Jeff Siegel's Prime Picks for Saturday, Jan. 24

Great card for Sunshine Millions Day. Don’t forget – early first post today at 11:45 a.m. It looks like a two horse race in the opener. #3 Drake Lake should improve considerably off his debut for trainer John Sadler and could be a dangerous late threat. He’s trained sharply following a troubled debut and looks like a logical exacta partner with the likely favorite, #2 Deep Pockets, who should be setting or pressing a moderate pace from his cozy outside post. Deep Pockets exits a hot race and has come back to work nicely for Baffert, so he should be ready for another forward move. The 2nd is a competitive turf affair and the two favorites figures in the mix. #2 Like a Tiger returns from Northern California with a five race winning streak, rather impressive for a horse that used to have a reputation as something of a non-winner. The main concern, though, is that he might be most effective at a mile – he’s zero-for-seven lifetime at nine furlongs. Still, you have to respect him. #3 Soupy is another who has learned how to win since joining the Sadler barn but he’s always been most effective on the front end and could have some company today. You can use them both in your rolling exotics if you need the action but there may be better wagering opportunities down the road. The 3rd is a maiden claimer without much depth, and #6 Holladay Dixie drops to the bottom level seeking her diploma. She has much in her favor – winning connections and a distinct speed figure edge – and may be a favorite worth singling if you playing rolling exotics. The 4th race is an untrustworthy sprint and while both #4 Rogue Scholar and #4 Make Mine Vodka would seem the logical contenders, I’m not sure I can bank on either one. Then again, I’m not really into trusting bottom rung claimers. Use them in your rolling exotics, if you like. #4 Wall Street Wonder seems like the best of the known element in the 5th race, and the Bob Baffert-trained colt figures to move forward following a decent debut earlier this month. Among the first timers, #6 Bridging has worked the best and should be competitive, although trainer Mike Puype’s record with debut runners isn’t particularly noteworthy. The first of four Sunshine Million races is the Turf, which goes as the 6th race. #8 Soldier’s Dancer should be able to produce the last run, but in a large field this devoted stretch runner will need some luck. Also worth using is the tough-as-nails #10 Lucky J. H., who returned off a long layoff to win the Impressive Luck H. down the hill last month. Nine furlongs might be stretching his limit – especially after just one comeback race – but he has too much class and winning spirit to dismiss. The three main contenders in the 7th race, the Sunshine Millions Oaks – are #3 Ten Churros, #4 Leigh McLovin, and #7 Emmy Darling. Ten Churros is the quickest of the quick and looks dangerous while shortening up to six furlongs. Leigh McLovin is the best on numbers and will be tough if she can duplicate her Fair Grounds (dirt) form over the Pro-Ride surface. And if the pace comes up as hot as expected, late-running Emmy Darling could mow them all day. Based on the way the race shapes up, the late-running Sadler filly might deserve top billing. The Sunshine Millions Sprint is tough to handicap without knowing whether #3 Machismo and/or #8 Devoted Magic will be in the race. Both are entered back on Sunday in the Palos Verdes Handicap, and as of this writing it isn’t known which race either one will run in. Certainly #9 In Summation, who loves the local synthetic surface, and the Florida shipper #11 Yesbyjimminy have to be used and of the two I might be tempted to give ‘Jiminy the edge. He’s won 11 of 21 lifetime and six in a row. The Florida-bred runners should make a mockery out of the competition and one who figures to do her part to run up the score is #3 Leah’s Secret in the 9th race, the Sunshine Millions Distaff. The Todd Pletcher-trained mare has taken two graded stakes races in a row in New York and has won over synthetic surfaces in the past. She’s drawn nicely inside and has a good stalking style that should keep her out of trouble. The very promising #3 Temple City stretches out in the 10th race following an impressive debut win going short last month. The Carla Gaines-trained Dynaformer colt was very green in his victory but there’s no doubt the talent is there and he should improve with distance and experience. He’d better, because #6 Throne of Power tipped his hand in his U.S. debut with a sharp runner up effort earlier this month in a similar first level allowance race and has come back to train splendidly for Patrick Biancone. Box ‘em in the exacta and use them both in your rolling exotics. #2 Onebadkitty gets a chance to show her stuff around two turns for the first time in the 11th race and we think she’ll make the most of the opportunity. Listed at an attractive 6-1 on the morning line, the Brian Koriner-trained filly gets Patrick Husbands and a good inside draw and in a race without much speed, should be close up and free of trouble throughout. Our ShowVivor selection today is: #7 Emmy Darling (7th race). Good Luck!