has every right to make a major forward move today. A nice price filly to throw in if you can afford to is #4 Keira’s Way, a Bay Area shipper who qualifies under the route to sprint angle and has speed figures that give her a long shot chance (she’s 10-1 on the morning line). Complicating matters is the presence of first time starter #6 Kicken Vixen, who blew out in :33 1/5 five days ago for trainer Julio Canani, who won with a first timer over the weekend. Rafael Bejarano has worked her in the morning and will ride today, so she looks like a live item. The 7th race is another grass grab bag down the hill. #9 Pretty Carina ran well enough in her local debut when third at Hollywood Park and she’s earned the kind of consistent speed figures that make her a strong contender and a possible Pick-6 single. However, the contention runs deep. #4 Heathersdaddysbaby loves to win (11 victories from 32 starts) and is thoroughly genuine and versatile. She’s shortening up after wiring a softer field going long on the lawn but can be equally effective sprinting. #7 We Will Rock You won sprinting on turf at Delaware last summer while earning a solid speed figure and she gets Gomez for her California debut. She broke her maiden at first asking so you know she can run well fresh. Yet another contender is #8 Crown of Diamonds, who fits very well on numbers and need only duplicate her main track form on turf to be extremely dangerous. If you get this far in your Pick-6 – and you must be a terrific handicapper if you have – the 8th race is a challenging maiden claimer without a logical top horse. #6 Hasty Trend switches to Gomez and is dropping from M100,000 to M32,000 after finishing a moderate 6th with some early trouble earlier this meeting. Second time starters from the Mullins barn usually improve and this colt likely will as well but we doubt he’s any world beater. The other big class dropper seems quite a bit more suspicious. #4 Coleville finished 5th (beaten more than 7 lengths) in his only start in a hot straight maiden dash last month at Hollywood Park and he’s a nicely-bred Elusive Quality colt who is basically being thrown away by trainer Art Sherman in just his second career outing. #7 Capt. Pike is a solid fit at this level, having finished second in his last pair, but is not terribly exciting based on speed figures. And #9 Cole’s Favorite is a second time starter adding blinkers, but the barn hasn’t had much success with this angle. Best advice – proceed with caution. We could very well be looking at a double carryover on Friday.