Jeff Siegel's Analysis for Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010

Saturday’s Pick-6 Carryover - $69,998 – looks well worth attacking on a deep and competitive 9-race card that features three graded stakes races.

The first race is a maiden special weight sprint for 3-year-olds and appears to be well below par in terms of strength. Over a track that continues to play very kindly to the rally-widers, #6 Royce may have an edge, having finished a fair third in his debut with a mild late bid and having a right to improve considerably with a race under his belt. However, his number wasn’t much and he really doesn’t train like anything special, so it won’t take a world beater among the others to beat him. We’ll pass.

The second race, a downhill turf sprint for older maiden fillies and mares, could develop into a battle between #2 Susan’s Wildcat and #3 Aprisa Luna, and we’ll use both in our rolling exotics. Susan’s Wildcat is an 11-race maiden and may be a hard one to trust, but she has run okay over the course in the past and her numbers make her a fit. Much more attractive is Aprisa Luna, beaten a neck in her only start and clearly owning more upside. The daughter of Malibu Moon has the style for this trip and if she can transfer her Hollywood Park Cushion Track form to grass, the Ellis-trained filly should be along in time. Clearly, she’s the one we prefer.

Trainer Bob Baffert finds out if his highly promising Derby-aged colt #3 Conveyance can handle two turns, as the unbeaten son of Indian Charlie stretches out in the third race, the San Rafael Stakes for 3-year-olds. A winner of both of his sprints in very impressive style, the speedster should have no trouble making the pace, but over a track that can swallow up speed, especially over a distance of ground, there’s no way he’ll be any value at 3/5 or less. Single him in your rolling exotics if you’d like; otherwise save your wagering dollars for the Pick-6.

Low level claimers kick off the Pick-6 and it’s a tough affair, most likely requiring a spread. Small ticket players might try to survive using two horses, #4 Changing and #5 Heroi Do Bafra, but if you can afford to go deeper go right ahead. Changing, first or second in three of four starts over the Pro Ride, earned a solid figure when a good runner up against slightly tougher last month and if he can turn in two alike he’ll be right there. Heroi Do Bafra, once much better than these, seems to be training well enough for his comeback but returns cheap, so he obviously has serious issues. The good news is that Mitchell is superb with layoff runners, so if this veteran gelding has at least one good one left in him, that good one likely will be today.

The Santa Ynez Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs drew only six entrants but this is a very challenging race from a handicapping standpoint. #5 She’s Funomenal is unbeaten in two starts and overcame a less-than-ideal trip to win an overnight stakes at Hollywood Park last month, this after graduating by daylight in her debut in November. She’s trained well since and seems like the one to beat once again. Both #2 Franny Freud and #4 Amen Hallelujah are proven stakes quality performers and both have numbers that would be good enough to win. And don’t underestimate the recent maiden winner #6 Switch, who was very green in victory when scoring at first asking and has come back to train in sensational style for Sadler. She should improve considerably with experience and figures to have every chance from her comfortable outside post. For small ticket players, we’d recommend using only She’s Funomenal and Switch, but it won’t be easy.

Speaking of spreads, the sixth race is a typical grass grab bag, but hopefully we can get past it using only two. #3 Cavanal is winless over the course in five starts, but has hit the board in four of those outings and drops to his lowest level ever while trying to regain his winning form. He continues to train well for Drysdale and is back with Rosario, who has won with him in the past. He looks pretty solid, as does the Bay Area shipper #8 Skellytown, another with good form over the Arcadia lawn and arriving following a series of solid efforts up north. At 8-1 on the morning line he looks like good value and with a clean trip he should be a strong factor throughout.

The San Fernando Stakes, the second jewel in the Strub Series for 4-year-olds, goes as the seventh race and we’ll use a couple of colts exiting the strong Malibu Stakes, #4 Papa Clem and #6 Mythical Power. Both have similar patterns; both were making a comeback in that seven furlong dash and both seem very likely to be fitter and sharper off that effort while stretching out to a much more favorable distance. Papa Clem has a history of rounding into shape with racing and actually ran better than anticipated when third in the Malibu behind M One Rifle. He’ll go much better two-turning and seems like the one to beat. Mythical Power has come back to train in sensational style for Baffert and last year’s Lone Star Derby winner clearly looks like the one to fear most.

The eighth race is another downhill turf sprint, this is one for first level allowance fillies and mares. The Brazilian-bred #7 Surfer Girl missed by a head in a promising U.S. debut last March and then disappeared, but her works indicate fitness and she’s shown the ability to fire fresh. We’ll also use #9 Bella Roja, a decent third with trouble in her recent comeback across town and very likely to make a major forward move today while switching to hot riding Espinoza. She’s a late-running sprinter who should have enough pace in this affair to aid her closing kick.

As usual, the ninth race is for maiden claimers and the contention appears to be drawn outside. We’ll go three-deep, using #10 Midnight Rage, #12 Sombre, and #13 We Are One and hope for the best. Midnight Rage is a first timer by the win-early sire In Excess, and she’s worked well enough to warrant a look in a moderate spot, so we’ll use her at 8-1 on the morning line. Bug boy Reyes has been out to work her in the morning, so he knows her. Sombre will race with blinkers off for the first time, and that’s always a clever angle. She’ll be part of the pace throughout and in a soft field might hang around for a long time, even with the anti-speed nature of the track. We Are One has improving form for Sadler, gets the good outside post (yes, even at this distance we’d prefer an outside draw) and after being nosed out going seven furlongs two weeks ago appears all set to graduate. At 9/2 on the morning line, she’s our top pick.