Jeff Siegel's Analysis for Thursday, Jan. 7, 2009

Yesterday’s program illustrated how a track bias can influence the outcome of a race. The track was noticeably favoring the outside lanes and the closers, so when analyzing form from yesterday you should remember to forgive the fading front-runners and downgrade the rally-widers. How will the track play today? Who knows? This is why you should to go to school during the first couple of races to see if the bias remains intact.

There doesn’t seem to be much value in the first two events. In the opener #4 Chicago Gal is listed as the 4/5 choice following a promising runner-up try vs. colts in her debut last month. She’s matched with fillies and mares today and with any kind of improvement she’ll be hard to beat. But there’s no percentage playing or keying an odds-on morning line choice. Let's sit it out.

In the second race, #1 Peacock Alliance returns to the maiden claiming ranks and a repeat of his race before last most likely will land him in the winner’s circle. However, the rail post causes much concern and until we’ve developed a feel on how the track is playing, this type of selection (8/5 on the morning line) looks pretty shaky. We’ll pass this race as well.

The Pick-6 begins in the third race and we’ll double the affair using #4 Sleep Tight and #6 Mother Ruth. The former has consistent speed figures that are good enough to win at this level and she adores the Pro-Ride surface. The latter has been training like she’s fit and ready for Baffert and has the strong benefit of the cozy outside post.

State bred maidens sprint down the hill in the fourth race and this looks like a spread, as none are what you’d call trustworthy. #1 Hot Damon is wheeled back in five days by Gary Stute after disappointing in a mile affair. He ran okay down the hill at Oak Tree and could be a factor despite the short rest. #4 Dohnster is reunited with Rosario and has a race down the hill vs. straight (open) maidens that could win. He’s a route to sprint play and is back with Calbreds today. #8 Top Feeling has been away almost a year but has trained fairly well and gets Bejarano. These are the three we’d recommend using but if you can afford to go deeper please do so.

The fifth race is for bottom rung maiden claimers and we’ll try to survive using only #1 Steel Blade and #5 T. W.’s Tank. Steel Blade drops into a claimer for the first time (we always like that angle) and we’ll use him despite the fact he’ll have to leave from the dreaded rail. T. W.’s Tank makes a major trainer switch to Periban, removes blinkers, and seems sure to improve a ton under these circumstances.

Another downhill turf raffle occupies the sixth race. This is another heat you may want to spread, but we’re going to use only #1 Surfer Dave and #2 Boo Too. Surfer Dave, a route to sprint shipper from Golden Gate Fields, looks intriguing for high percentage trainer Steve Miyadi and figures to do his best running from off the pace. Boo Too adds blinkers and has a strong look off his game all weather victory at Hollywood Park two runs back.

Today’s feature is for fillies and mares in the entry level allowance ranks and could be won by either #3 Barbara’s Love or #9 Underground, and we’ll use them both in all of our exotics. Barbara’s Love, freshened and dangerous, likes to win races and should find herself in a good stalking spot behind the leaders. She’s reunited with Talamo, who has won with her in the past. Underground, from her lovely outside post, has trained sharply for Baffert for her local debut and her eastern speed figures make her strictly the one to beat.

The finale is a low level restricted claimer for fillies and mares, and the class dropping #8 Saint Cindy seems to have found an ideal spot to return to winning form. Exiting a series of very competitive starter’s allowance races, the Gary Mandella-trained miss should be doing her best running from off the pace, compliments, perhaps, of a rally wide bias. #10 I Swear must leave from the 10-hole but she’s a first-off-the-claim for Kruljac (an excellent angle) and is another who should benefit from a track that may very well promote those with a deep closing style.