The selections contained within are geared to rolling exotic players. The basic strategy is to isolate those horses that should be included in rolling daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and pick-6.
It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the exact rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.
Unless otherwise noted, all horses listed in the analysis should be used in rolling exotic play. Usually there will no more than three horses listed; occasionally, Jeff will go four-deep in his rolling exotic play and on a very rare occasion he will recommend a “buy the race” strategy.
The selections are available every racing day after 9 a.m. (PST). For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.
Top selection indicated in bold-face.
A=Highest degree of confidence.
C=Least preferred, or pass.
X=likely winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.
Saturday, January 26, 2019
RACE 1: Post 11:30 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 1-Olympic Runner; 6-Value Engineering; 12-Midnight Oasis
Forecast: Value Engineering makes his debut in a competitive middle-distance turf affair for maiden 3-year-olds, and while he faces a stiff task the Chad Brown-trained colt has trained like an exceptional prospect for a barn that boasts strong stats with debut runners (19%). A $250,000 yearling purchase at Keeneland, the son of Lemon Drop Kid shows a workout on Jan. 14 (see video) that was so visually impressive that it landed him a spot on our “Primed and Ready” list. The stable’s go-to rider, Castellano, takes the call. Olympic Runner was victimized by a brutal trip in his sprint debut; the son of Gio Ponti was blocked inside most of the five-furlong race and never had a chance to accelerate. We’ll find out what he’s made of today. Midnight Oasis lands a poor draw for his debut, but the son of Midnight Lute has done excellent work in the morning at Palm Meadows and is better than his morning line of 12-1 gives him credit for. The Lynch barn doesn’t win often with first-timers but this colt is worth including somewhere on your ticket, at least a saver.
RACE 2: Post 12:00 PT. Grade: B-
Single: 4-Fire Mission; 9-Souper Wish; 11-No Dinero
Forecast: Souper Wish was straight as a string to break his maiden at 30 cents on the dollar in early December and returns in this first-level allowance affair seeking a repeat score. He’s a fit on figures and with just five career starts likely has plenty of room for improvement, but he’s facing a group of salty veterans today and most likely will need to produce a forward move. No Dinero freaked when winning by more than eight-lengths in a bottom-rung claimer over this main track last month while earning a career top number. He’s protected today – an encouraging sign – so if he can turn in two alike he could be a major factor, the class raise notwithstanding. Fire Mission has several back numbers that are better than par for this level, but he’s burned money in his last pair and at this stage of his career might not be one to trust. This is his fourth consecutive drop in class (he’s in for the $12,500 tag) and he’s just 1-for-10 in his career at this track (he’s won 17 races elsewhere), so there’s plenty to dislike, but after a five-week vacation for Navarro it’s not impossible that he bounces back.
RACE 3: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: X
Single: 4-World of Trouble
Forecast: World of Trouble and Stormy Liberal go at each other again following their heavyweight fight in the BC Turf Sprint, which was won in desperate but game fashion by ‘Liberal with the pair more than seven clear of the rest. Since that race World of Trouble went to Tampa Bay Downs for a minor added money win over a sloppy main track from an outclassed group (he was 1/5) while Stormy Liberal was upset at 4/5 at Santa Anita in the Joe Hernandez Stakes-G3 when a no-excuse second at 4/5. World of Trouble is the quicker of the two, so over this turf course with a short run in from the top of the stretch to the wire the son of Kantharos appears capable of turning the tables (there’s also a two pound when shift in his favor, for whatever that’s worth). You pretty much have to choose one or the other, so we’ll go with World of Trouble on top in a race that we’ll probably just watch and enjoy.
RACE 4: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: B
Use: 3-Bodexpress; 10-High Amplitude
Forecast: High Amplitude is a first-timer by Bernardini with an excellent series of workouts for Brown and gives every indication that he’s plenty fit to handle this one-turn mile trip in a good but not great maiden special weight affair for 3-year-olds. Though Castellano was named on Brown’s other starter, Samaronti, we prefer High Amplitude (with J. Ortiz aboard) and expect this $110,000 yearling purchase to be very competitive first crack out of the box. Bodexpress has the benefit of two prior runs and was most recently a solid runner-up (while more than eight lengths clear of the rest) in a highly-rated six-furlong sprint late last month. Stretching out to a mile today, the son of Bodemeister almost certainly will be the controlling speed, and if left alone he may never look back. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics; at 8-1 on the morning line High Amplitude looks especially appealing so we’ll have a few extra tickets keying him on top.
RACE 5: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: B
Use: 1-Surrender Now; 5-Morticia; 10-Blue Bahia
Forecast: This year’s edition of the Ladies Turf Sprint is deep and competitive. We’ll try to get by using just three, but feel free to spread deeper if you can afford to. Surrender Now is an extra-sharp and improving California invader from the Miller barn and will get tested for class in this five-furlong turf affair. The rail could be an issue – yes, she’s fast but not particularly quick in the opening sixteenth of a mile – so there’s a possibility of traffic issues entering the far turn. However, with a good trip, she can be right there, and at 6-1 on the morning line she’s a “must use.” Morticia is a tough-as-nails turf sprinter, and though winless in her last five starts she continues to earn speed figures that are good enough to beat this field. Like Surrender Now, she will be doing her best work from slightly off the pace and may need a bit of racing luck when the field straightens for home. Blue Bahia drew the far outside, but she should have enough gate speed to land a favorable pace-stalking/prompting position. A winner of nine of 19 career starts including three over this course and distance, the veteran mare failed at odds-on in her last pair but at 6-1 on the morning line she’s eligible to bounce back in what will be her second start off a layoff. We’ll toss her in.
RACE 6: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B
Single: 12-Road to Victory
Forecast: We can spread this race and still be wrong, so let’s zero in on a classy comebacker in a race that on paper looks treacherous. Road to Victory is perfect in two starts on grass including a Stakes winning sprint at Woodbine last June. Undefeated in her first three outings before finishing second to Midnight Bisou in the Mother Goose Stakes, the daughter of Quality Road returns to face a field that should be well within her range. The workouts indicate fitness, she won her debut you know she can fire fresh, and we know the surface isn’t an issue. However, she must leave from the 12-post position and hardly is guaranteed a good trip with the relatively short run into the clubhouse turn. But here’s the bottom line: any filly that can beat Monomoy Girl – which she did when winning the Golden Rod Stakes as a 2-year-old – is good enough to win here, so at 4-1 on the morning line we’ll make her a straight play and rolling exotic single and pray for good racing luck in a big field.
RACE 7: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 4-Shamrock Rose; 5-Blamed
Forecast: To finish out her 2018 campaign, Shamrock Rose strung together four consecutive victories in a streak that culminated with a thoroughly deserving victory at 25-1 in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. She’s always been of high-quality – she was a stakes-winner in her debut as a 2-year-old – and there’s every expectation that the Mark Casse-trained filly, with only 10 career races on her resume, will with added experience and maturity become even more dominant in her division. Perfect in two starts at today’s seven-furlong trip and with a history of winning off a short layoff, the daughter First Dude should simply outclass her rivals in today’s Hurricane Bertie Stakes-G3. If you feel the need to protect, consider on a ticket or two as a backup Blamed, who couldn’t handle Shamrock Rose when they faced each other in the Raven Run Stakes-G2 at Keeneland last October but should inherit the role as the controlling speed in this event. She should be able to take this field a long way.
RACE 8: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: B
Use: 3-English Affair; 5-Tricky Escape; 9-Santa Monica
Forecast: Older fillies and mares compete at 12 furlongs on grass in the La Prevoyante Stakes-G2 that attracted 12 runners. We’ll use three and hope that’s sufficient. English Affair is intriguing at 8-1 on the morning line. A good third in the Dowager Stakes-G3 at this marathon trip two runs back, the daughter of English Channel shortened to nine furlongs in her most recent outing when capturing the Cardinal Handicap-G3 over yielding ground at Churchill Downs in late November. Clearly improving with maturity, she picks up Castellano and offers value at 8-1 on the morning line. Santa Monica bit off more than she could chew in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf-G1 and was never a threat but this group should be more to her liking and we expect the Brown-trained mare to regain her best form. While her best race probably is good enough, she’s only won four of 28 career starts, so she’s certainly not one to trust. We’ll also include Tricky Escape in our rolling exotics. Second in the 11-furlong Long Island Stakes-G3 at Aqueduct in November, she makes her first start for Servis and should run at least as well and perhaps better for her high-percentage new trainer. She can win from anywhere but is especially effective if handed the front end without pressure.
RACE 9: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 1-Coal Front; 6-Aztec Sense
Forecast: Aztec Sense backs up to a mile today, and though he’s been primarily a two-turn middle-distance specialist for about a year now this trip looks to be in his wheelhouse. Freshened since being fully extended to win on Claiming Crown day in early December, the thoroughly genuine and professional gelding seems quite capable of winning this graded added-money main track event. A winner of three of four career starts over the Gulfstream Park dirt surface, the son of Street Sense can handle any type of trip or pace scenario. Additionally, he’s appeared extra sharp in recent workouts, so at 4-1 on the morning line he offers value both in the straight pool and in rolling exotic play. Coal Front regained his winning form with a visually pleasing (and highly-rated) score in the Mr. Prospector Stakes-G3 over seven furlongs here last month. He’ll try a mile for the first time in his seven-race career, but the extra ground should be well within his scope. The rail, however, might be an issue if he doesn’t leave clearly. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll go with the better price on top, Aztec Sense.
RACE 10: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: B
Use: 4-Zulu Alpha; 12-Village King
Forecast: The W. L. McKnight Stakes-G3 is the male equivalent of the La Prevoyante for fillies and mares (see eighth race) and is similarly wide-open. Zulu Alpha had little chance the way the race flow developed in the nine-furlong Ft. Lauderdale Stakes-G2 last month but we’re expecting this long-winded son of Street Cry to return to top form at this marathon trip. Victorious in the 12-furlong Sycamore Stakes-G3 last fall, the Maker-trained gelding should fold into a comfortable pace-stalking, ground-saving position and then have every chance when the pressure gets turned on three furlongs from the wire. He’s 4-1 on the morning line and that seems about right. Though he’s drawn poorly outside, Village King might deserve some attention at 10-1 on the morning line for the Pletcher/Johnny V. team. Lightly-raced (just nine career starts), the Argentine-bred horse might employ gate-to-wire tactics in what projects to be a galloper’s race. He won’t be outclassed if he can run back to his highly-respectable third place performance in the Carlos Pellegrini International-G2 – South America’s premiere race – a year ago December.
RACE 11: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: B+
Forecast: Catapult has really gotten good since joining the Sadler barn and based on the way he’s been training since his second-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Mile in early November, the 6-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy seems ready to continue his improving pattern. Effective at any distance and with a good stalking style that insures a clean trip, he recently made our “Primed and Ready” list (see video) to give every indicatation that’s he’s ready for another superb try. The switch to Rosario is another positive factor. At 7/2 on the morning line, we’ll make him a strong straight play and rolling exotic single.
RACE 12: Post 5:00 PT. Grade: B+
Single: 3-City of Light
Forecast: City of Light beat Accelerate on the square when they faced each other at this same nine-furlong distance at Oaklawn Park last spring and while both horses subsequently proceeded to capture Breeders’ Cup races in November, we’re going to give the edge on top to the Dirt Mile winner over the Classic winner. Both have trained superbly for what will be the final start of their careers, and, truthfully, either one could win. But City of Life is the quicker of the two, and if he makes the running (and he could easily do so if his connections opt for that strategy) he’s liable to take his rivals wire-to-wire. The son of Quality Road is the second choice on the morning line at 5/2; we’ll gladly take it if we can get it.