Jeff Siegel's Prime Picks for Thursday, Feb. 19

Today’s 1st race offers little value and qualifies as a “pass.” #3 Third Dawn has failed twice as the choice and could finally break through with a winning effort, but she’ll be a short price on the tote board. #5 Saint Cindy has improving speed figures and actually finished ahead of ‘Dawn in their common race Jan. 23 but she’s also a seven race maiden. The 2nd race is a modest restricted claimer ($12,500) for fillies and mares and we’ll use the two class droppers, #6 Kylie’s Way and #7 Good Shot Mally without a whole lot of confidence. The former is most effective as a late-running sprinter and that running style usually is promoted by the Pro-Ride surface. She should be doing her best running late with Espinoza riding her back. ‘Mally exits the same race as ‘Way and ran well when last tried at this level earlier this meeting. Clearly, there’s not much depth to this field. A maiden claiming affair for 3-year-olds kicks off the Pick-6 in the 3rd race, with #1 Mr. Holmes and #4 Mamoonya both having a right to improve at this level. Mr. Holmes finished “absolutely” when favored against a tougher maiden claiming gang on New Year’s Day and we assume something went wrong. He’s fresh, retains Baze, and figures tough with a repeat of either one of his first two career starts. Mamoonya has steadily improving speed figures, exits a strong heat, and retains Talamo. With another even slight forward move, he’ll be right there. I’m assuming the 4th race will remain on turf. On either surface, #2 Unusual Smoke and #4 Troubletimesthree figure very tough. Both exit the same race, an off-the turf highly-rated starter’s allowance event last month in which ‘Smoke improved considerably in his first start following an Avila claim to finish second. Troubletimesthree closed willingly to be third after encountering traffic trouble on the turn and into the lane while continuing his improving pattern for Powell. With good trips these two should battle it out again. The 5th race has three main contenders. #4 Tribal Deal obviously has big problems but sharp Ted West is almost unbeatable first off the claim (57%, substantial flat bet profit) and this colt has the ideal style for an extended sprint. He was a beaten favorite in his comeback last month but he’s worked well since. #5 Razor Cut drops to the bottom but he, too, is in clever hands and makes a major rider switch to Tyler Baze. Look for massive improvement. #8 Major Mike was overmatched in a tough $20,000 claimer in his last start but is realistically spotted today and is back with Bejarano, who won on him two races back. The 6th race is downhill turf event for older maiden fillies and mares and we’ll attack it as if it will remain on the lawn. #3 Midnight Crush was a willing second against the talented Tuscan Evening in her debut last month and there’s no such filly (at least that we’re aware of) in this affair. With any kind of improvement, she’ll be tough to beat. #5 Kicken Vixen, a decent fourth in her debut, switches to the turf and most maidens in this barn improve considerably with a race their belt. #7 Lavender Touch has been a beaten choice in both of her lifetime starts but her numbers are strong and she figures in the thick of things once again. The feature race today is a first level allowance affair over a route of ground on the main track. #2 Nina’s Pad got hot and dirty in Florida when overmatched in the Sunshine Millions Classic but he’s back to reality today and a repeat of his race before last – a nice first level state bred win – will make him a solid factor from off the pace. Clearly the proven class of the field is the comebacking #5 Elysium Fields, second in the Fountain of Youth Stakes last year before finishing far back when second choice to Big Brown in the Florida Derby. He’s shown the ability to run well fresh and the works for Drysdale indicate fitness. Even if he’s a race a way he still might be good enough to win. The nightcap, another maiden claimer, brings #1 White Lace Jimmy back to his claim level and on speed figures he’s strictly the one to beat, although the rail post does him no favors. #5 Marquet Rebel closed a considerable amount of ground to be third in his debut and today gets an extra furlong to work with while retaining Talamo. I wouldn’t think you’d have to go any deeper than these two.