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 4-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 will be too short to play.
Monday, January 1, 2018
RACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 6-Buck Duane; 7-Dark Helmet; 8-Black Site
Forecast: The New Year’s Day opener is a maiden claiming sprint for state-bred 3-year-olds. Buck Duane, a first-time gelding, is making his first start for a tag, returns to the main track, and boasts the route-to-sprint angle. He’s the one to beat. Dark Helmet is a sneaky first-timer from the Miller barn with a decent San Luis Rey Downs gate work last month, so in a soft field you have to use him. Black Site ran fairly well in his debut and has every right to produce a forward move from his comfortable outside post. He may not be much, but there may not be much in here. Let’s use all three in our rolling exotics while preferring Buck Duane on top.
RACE 2: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 6-Fi Fi’s Wild Heart; 7-Ziconic
Forecast: Zenyatta’s son Ziconic turns five today and is still looking for a maiden win. On pure numbers he’s not too bad, so maybe he’s finally found a field he can beat. Fi Fi’s Wild Heart has shown some talent in the morning for Mullins and should be plenty fit for his debut. He represents stranger danger, so we’ll toss him in as well. These are the two we’ll include in rolling exotic play but not with a great deal of confidence. Tread lightly here.
RACE 3: Post 1:29 PT. Grade: B
Use: 6-Party Hostess; 7-Li’l Grazen
Forecast: Party Hostess has been knocking on the door and is well-placed to break through with a win. The lightly-raced Hollendorfer-trained mare has two solid races over this track – including her maiden win – and really won’t have to improve much to handle this assignment. Li’l Grazen is winless in five starts over the Santa Anita main track but usually gets at least a piece of it and should be running on late. ‘Hostess gets top billing but we’ll include both in our rolling exotics.
RACE 4: Post: 2:00 PT. Grade: B
Use: 1-Raven Creek; 10-Nevermissabeat
Forecast: Raven Creek gets the worst of the draw in this state-bred downhill maiden turf sprint but his solid runner-up over this course and distance two runs back should be more than good enough to earn his diploma. He’s 2-1 on the morning line but could easily go lower. Nevermissabeat has trained okay for his debut and should have every chance from his outside draw. We’ll toss him in on a ticket or two as a saver.
RACE 5: Post 2:31 PT. Grade: C
Use: 5-Jes Jaa; 7-Rprettyboyfloyd; 8-Finallygotabentley
Forecast: This extended $12,500 sprint looks fairly treacherous; we’ll go three deep and hope to survive and advance. We’ll put Jes Jaa on top; the Hess-trained veteran drops a notch below his claim lever after a solid runner-up vs. $20,000 foes at Del Mar in late November in what appears to be a bit of a suspicious class drop. There’s no doubt he has problems – he was a voided claim last July – but if he’s feeling good he certainly can win. Rprettyboyfloyd is a consistent eastern invader with speed figures that fit, though like Jes Jaa appears to be for sale. Finallygotabentley is just 1-for-17 over the Santa Anita main track and was a voided claim at Del Mar last summer before being stopped on. He’s eligible to fire a big shot fresh, so we’ll toss him in as well.
RACE 6: Post 3:01 PT. Grade: C
Use: 4-Ax Man; 5-Shanghai Billy
Forecast: Shanghai Billy has the benefit of a prior race, a good runner-up effort to the promising Vision at Los Alamitos last month, and with the expected forward move the Harrington-trained colt should be hard to beat. However, Baffert has a nice one in here as well, with the first-timer Ax Man listed as the 9/5 favorite. The son of Misremembered worked well with the Grade-1 winner McKinzie recently and won’t have anybody that tough to worry about in here. In a race that really doesn’t offer much in the way of wagering value, we’ll use both in rolling exotic play but that’s pretty much it.
RACE 7: Post 3:32 PT. Grade: B
Use: 2-Pee Wee Reese; 8-Richard’s Boy
Forecast: Pee Wee Reese can be tough at any distance but may be most effective sprinting. A winner of three of four over this course and distance, the D’Amato-trained gelding turns back in trip, continues to work well, and should fire his best shot. Richard’s Boy, away since just missing in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Del Mar, clearly is good enough on his best day and is a “must use.” We’ll double the race in our rolling exotics and then press with Pee Wee Reese on top.
RACE 8: Post 4:02 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 1-Royal Trump; 7-Royal Bar; 8-Get Em Up Scout
Forecast: This starter optional claiming sprint is a challenging affair; best advice is to use as many as you can afford to. Royal Trump set the pace and then faded in the two-turn King Glorious Stakes at Los Alamitos last month; it wasn’t a bad effort and this group is infinitely softer. He switches to Prat, shortens up, and could be tough to catch if he breaks cleanly from the rail. Royal Bar adds blinkers for the first time and has a win over the track two races back. He’s a fit on numbers and a major contender. Get Em Up Scout, a winner vs. $32,000 claimers at Los Alamitos with a career top fig, has a chance if he can produce even a modest forward move.
RACE 9: Post 4:32 PT. Grade: B
Use: 8-How About Zero; 9-The Tulip; 10-Be Mine
Forecast: The Tulip is an interesting Irish invader making her U.S. debut for winning connections. Her form may have suffered due to the extreme high imposts she was forced to tote in handicap races overseas but on her best day she can act with these and offers a bit of value at 6-1 on the morning line. Be Mine is stuck outside but likes this course and should be a dangerous late threat under Prat. How About Zero earned a huge figure over this course two races back when beating state-bred foes; a similar performance today puts her in the thick of it. Let’s use all three in rolling exotic play and then press a bit keying The Tulip on extra tickets.