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.

Monday, February 21, 2011 - 12:33
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.

Sunday, February 20, 2011 - 12:16
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.

Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 12:24
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.

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.

Friday, February 18, 2011 - 03:31
Redemsky tries grass for the first time and certainly is bred to like it, having been produced by a daughter of Red Ransom. He removes blinkers, retains Nakatani, and continues to look sharp in morning preps. Give him another chance at 9/2 on the morning line. Visual Intensity is moving up from the maiden claiming ranks but should fit very nicely in this state bred affair and retains Rosario while landing the good inside post. He’s a solid contender on speed figures, continues to train like a useful sort and should fire his best shot today. Queen’s Rite is a first timer by grass specialist Artie Schiller and the works indicate he’s got some talent. He won’t need to be a world beater to act with these, so use him at 9/2 on the morning line. All three should be played in your rolling exotics and in an exacta or trifecta box.

SEVENTH RACE # 1 SARATOGA SUNSHINE x CRISIS OF SPIRIT x 9 LEA THE PUNISHER Saratoga Sunshine makes her U.S. debut for Mitchell (excellent with imports) and she’s reportedly impressed the clockers with a series of sharp drills. She won three out of four over synthetic surfaces in England, so maybe she’ll handle the dirt. Apparently most effective as a late-running sprinter, the daughter of Oasis Dream should be running on strongly late and is worth using in the exotics. Crisis of Spirit should have been unsaddled in her most recent outing but had to settle for third following a brutal trip. This is her second start off a layoff, so a forward move is likely, and Smith gets a good chance to make amends. Lea the Punisher beat a softer field in good style with a nice speed figure last time out and shortens up while landing the cozy outside post in this extended sprint. She has room for further improvement and is a “must use” at 8-1 on the morning line. All three of these should be used in your rolling exotics as well as an exacta/trifecta box.

Thursday, February 17, 2011 - 11:23
Coo Cachoo was claimed by Julio Canani for $20,000 last month after a sharp front-running win and is aggressively raised in class by a trainer who isn’t known for overmatching his runners. Rosario stays aboard, and the son of Mingun looks like the controlling speed once again. First or second in six of 14 lifetime starts, Coo Cachoo is genuine and consistent when conditions suit him, and the circumstances look to be in his favor again today.

This is a competitive extended sprint for low level platers and we’ll go three deep in our exotics. Concerto’s Thunder isn’t keen on winning but this turn back in trip should suit him nicely and with the switch to Talamo and the addition of blinkers the Puype-trained gelding might wake up considerably with this substantial class drop. Lit’sgoodlookngray is a solid Bay Area invader dropping to his lowest level ever and his win two races back makes him a major player in this spot. He’s most effective when allowed to lay fairly close to a soft pace, and those conditions likely will exist today. We prefer him the best of three main contenders. Streets of Heaven can handle any trip but seems especially effective around one turn and has plenty of back numbers than could win. Pedroza should have him within striking range throughout.

Sunday, February 13, 2011 - 11:50
This Western Canadian invader makes his local debut in a starter’s allowance event that seems well within his abilities. A winner of his debut sprinting, he was tossed into the B.C. Derby in just his second career start and was pressed into a blazing pace before fading over a sloppy track. Freshened and working quite well for Carla Gaines, the son of Smarty Jones lands a good inside post and Gomez and appears cranked up and ready to roll. At 4-1 on the morning line he represents value both in the straight pools and in any rolling exotic you might want to play.

This is a wide open maiden turf sprint down the hill and offers some price opportunities. Photo Shopped finished far back in the blazing maiden dash won by The Factor on opening day but he’s trained like a much better type in recent weeks for Canani and seems sure to improve in this softer spot. Pedroza stays aboard and the son of Mr. Greeley could be a nice knockout horse in the Pick-6. He’s 8-1 on the morning line and worth every bit of that. Rock So Hard flashed ability in his only outing last summer at Del Mar, has trained well enough for his return, and is bred to enjoy grass (Rock Hard Ten). The Baffert-trained colt should come out firing. Shamino has trained like he’s got some talent for Shirreffs and while this stable rarely wins with debut runners, this son of Elusive Quality has a chance at a price (8-1) and should be used somewhere in your exotics. And Husband’s Folly has turf breeding on both sides of his pedigree, has an improving pattern for Puype, and looks like a live item with the switch to Bejarano. We’ll use these four in exacta/trifecta/superfecta boxes and in our rolling exotics as well.