Jeff Siegel's Analysis for Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010

Another day with small fields and cheap races – they save the good stuff for the weekends – so let’s try to string together a few rolling pick-3s and make it all worthwhile.

The opener attracted only five entrants and the two main contenders are #1 Run Over You and #4 Brave Justice, but neither are terribly attractive from a value standpoint. Run Over You has finished in the money in his last two starts, most recently against older, and today’s restriction to 4-year-olds only makes this affair that much easier. He’s not real quick and the rail does him no favors but in a small field there shouldn’t be any traffic concerns. But he’s 6/5 on the morning line, so who really cares? Brave Justice doesn’t quite have the speed figures that Run Over You has earned, but he exits better races, makes a major jockey switch to Talamo and has won over the Pro Ride in the past. You can get around 5/2 on him if you’d like.

The second race – another five horse affair – has two main contenders, #2 Cozi Rosie and #4 Smoothe as Candy, but again you’re looking at the first two morning line favorites at 8/5 and 9/5 respectively. Cozi Rosie has router written all over her and after a couple of sprint preps should be set to stretch out and graduate for Sadler, who excels with this maneuver. Smoothe as Candy was beaten a head in a similar two-turn maiden race on New Year’s Day and obviously figures in the thick of it once again. Gomez rides her back for Hollendorfer, but with already four starts behind her she might not have as much upside as Cozi Rosie. If you’d prefer a bit of a price – say 5-1 on the morning line, - you might take a closer look at #5 Sweet Hanni. She exits a maiden claimer – a solid third place effort in an extended sprint that already has produced a next-out winner – and this raise to straight maiden company can be viewed as a sign of confidence by her connections. She’s bred to sprint on both sides of her pedigree, so she’s no cinch to improve going long, but she’s a fit on numbers and could very well improve considerably in just her second lifetime outing.

The third race begins the Pick-6 and #2 Indy Ride, with a solid third place effort in an extended sprint vs. tougher earlier this season, should be a relatively short price to regain his winning form. Pedroza stays aboard for Spawr, and despite the total lack of pace in the field he should be able to produce the last run. #3 Just Heat chased tougher up north, vans down to take advantage of this non-winners of two condition and has run well over this track in the past. Talamo should have him within striking range throughout, so if Indy Ride doesn’t fire for whatever reason, this Sherman-trained gelding might provide some saver insurance for Pick-6 players.

Poor maiden claiming 3-year-old fillies contest the fourth race at the abbreviated sprint distance of five and one-half furlongs and a little will go a very long way. The best of the “known” element is #8 This Time Baby, who earned an okay number when finishing fourth after pressing the pace in a similar but stronger affair New Year’s eve. It was her first start since April so she has a right to be fitter and tougher today and she goes from the rail to the outside. #3 Hyper Lass may be the quickest filly in the field but she’s never shown any willingness to finish, and her numbers are heading south quickly. Among the newcomers, #5 Champion Ride has worked reasonably well, and this daughter of Candy Ride certainly won’t have to be anything special to win at first asking. In a weak heat like this, it might prove wise to back the fresh face since the others have well below par numbers for the level.

There’s a smidgen of depth to the fifth race, a strong two-other-than allowance race on the lawn for fillies and mares that appears fairly contentious at first glance despite having only six entrants. #3 Hameildaeme is back from the Midwest and now in Kathy Walsh’s stable, and her only prior start over the Santa Anita turf course resulted in a nice downhill score last year. Freshened since October and training like she’s fit and ready, the English-bred filly gets Gomez and twice before has shown the ability to win off layoffs. The main concern is that she’s a deep closer in a field without any pace, and with the rails set out at 30 feet she’ll be taking the worst of it. She’s a “must use” in the exotics, but you may want to double the race using #2 Dreamalong, a Julio-trained filly who was beaten a length in a recent overnight stakes that earned her a career top (87) Beyer figure. From where she’s drawn, Dreamalong could fold into an ideal pace prompting trip behind Michael’s Rose and then have every chance to take control and kick clear when it counts.

We get another dose of maiden claimers in the sixth race, an extended sprint for 3-year-olds. Kathy Walsh could be looking for her second win on the afternoon with #3 Phoenician Star, an okay runner-up in her racing debut and likely to improve with experience and with Rosario staying aboard. #2 Luna’s Lovely might be dangerous as a route-to-sprint play and is worth using in your exotics as well. It’s difficult to make a case for any of the others.

The seventh race is a fairly decent allowance event on turf with only six starters, two of whom look capable of winning. #2 Monzante hasn’t quite been the same since returning from more than a year on the shelf but he’s been facing Grade-1 company since the fall and today finds much easier competition. The ex-class gelding switches to Gomez – who has won with him in the past – and today gets to show that he can still walk the beat. If not, #3 Red Alert Day seems logical. The Drysdale-trained gelding scored gamely in a slightly softer spot while earning a career top Beyer figure (94) and if he can turn in two alike, he’ll be dangerous right back on the one-level raise.

#1 Orientation Hall was a very unlucky loser in a similar bottom rung claimer at Hollywood Park last month – he was blocked at a critical stage in the stretch – and although that race was an extended sprint, he shouldn’t have difficulty handling this nine furlong distance against this level of competition. He removes blinkers, switches to Rosario, lands the rail and should be prominent throughout in a race completely devoid of speed. His main threat should come from the class dropping #8 Souvenir Slew, but for our purposes Orientation Hall will be a rolling exotic single.