Jeff Siegel's Prime Picks for Wednesday, April 15 at Santa Anita

The final week of the 2008-2009 season begins with a decent wagering card and we’ll kick things off using #3 Homemade Brew as a rolling exotic single in the 1st race. The Ted West-trained filly has her physical issues but always tries hard and catches a field her best can handle. Russell won on her two races back and in a field without too much early zip the daughter of Milwaukee Brew should be within easy striking range throughout.

We’ll double the 2nd race, using #2 Slews Copy and #6 Flash Dance. Trainer Mike Mitchell apparently wants the training title badly and has been emptying the stable the past week or two. Here he wheels back Slews Copy off short rest – this actually is her third start in 19 days – and if the Souvenir Copy filly repeats her last effort she’ll be right there. Flash Dance shortens up to six furlongs following a second place effort as the choice in a similar spot last month. She’s solid on speed figures and is the one to fear most.

The 3rd race is starter’s allowance affair on the turf and while the contention runs top to bottom, we’ll try to escape using just #3 Laser Point and #7 Troubletimesthree. Laser Point looked good graduating recently and Mullins is protecting him, a good sign. The lightly-raced gelding is catching more early pace today and may not get the easy, front-running trip he enjoyed last time, but we’ll use him nonetheless. Troubletimesthree returns to the grass, retains Talamo, and seems the best of the closers. With clear sailing today he could be hard to deny.

The logical contenders in the 4th race - #1 Asian Eyes, #3 All Set; and #7 Rare Nugget – are tough to separate and we’ll use all three in our rolling exotics and in an exacta/trifecta box. Asian Eyes is most effective as a late-running sprinter and despite the rail looks dangerous with Bejarano staying aboard. All Set takes a sharp drop in class in her second off the layoff following a good try for $20,000 and clearly the barn would like to unload her, but Flores stays aboard and on numbers she’s strictly the one to beat. Rare Nugget beat a softer field with a good late kick last time out and she’s certainly genuine and consistent. Rosario will have her bearing down late.

We’ll use the inside two runners in the 5th race, a first level allowance affair on turf. #1 On Fire probably is better than his local debut showed when fifth after a slow start and we’ll give him another chance while shortening up for Abrams. The Pulpit gelding is a solid fit based on his Florida numbers and a smart recent work should have him on edge. #2 Smooth and Savvy stretches out again after a pair of strong downhill turf efforts and the Miller-trained gelding figures tough despite his 2-for-24 lifetime record. He’s winless at a mile but has finished in the money in five of six at this distance.

The 6th race is an open affair and you might want to spread in your rolling exotics. On our conservative ticket we’ll use only #7 Funny Me and #8 Fantasy Free, two middle-priced runners with recent form that makes them dangerous. Funny Me moves up a notch following a game win in a softer restricted $25,000 claimer but his number indicates he should act with these on the raise with Bejarano staying aboard. Fantasy Free returns to the main track, takes a class drop (but remains above his claim level) and clearly has to be used at 6-1 on the morning line.

The 7th race is a strong conditioned allowance turf affair for fillies and mares and marks the return of #2 Missit, who won the Providencia Stakes over this course in her U.S. debut last year. She ran against the best 3-year-old fillies in the West last summer and returns in a considerably softer spot for a trainer that does well with layoff runners. We’ll also use #3 General Consensus, a lightly-raced and improving Giant’s Causeway filly who earned a career-top Beyer figure (88) when a solid runner up in a fast miler last month. She should be better suited by this nine furlong trip and in a race without much pace should enjoy a soft stalking trip.

The 8th race is a high priced maiden claimer for fillies and seems like a good spot for #4 Black Magic Mama to finally earn her diploma in her ninth career outing. This will be her first in a claimer (you know how well that angle works) and she’s back sprinting where she’s probably most comfortable. Add Bejarano to the mix and the O’Neill-trained filly should be ready for her best. #7 Sindyfromsantacruz flashed speed in a tougher spot in her debut and figures to stick a whole lot longer today with the drop into the M50,000 level. And we’ll also toss in the Mullins-trained #2 Wada Falls, who exits a live heat, drops into a claimer following a better-than-looked debut and gets blinkers and Talamo.