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, February 18, 2011 - 03:31
THIRD RACE - #1 REDEMSKY x #2 VISUAL INTENSITY x #5 QUEEN’S RITE
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.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011 - 11:23
SEVENTH RACE - #4 COO CACHOO
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.

EIGHTH RACE - #2 CONCERTO’S THUNDER x #6 LIT’SGOODLOOKNGRAY x #9 STREETS OF HEAVEN
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.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011 - 11:50
SIXTH RACE - #2 SMART SPENDING
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.

NINTH RACE - #1 PHOTO SHOPPED x #6 ROCK SO HARD x #7 SHAMINO x 9 HUSBAND’S FOLLY
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.

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Saturday, February 12, 2011 - 12:08
SECOND RACE - #2 ELLE DEHERE
Purchased privately since her last race, Elle Dehere makes her first start for the Hollendorfer stable and makes a major jockey switch to Bejarano. After winning at first asking in a maiden claimer, the daughter of Dehere ran better than the line will show when sixth in a downhill turf sprint. In that race she broke slowly and then finishing steadily before galloping out well to indicate she’ll enjoy today’s added ground. She’s drawn comfortably inside, figures to enjoy a nice pace stalking trip and beats this crew with another forward move. We like her as a rolling exotic single and straight play at close to her 5/2 morning line odds.

EIGHTH RACE - #1 ST TRINIANS x #2 VISION IN GOLD x #3 WASHINGTON BRIDGE
St Trinians is the logical Santa Maria Stakes selection but at 8/5 on the morning line she doesn’t offer much in the way of value. This will be her first start since June and her first try on dirt, so enough doubt exists to prevent us from embacing her as a rolling exotic single. Vision in Gold is thoroughly untested at this level but she’s improving for good trainer Ellis, continues to train like a high quality sort and should be strongly considered at anywhere close to her morning line odds of 8-1. The rapidly improving Washington Bridge gets her toughest test yet while seeking her fourth straight score. She earned a career top 90 Beyer figure in her Bayakoa Handicap win in December at Hollywood Park and if she moves forward only slightly she’ll be the battle throughout. All three are worth using in your rolling exotics and in an exacta/trifecta box as well.

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Friday, February 11, 2011 - 12:03
SECOND RACE - #2 DAVE’S RULER
First off the claim for Julio Canani, Dave’s Ruler seems sure to improve a bunch and a recent sharp workout indicates that he is indeed headed in the right direction. Rosario rides him back and should have this son of Maria’s Mon within striking range in a field lacking in early speed. First or second in six of 11 career starts, Dave’s Ruler seems quite capable of producing the last run and represents value in both the straight pools and rolling exotics at anywhere near his 5/2 morning line odds.

SIXTH RACE - #5 LUKIMBI x 6 SHORT MEMO x 11 LICHTENSTEIN
This is a fairly competitive restricted $25,000 claimer and the three listed above should comprise a good exacta or trifecta box. All three should be used in your rolling exotics, as well. Lukimbi has worked well for his comeback, has some back speed figures that make him a threat and could be dangerous from off the pace at this extended sprint distance. He’s worth using at 8-1 on the morning line. Short Memo drops to a realistic level and is another who does his best running from off the pace. He’s a fit on figures and switches to Gomez, so this Walsh-trained gelding is a “must use” at 4-1 on the morning line. Lichtenstein broke his maiden in a high priced claimer recently with a strong number and is realistically spotted in this restricted affair. He’s a lightly raced 4-year-old and no doubt has had his issues, but Bejarano should have him within range throughout and he won’t have to improve much at all to score right back.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011 - 10:33
FIFTH RACE - 4 JAX EL x 6 TIZ A BUD GIRL
Jax El made the running and kept on going to graduate in very sharp style down the hill last month and she’s returned to work exceptionally well since that race to indicate further improvement is likely. She’ll most likely establish the pace on stretch out and if not pressured early could be long gone once again. Tiz a Bud Girl, second in a solid first level allowance turf sprint recently, stretches out to what might be her best trip and the Sadler-trained filly seems the logical pick with Rosario staying aboard. These two should dominate and figure to comprise a formful exacta box.

SEVENTH RACE - 1 IRREFUTABLE
Irrefutable is unproven on turf and untested around two turns but he finds an ideal spot to prove he can do both in this competitive second level allowance event. The Baffert-trained horse lands the good inside post, catches a field without much early speed and should be the controlling speed. His sprint figures are strong, his recent workouts exceptional, and the son of Unbridled’s Song should like the lawn based on the sire of his dam, Kingmambo. Smith stays aboard and at 5/2 on the morning line, Irrefutable represents excellent value in both the straight pools and the rolling exotics.

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