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, February 26, 2011 - 11:27
SIXTH RACE – 3 INDIAN KNIGHT x 4 MIDNIGHT INTERLUDE
Trainer Bob Baffert may hold the aces in this two-turn maiden event for 3-year-olds, as both of his colts have good patterns while stretching out for the first time. Indian Knight, fourth in a highly-rated sprint earlier this month, has come back to train impressively and adds blinkers while retaining Marty Garcia, who may have opted for this colt over Midnight Interlude. The latter picks up Joel Rosario and also tries a distance of ground after a decent sprint debut in a very fast, highly-rated affair. They’re tough to separate, but we’ll give slight preference to Midnight Interlude, who represents pretty decent value at 5-1 on the morning line.

EIGHTH RACE – 4 CHILOQUIN x 5 MR. COMMONS Chiloquin was impressive winning an allowance race in fast time recently and today we’ll find out if he can handle two turns. Most of the Tribal Rules prefer one corner but if he can get loose on the lead under Pedroza he could take them a long way. MR. COMMONS was highly impressive winning down the hill recently and the form already has been franked. If he duplicates that effort on the main track, he’ll be very hard to beat.

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Friday, February 25, 2011 - 10:56
FIRST RACE – 1 RECAP x 2 ONE NATION x 4 KUMIVA
Recap, second off the layoff and first on turf, continues to train like he’s got some talent (and with his pedigree, he’d better). He had a right to need his last race and with the switch in surface and with P. Val riding him back, the Shirreffs-trained colt deserves one more chance at 8-1 on the morning line. One Nation also gets one more look from us following a disappointing run at 7/5 on the main track in the same race Recap exits. Maybe turf will be his thing; Rosario stays aboard so we’ll use him at 4-1 on the morning line. Kumiva logically is the one to beat following a nice runner up try at a mile over the course last month. The son of Giant’s Causeway should move forward with the extra furlong to work with and perhaps is the most trustworthy in the field. Let’s use all three in an exacta/trifecta box.

SIXTH RACE – 1 LED ADVANTAGE x 7 ASCOT’S HIGHFLYER
Led Advantage lands the good rail while returning to her proper level and being re-equipped with blinkers. A repeat of her race before last makes her the one to fear most, though we actually prefer Ascot’s Highflyer as our top selection. The Ellis-trained filly, exiting a much tougher starter’s allowance event, should be prominent throughout in a soft field and we suspect she’ll enjoy the switch to the dirt track for the first time as well. Espinoza stays aboard. We’ll use them both in an exacta box with extra tickets on Ascot’s Highflyer.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011 - 12:42
THIRD RACE – 3 PARABLE x 6 UNEX DALI x 8 AKKADIAN
Parable tipped his hand when missing by a head in a winner’s $50,000 claimer over this turf course last month and returns to the maiden ranks today while retaining Rosario. His numbers continue to rise, so with another forward move today he should at least wind up in the frame once again. Unex Dali flunked his main track test last month but continues to work well for Dollase and can be expected to repeat the quality of his runner-up try two races back over the Hollywood Park grass. He’ll appreciate patient handling and the nine furlong trip should help matters as well. The one to beat, though, is the second time starter from the Canani barn, Akkadian. The son of Tiznow took hold and finished with purpose in a highly-rated downhill maiden turf sprint last month and has worked like a good thing since. The extra distance can only help, so we’ll play a few extra tickets with him on top, though we’ll use all three in all of our rolling exotics as well as in exacta and trifecta boxes.

FOURTH RACE – 1 FINE AND RARE x 3 DEPTH Fine and Rare flashed big improvement when second in a similar maiden claiming sprint last month, has come back to work well since, and should make another forward move today. If he leaves cleanly from the rail, the Kruljac-trained colt should be in the firing line throughout and looks hard to run down. Depth represents stranger danger for Sadler and has worked well enough to be very dangerous at first asking in a race lacking in quality. He looks extremely live under Rosario for a barn that sends ‘em fit and spots ‘em right. We’ll use both in an exacta box and both in all of our rolling exotics.

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Monday, February 21, 2011 - 12:33
FIFTH RACE - #7 GRIP HANDS
This highly regarded Giant’s Causeway colt ($500,000 2-year-old in training buy) didn’t live up to press notices with a disappointing run at Hollywood Park in his debut last December but we’re willing to give him another chance. The Dollase-trained colt continues to impress in morning trials, retains Rosario, and should show his best stuff today (remember, The Factor got beat in his first start, too!). At 4-1 on the morning line, he represents some good value in the straight pool as well as the rolling exotics. There are three first timers in the field that bear watching. #2 Guy on the Go, from the Baffert barn, has trained like a runner and is by the right sire (Tapit), though he might be more comfortable at a longer trip. The same can be said for the Asmussen-trained #4 Rothko, who has been finishing like a freight train in the morning but may not be super quick leaving the gate. And Baffert’s other first timer, #6 Hoorayforhollywood, has done nothing wrong in the morning and the son of Storm Cat could be any kind. All and all, a very difficult and competitive sprint.

SIXTH RACE - #5 CLONEYLASS x #10 CAMBINA x #13 QUIET OASIS Cloneylass was bothered by a loose horse in the stretch drive of Sweet Life Stakes and did well to finish as close as she did. The Lloyd-trained filly has trained nicely since that race and with clear sailing today could be tough to deny. Cambina exits the same race and would have been a whole lot closer had she not gotten stopped cold crossing the main track. To her credit, she kept to her task and finished sixth and is another who has looked quite good in the morning since that race to indicate improvement is likely. Gomez will have her rolling late. Quiet Oasis was a quality filly as a juvenile in Europe and has trained like she’s fit and ready for a huge run in her California debut for Cecil. She lands the outside post and Rosario and will be dangerous from off the pace. Any one of these three seems capable of winning, so let’s use them in an exacta or trifecta box and in all of our rolling exotics as well.

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Sunday, February 20, 2011 - 12:16
SEVENTH RACE - #3 TRIBAL MISTRESS x #4 WARREN’S LADY x # 8 MAGGIE MCGOWAN
This is a fairly open maiden dash for state bred fillies and we’ll go three deep for our exacta/trifecta box and our rolling exotics. Tribal Mistress is bred to be quick and sports a 46 flat gate work (fastest of 42) earlier this month. The barn doesn’t often win with debut runners but this daughter of Tribal Rule seems worth using. Warren’s Lady flashed speed in her debut before tiring; today she shortens up a furlong while retaining Bejarano and seems sure to improve a bunch. Maggie McGowan is a first timer from the O’Neill barn and has looked like a win-early type in her a.m. trials. Let’s put her on top, and hope we can get close to her morning line odds of 9/2.

EIGHTH RACE – #3 SWAY AWAY; #4 SINAI; 7 THE FACTOR Sway Away returns off a long layoff for Bonde and has trained like he’s fit and ready to fire a big shot. He’s got a good closing style for this extended sprint distance and should have plenty of pace to compliment his late kick. The same can be said for our top pick in the race, Sinai. A troubled third in the recent San Pedro Stakes, the Baffert-trained colt has looked especially sharp in the morning since that race and retains Bejarano while removing blinkers. Look for him to be storming home in the final furlong. The Factor, off the track since his brilliant maiden score here opening day, has trained like his old self of late and looks like the best of the speed. He’ll face other heat, so today we’ll find out what he’s made of. Let’s use all three in our rolling exotics and in an exacta or trifecta box as well.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 12:24
FIFTH RACE – 1 DIME x 2 GOT MILCH x 9 TOY
Dime tries dirt for the first time after chasing tougher down the hill last month and a repeat of his race before last puts him in the fray. He should have enough early speed to be within striking range in the second flight. Got Milch ran well up north in starter’s allowance company, is a solid fit on speed figures, and is reunited with Bejarano, who won on him two races back. Toy adds blinkers, retains Rosario, appears to be the speed of the speed and should take them a long way. All three should be used in your rolling exotics and in a exacta or trifecta box as well.

SIXTH RACE – 5 BEAUTIFUL SUNDAY x 10 MILDLY OFFENSIVE
Beautiful Sunday has two good races under her belt and with that edge in experience should be tough to beat today. She probably can’t beat real good filly but it will take at least a decent sort to beat her. Mildly Offensive may be just that. She’s been very impressive in morning preps for Gaines, lands the comfortable outside post and should come out firing under Bejarano. Let’s use them both in an exacta box and in our rolling exotics.

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