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.
SECOND RACE – #1 SEEKITANA x #2 AROUND THE TWIG
Seekitana is an interesting possibility in her second start for Mullins. The daughter of Unbridled’s Song finished evenly in a recent sprint prep, has returned to work exceptionally well and seems sure to move forward while stretching out from her good inside post. Pedroza got know her last time and should have forwardly placed throughout. Good chance at 6-1 on the morning line. Around the Twig, the likely choice and one to beat, earned a strong Beyer figure (82) when second in a similar spot in late January and retains Bejarano. Let’s use them both in an exacta box and in our rolling exotics.
THIRD RACE - #1a MONTELLANO
Montellano looked quite good beating a slightly softer field last month and seems more than capable of repeating on the raise. The colt he defeated that day, Runaway Cat, was claimed by Carava so the two will form a very strong entry at 5/2 on the morning line. Sure to attract strong support is the morning line choice (6/5), Polished Nickel, very sharp in breaking his maiden vs. $50,000 sellers. However, he returns after more than two months on the shelf and is dropping in class, not a healthy sign. He’s fast enough to win, but offers no value and there’s no guarantee he’s as good now as he was in December.
SIXTH RACE - #3 CADAZZLE x #9 ANNIVERSARY GIRL x #10 HARD TO RISIST
Cadazzle seems to be moving forward with experience and with another improved effort today could earn her diploma. Gomez rides her back; she’s drawn comfortably inside and has a healthy work pattern. Look for her to be rolling late. Anniversary Girl returns after a two month vacation and is another who won’t have to improve much to get the money. In the frame in her last four, the daughter of Aragorn is another who should do her best work late. Hard to Resist, with two sprints under her belt, should stretch out and be formidable while switching to turf for the first time. The Eurton-trained filly gains Rosario, exits a very live heat and should be a major player in an open fray. Let’s use all three in an exacta or trifecta box and all three should be included in rolling exotics as well.
EIGHTH RACE - 1 GRANITE GIRL x #4 BAR ROCK OMAMA x #6 BELLA SWAN
Granite Girl may not have beaten a great group when she captured her U.S. debut against $32,000 claimers recently but she was visually impressive and looks dangerous right back despite the raise in class. She has a good late kick and will benefit from a faster than par early pace, which is likely is this spot. Bar Rock Omama shortens up to a mile and this lesser trip should agree with her. She’s lightly raced and likely has further improvement in her for Mullins. Bella Swan ran in fairly good handicaps overseas and earned competitive Racing Post speed figures. Her works leading up to her local debut are solid and she looks like a very live item for Rosario. All three are worth using in rolling exotics and in an exacta or trifecta box.
EIGHTH RACE - #3 LIBERAL ARTS x #7 KINGPIN RYNO
Liberal Arts showed some real promise in his only start last summer at Del Mar and returns for top trainer Sadler with P. Val and a string of workouts that should have him fit and ready for a big try. With a trouble free trip, the son of Tribal Rule looks very hard to handle and appears to offer considerable value at his 9/2 morning line odds. Kingpin Ryno has the benefit of a recent race over the track and is strictly the one to beat. The son of In Excess will enjoy the extra half furlong and Espinoza should have the Litt-trained colt doing his best work late. Let’s prefer Liberal Arts but use them both in an exacta box and in all of our rolling exotics.
TENTH RACE - #5 TWIRLING CANDY x #8 FIRST DUDE
Twirling Candy is a legitimate 4/5 favorite on the morning line and the only concern is whether he’ll relax enough during the early stages of the race to get the 10 furlong trip. He continues to train like the best older handicap horse in the nation and should continue his winning ways. To make this race profitable we’ll isolate the second horse, and if the pace scenario comes up as we expect, First Dude should have the front end to himself. Although still eligible to non-winners of two, the Baffert-trained colt has performed extremely well in high class events in the past and should be able to take the Big ‘Cap field a very long way. We doubt he can hold off Twirling Candy but he looks very much like a logical exacta partner.
FIFTH RACE - # 2 KAJIWARA
Kajiwara earned two huge speed figures a year ago at Oaklawn Park and Churchill Downs in good company and launches a comeback today following a string of very impressive workouts for Asmussen. He’s trying turf for the first time but the switch in surface shouldn’t be an issue. In what appears to be a below par field of first level allowance runners, the son of Grand Slam appears to own a distinct class edge. We’ll make him a solid selection at 5/2 on the morning line and use him as a rolling exotic single.
SEVENTH RACE - # 6 SEPARATE FOREST x #9 MAGIC LAUNCH x #11 SEANNEEN
Separate Forest demolished a claiming field in a recent downhill turf sprint in such a manner to suggest she can be dangerous right back despite the raise in class. She’s a lightly-raced, nicely-bred filly and retains P. Val, so we probably haven’t seen the best of her yet. Magic Launch would have been in the picture had she not been forced to check sharply crossing the main track in her most recent outing. She’s genuine and consistent, loves this turf course, and figures to be rolling late once again. Seanneen was visually very impressive beating state bred first level allowance types recently and today tackles open company. With continued improvement, she’ll be able to act with these and may in fact be the one to beat. Let’s use all three in an exacta or trifecta box and in all of our rolling exotics
FIRST RACE - #7 JAX EL
Jax El cut out wicked fractions and was collared late when trying two turns again last month but she shortens up to a downhill sprint today and seems capable of repeating the quality of her maiden win over similar conditions two runs back. The Abrams-trained filly continues to work like a nice sort, lands the comfortable outside post and should enjoy an ideal pace forcing/prompting trip. Let’s use her as an early rolling exotic single at 5/2 on the morning line.
SECOND RACE - #7 ISLAND EMPIRE
In a race begging to be won by a fresh face, the debuting Island Empire lands a likely spot for success. Making his first appearance at the advanced age of 5, the Sise-trained gelding is bred for much speed on both sides of his pedigree and has trained like he’s fit and ready for a barn that usually does quite well with first time starters. He’s obviously had more than his share of issues in the past, but likely has more ability than your normal bottom rung maiden claimer. We’ll try him in the straight pools and in our rolling exotics at 9/2 on the morning line.
EIGHTH RACE – 3 QUICK ENOUGH x 9 AMAZOMBIE
Quick Enough was outrun on the main track when in the very tough Sunshine Millions Sprint last month but he returns to turf today and should regain his best form. P. Val rides him back, and the O’Neill-trained gelding figures to be prominent throughout in a race with nowhere near the early heat that he faced last time out. Off his second place effort in the Daytona Stakes under similar conditions earlier this meeting, the son of High Brite is a major player today at 5-1 on the morning line. Amazombie is tough on any surface and should continue his sharp, consistent form today. First or second in nine of 15 career starts, the Spawr-trained gelding has the perfect pace stalking style for this course. He’s the one to beat and perhaps key on at 5/2 on the morning line.
NINTH RACE – 2 CACTUS HOUSE x 3 PINK LOLLIPOPS x 5 SPECTACULAR SKY
Cactus House is a first time starter with a string of very nice workouts to her credit and looks very live in this fairly decent extended sprint for maiden fillies. The daughter of Badge of Silver hails from a stable that does especially well with debut runners and with Gomez aboard this Mitchell-trained miss looks extremely live at 8-1 on the morning line. She’s a “must use” in all of your exotics. Pink Lollipops is a second time starter from the Baffert barn and should move forward after splitting the field in a fairly quick sprint last month. She remains well regarded and should show her best form today. Spectacular Sky has improving form for Jones, retains Bejarano, and is the likely choice and one to beat following an excellent runner up try under similar conditions last month. Let’s use all three in an exacta or trifecta box and all three in our rolling exotics as well.