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.

Friday, April 8, 2011 - 10:32

The Friday program begins with an unplayable opener, a maiden claimer that has #1 Valor Da Vida listed as the 4/5 morning line favorite despite two career starts that has seen him beaten by a combined 37 lengths. But those were straight maiden races last year; the son of Value Plus surfaces for a $20,000 tag for new trainer Julio Canani and has worked like a pretty nice sort. Quinonez has been on him in the morning, so don’t fret about the low percentage jockey riding for a barn that usually gravitates to the bigger names. Yes, he should win, but who needs the price?

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Thursday, April 7, 2011 - 10:56

The penultimate week of the 2010-2011 season at Santa Anita begins with a two furlong dash for juveniles that is best worth watching. After three off-the-program scratches we’re left with a field of five and nothing to recommend. Let’s move on.

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Sunday, April 3, 2011 - 10:14

First of all, let me apologize about the video glitch yesterday. The seminar was produced and uploaded, but it never saw the light of day. From now until the end of the season, our analysis will be in text form; it will allow us to post in a more timely manner. Look for the commentary to appear on this website shortly after late scratches are announced; hopefully no later than 10:30 a.m.

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Saturday, April 2, 2011 - 11:08

FIFTH RACE - #10 CAT TALK
Cat Talk seems ready to stretch out and win after a couple of better-than-looked sprint efforts earlier this meeting. Bred to handle the turf and the extra distance (Tale of the Cat), the Gallagher-trained colt retains Gomez and should be on or near the lead throughout based on the improved early zip he displayed in his most recent effort. Forced to steady in tight quaraters while pressing a hot pace, the California-bred colt slipped back midway but kept to his task and finished with interest in that March 5 affair and since has trained forwardly to indicate another forward move is likely. Poorly drawn but offering value at 4-1 on the morning line, Cat Talk looks like a good straight play and rolling exotic single.

NINTH RACE - #4 WEST RULER x #6 SEPARATE FOREST x #7 SNEAK PREVIEW
In a very competitive downhill turf dash for fillies and mares, we'll go three-deep in our rolling exotics and use all three in an exacta or trifecta box. West Ruler returned off a long layoff to beat a state bred filly down the hill last month in convincing fashion, and a similar performance today makes her a solid threat right back. The Sadler-trained daughter of Tribal Ruler has three easy drills since that race, so she should be primed for another big effort. She does, however, lose Rosario, who for whatever reason winds up on Good Vibration. Separate Forest has proven winning form down the hill, ran very well with some trouble in a similar spot last month, and should be in the thick of things again under P. Val. At 8/5 on the morning line, the O'Neill-trained filly doesn't offer a whole lot of value, but you have to use her. Sneak Preview is the stranger danger in the field and looks quite attractive at 8-1 on the morning line. She was a very good two-year-old overseas and has never finished off the board in just six lifetime starts. Her local works are quite good for Carava (better than the final times would indicate) and she has shown in the past the ability to fire fresh. Beware.

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Friday, April 1, 2011 - 11:25
FIRST RACE - #1 BEAUTIFUL SUNDAY
Beautiful Sunday lands a much more favorable post position today - she goes from the 10 hole to the rail - and in her second try around two turns and her second on turf the daughter of Silver Train should be ready to graduate. Espinoza knows her well and should have the Cassidy-trained filly within striking range while saving valuable ground throughout. She's a solid fit on speed figures in a field lacking depth. At 2-1 on the morning line we'll make her a straight play and rolling exotic single.

SECOND RACE - #1 HEIDI MARIA x #2 WORKING AT NIGHT
HEIDI MARIA has the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern and should project nicely in this middle distance main track affair for fillies and mares. She exits a very strong race, has improving speed figures, retains P. Val and lands the good inside post. The Glatt-trained filly should be on or near the lead throughout. Working At Night is clearly the one to beat after missing in a photo in a simlar spot last month. She continues to work in solid fashion for Mullins, retains Talamo, and should fire another big shot. Let's use them both in an exacta box and in all of our rolling exotics, with slight preference to Heidi Maria.

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Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 11:08
FOURTH RACE - #1 EMILY PEARL x #2 BROWN IS BEIGE x #3 BELLA PALOOZA
Let's focus on the inside three runners in this extended sprint for $40,000 claiming 3-year-old fillies. Emily Pearl returns to dirt, adds blinkers for the first time, switches to Espinoza and fits on speed figures. She likes to settle and make a late run and that style should be very productive at seven furlongs. Brown is Beige, fourth in the same race that favored Bella Palooza exits earlier this month, is lightly-raced and likely a bit better than shown. She switches to Gomez and when - and if - she ever gets out of the gate cleanly she might leave her previous form behind. Her numbers are going in the right direction. Bella Palooza missed when odds-on recently but ran well enough in defeat (highly rated race) to warrant respect again today. She probably doesn't offer too much value at 7/5 or less but you have to use her. We'll include all three in an exacta or trifecta box and each should be used in whatever rolling exotic you might be playing.

SEVENTH RACE - #1 SARASOTA SUNSHINE x #3 LINDA LOU x #4 GUMPTION
Sarasota Sunshine is back sprinting where she belongs and should adore this downhill turf course. Arguably most effective as a late running sprinter, the Mitchell-trained mare adds the hood, retains Talamo, and looks well worth using in your exotics. Her race before last on the main tack makes her a solid fit with these. Linda Lou is making her third start off a layoff and should be primed for her best effort. She was overmatched against Unzip Me in the Clocker's Corner Stakes last time out but isn't today and Garcia should have her in an ideal pace prompting position throughout. Gumption, first off the claim for Craig Lewis, switches to P. Val, tries turf (bred for it), shortens up in trip and boasts a pair of very sharp recent workouts. Look for her to be storming home. We'll use all three in an exacta or trifecta box and all three should be used in your rolling exotics as well.

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