Horse Racing Tips from a Top Race Handicapper

Horse owner, breeder and HRTV analyst Jeff Siegel also happens to be Southern California's premier handicapper. Check his blog each day before you play!

Handicapping, in short, refers to analyzing the race to come up with best predicted outcome, or pick. There are many angles when it comes to picking a winner. Using some of the help from the professional handicappers below, you can determine your own angle on placing a bet. For more information on how to bet or wager, click here.

Saturday, March 19, 2011 - 10:01
Logical Single appears to offer real value at her 15-1 morning line odds. She's a Bay Area shipper with competitive speed figures over the Golden Gate Tapeta surface and her only grass race up north was good. She has a nice stalking style for this downhill layout and has been first or second in nine of 10 career starts. Saaneen is a vastly improved ex-claimer who genuinely loves the local lawn. She seeks her third straight score and figures to benefit from an ideal second flight trip once again. La Nez might be considered the class of the field and should enjoy this turn back in trip. A stakes winner sprinting on turf at Hollywood Park last fall, the Kruljac-trained filly catches a favorable pace scenario from her good outside post, continues to look sharp in the morning, and might be the one to beat at 9/2 on the morning line. We'll make her out top selection but we'll use all three in an exacta or trifecta box and all three in our rolling exotics.

Maclean's Music is another highly touted smoker from the Steve Asmussen barn and appears set to graduate at first asking. The son of Distorted Humor has done everything right in the morning and looks the part of a potential stakes type. The barn's had a good meeting so far, and this colt trains like he might be the best of the lot. We'd like to get close to his 5/2 morning line odds, but we're not holding our breath.

Friday, March 18, 2011 - 11:08
SEVENTH RACE - #2 TEN DEVILS x #4 DRINK AT BUSTER'S x #8 AKKADIAN Ten Devils returns to turf after failing to act on the main track in the Lewis Stakes, and if repeats the quality of his sharp runner up try in a similar first level allowance race two runs back the Mandella-trained colt should at least hit the board today. Talamo knows him well and should have the son of Rock Hard Ten rolling late. Drink At Buster's stretches out and tries turf for the first time and if his improvement continues the Jones-trained colt could prove an elusive target. He's a solid fit on speed figures and with Kris S. on the bottom side of the pedigree he should be able to handle the lawn. The one to beat, tough, is the Canani-trained Akkadian, who was visually very impressive breaking his maiden recently and has come back to train in sharp style since that race. He's backing up a furlong in trip today and will have to improve a bit in the speed figure department but we think he'll be up to the task. Let's plut Akkadian on top but use all three in our rolling exotics and all three in an exacta or trifecta box as well. EIGHTH RACE - #6 ANSWER TO ABBY x #8 ISTHMUS x #10 TRASTEVERE This is a fairly competitive maiden claiming race and we'll go three deep in our rolling exotics and use these three in exacta or trifecta boxes. Answer to Abby has an improving pattern and the right style for this extended sprint trip. The barn doesn't win many but the addition of blinkers should help and Talamo stays aboard. Isthmus is another adding the hood for the first time while returning from Golden Gate Fields and seems certain to improve in his first start for a tag. The presence of Bejarano is another plus. Trastevere is an intriguing first time starter with good enough works to be effective in this league. He's drawn well outside and should have every chance to make a late run.
Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 11:14
This is a modest maiden claiming sprint for California-breds and we'll use the best of the known element and the best of the new faces. Magic Spirit is improving with racing for good trainer Kathy Walsh, makes a favorable rider switch to Marty Garcia and should be doing his best work in the final furlong. Stranger danger comes in the form of Caffeine High, a debut runner from the Bruce Headley barn. He's trained fast (they all do from this stable) but has received favorable reviews from the private clockers and really won't have to be a world beater to beat this crew. As a four-year-old maiden with a history of problems, the son of Purge looks realistically spotted for a top effort first crack out of the box. Let's use them both in an exacta box and both in all of our rolling exotics.

Chocolate Caliente has trained like she's fit and ready for a stable that wins with a very high percentage of debut runners and this daughter of Marino Marini catches a rather modest group of maiden claiming 3-year-old fillies for her initial outing. With Rosario taking the mount she looks like the right one at anything close to her 7/2 morning line odds. Black Wildcat is another first timer - she's from the Canani stable - and this homebred daughter of Forest Wildcat has flashed enough speed in her a.m. drills to indicate she can be dangerous as well. Both should be used in your rolling exotics and an exacta box as well.

Sunday, March 13, 2011 - 10:53
With a sharp work around dogs over this turf course, Burns should be primed for a much improved effort in his first start over a surface that he’s bred to love. The Abrams-trained son of Unusual Heat looked pretty good breaking his maiden two runs back at this trip and moved forward again last time when a solid third in a hot main track sprint. Blanc knows him well and should have this state bred gelding well removed from what should be a solid pace and then have him produce a winning late kick in the final furlong. There’s value here at anything close to his 7/2 morning line and we’ll use him as a rolling exotic single as well.

All three of the major players in the China Doll Stakes did their early running in Europe and all are capable of winning this mile turf event for 3-year-old fillies. Cambrina uncorked a wicked late kick to win the La Habra Stakes down the hill last month and the added distance won’t be a bother at all. The stretch-running daughter of Hawk Wing deserves favoritism, but she’d better bring her “A” game because the contention runs deep. Singapore Lilly was a considerably better filly than Cambrina was overseas and if she’s cranked up for a top effort in her U.S. debut, the Cassidy-trained miss will be hard to handle. She’s been working like she’s fit and ready and gets Lasix. Up In Time broke her maiden in a 20 horse filed by seven widening lengths in September at Newmarket and wasn’t embarrassed when seventh of 10 in a subsequent Group Stakes races over that same course the following month. She seems capable of firing a big shot in her U.S. bow for Callaghan and the presence of Rosario in the saddle is another plus. She’s a “must use” at 5-1 on the morning line. Let’s use all three in an exacta or trifecta box and all three in our rolling exotics.

Friday, March 11, 2011 - 23:23
The first timers in this maiden downhill turf dash don't look particularly impressive, so let's go with the improving Photo Shopped as a straight play and rolling exotic single. The Julio Canani-trained colt gets off the rail, exits a very good race for the level and should be comfortably placed pressing or forcing what likely will be moderate pace. He's come back to work well since his last outing, retains Pedroza, and seems set for another forward move. The son of Mr. Greeley offers nice value at anywhere near his 7/2 morning line odds.
This outstanding edition of the San Felipe Stakes has a number of high potential 3-year-olds in the lineup and marks the sophomore debut of Jaycito, who has trained like a house afire for new conditioner Bob Baffert. Winner of the Norfolk Stakes last year, the son of Victory Gallop probably will be most effective when held up and allowed to blast home, and given that type of ride today from Garcia he should be able to produce a winning late kick. We'll make him a rolling exotic single and straight play and hope to get pretty close to his 7/2 morning line odds.

Friday, March 11, 2011 - 11:53
California-bred maiden fillies mares are featured in the fifth race and there appears to be three maiden contenders. Shezabigbroad has trained well enough according to the private clockers to be very live at first asking, though trainer Mike Puype's record with debut runners leaves a little bit to be desired. Still, in a modest race, the daughter of Mr. Broad Brush should be fairly competitive and is worth using at 7/2 on the morning line. Finish Rich in Nyc, freshened since early January, will be hard to handle if she repeats her last race, a second place effort (beaten a head) against a similar band. Rosario stays aboard for Hess. Excessively Trick continues to work quite well and adds blinkers so we'll give her one more chance. Let's use all three in an exacta or trifecta box and all three are worth using in your rolling exotics.

Uh Oh Bango had a real nice sprint prep recently in his first start since finishing fourth in last year's Arkansas Derby and seems sure to move forward today while stretching out for a barn that does well with second-off-layoff runners. A recent excellent work indicates he's ready for his best. Sterling Outlook might be a need-the-lead type but if can control the front end again he could be tough to run down. There's a bit more speed in today's field than last, so his task might be more difficult, but the Miller-trained gelding is worth using just in case he clears without pressure. Let's use both in an excata box and in our rolling exotics.