Jeff Siegel's Prime Picks for Sunday, Feb. 22

Today’s early Daily Double doesn’t look all that enticing. In the 1st race, #2 You Is What You Is probably will be a short price but he hasn’t won since last June and seemed a little sluggish in his last race. He certainly could win, but there’s no value here. The 2nd race sees #5 Lady Lumberjack returning to the maiden ranks and shortening up to a sprint after finishing a respectable fourth in the Santa Ysabel Stakes. Any one of her three lifetime starts probably would be good enough to beat this field, but she’s also likely to be even money or less. Pass. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer may have made a timely claim when he took #3 Joe Carl for $40,000 out of a maiden affair last month. The son of Jump Start won in decent style and strikes us as a colt who’ll improve with experience and maturity. He should be a solid fit in this starter’s allowance affair, but the one to beat is #6 Tap Tap I Win, who has run well at the level and was more than three clear of the others when second in a similar spot last month. Gomez rides him back and should have him along in time. The 4th race is a better than par maiden sprint for older horses and #1 Wharf Cat seems well spotted for a win. Second in a fast, highly-rated dash won by Trumpet Player Jay (who came back to run very well on the raise), Wharf Cat figures to establish the pace and should take some catching despite the rail and extra half furlong he’s being asked to negotiate. #7 Ribald is a dangerous comebacker. He earned good numbers last year and has trained like he’s fit and ready for Sherman. Rios will have him rolling in the final furlong. We’ll double the 5th race, a bottom rung claimer at seven furlongs, using #3 Rogue Scholar and #9 Common Trust. Rogue Scholar, first off the claim for Carava, retains Rosario and the old gelding will be tough to catch if he can shake loose early without pressure. Common Trust is clearly the most dangerous of the closing types and should fire a big shot fresh in his first start since December and his first since returning from New Mexico. You may be tempted to add #12 Cointreau, who returns at the bottom for Sadler after being away since April. Of course he’s good enough to win, but I’m never keen on layoff runners who return very cheap and we’ll assume this 9-year-old has seen better days. The 6th race has three major players - #4 Oil Man; #7 Kelly Leak; and #9 J P Jammer. Oil Man returns to turf after failing to make much impact in the Lewis Stakes but he ran well enough in the previous Logan Stakes to make him a solid fit with these. Kelly Leak exits a killer race in Florida and while he’s probably better sprinting, the Machowsky-trained colt showed he could act around two turns and figures to be a strong late threat. J P Jammer ran very well over the course when second in a legit heat and if he moves forward at all he could be tough to beat. We don’t like inside posts sprinting on this track but we do like both #1 Yodelady O and #2 Chalula One in the 7th race, a first level allowance sprint for state bred 3-year-old fillies, and that’s our dilemma. Both exit very strong races and have trained well since and both have top connections. Let’s hope they can avoid trouble and reproduce their best form. As this is penned, we’re not totally sure who’ll actually be running in the 8th race, the San Luis Obispo ‘Cap, but we’ve heard that #1 Champs Elysees, #4 Artiste Royal and maybe even #10 Marsh Side might come out for various reasons (the late scratches usually appear on this web site around 10 a.m.). #7 Zambezi Sun has been working like he’s fit and ready for his U.S. debut and while he wasn't up to winning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in his most recent outing in October in France, his best form is more than good enough to beat this field. The 9th race represents a good exacta or trifecta play with #3 Kentucky Nectar; #4 Lanie’s Way; and #10 Slews Copy. Kentucky Nectar was a bit erratic early, failed to change leads in the stretch, but still showed some promise when a close third in her racing debut last month. She retains Gomez and with any kind of forward move today she’ll be very dangerous. #4 Lanie’s Way is a comebacker in the Kitchingman stable and has a solid work tab to indicate fitness. She earned a number in her only outing at Del Mar that makes her a very solid fit at this level and could very well be better than her only outing indicates. Slews Copy is a first timer working better that the final times would indicate and Ellis is clever with his debut runners. She’s a “must use” at 12-1 on the morning line.