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.
Saturday, December 30, 2017
RACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: B
Use: 1-Bella Be Ready; 5-Proud Heroine; 9-Himmah
Forecast: Irish import Himmah was a beaten choice in her final three starts overseas, so she’s probably not one to trust, but her best form fits with these and she could be a better type with Lasix. We’ll put her slightly on top but use two others in our rolling exotic play. Proud Heroine is plenty quick but has yet to display much stick. We like the “blinkers off” angle, so if this daughter of Proud Citizen can slow down just a little early she could hang around for a long time. Bella Be Ready has improving form and makes her first start on turf. She’s a daughter of More Than Ready and thus eligible to improve a ton with the switch to the sod, and at 10-1 on the morning line arguably offers the best value in the race.
RACE 2: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: C
Use: 1-Peace; 4-Restoring Hope
Forecast: This is strictly a two-runner race and both will be short prices, so we’ll pass other than to use both in rolling exotic play. Restoring Hope is a “Black Book” horse for us following a very impressive runner-up debut performance sprinting at Los Alamitos just 13 days ago. This is a quick return for the Baffert-trained colt but based on pedigree he should improve with experience and distance and gives every indication of being a top prospect. Peace was more than eight lengths clear of the rest when beaten in a photo in a hot maiden miler at Del Mar in mid-November, and a similar effort will make him hard to beat. Both colts have tremendous promise; so we’ll just watch and enjoy.
RACE 3: Post 1:29 PT. Grade: B
Use: 1-Informality; 6-Devils Informer; 7-Kenny Benny
Forecast: This restricted (nw-2) $12,500 claimer came up pretty soft. Devils Informer has plenty of zip and could stick much better today in his second start off a long layoff. The one-level class drop is warranted for a barn that excels with second-off-layoff horses, and over a track that generally is kind to speed, this son of Informed could grab control early and never look back. Informality has a prior win over the Santa Anita main track and recent speed figures that fit. If he leaves cleanly from the rail, the Carava-trained gelding should have every chance. Kenny Benny is coming off a dull try at Los Alamitos but he’s another with back figures that fit nicely in this league and also has a healthy recent work tab for a high percentage outfit. At 10-1 on the morning line he has to be included in both the vertical and horizontal exotics.
RACE 4: Post: 2:00 PT. Grade: C
Use: 1-Penjade; 4-Elysea’s World; 6-Responsibleforlove
Forecast: Pass race; there are three major contenders, all of whom can win with the proper trip and race flow. Penjade has won four of her last five but may have been a tad lucky to take the recent Forever Together Stakes, a race in which stable mate Elysea’s World had significant traffic trouble when attempting to rally in mid stretch. That said, ‘World often finds a way to lose, which is why she’s winless in eight starts in 2017. In a race totally lacking in speed, Responsibleforlove has the ability to establish the pace if sent from the bell and can be quite dangerous given that kind of trip. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics but otherwise sit it out.
RACE 5: Post 2:31 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 3-Charlie Cowden; 10-Ridgefield Rocket
Forecast: Charlie Cowden exits a strong race and fits very nicely in this modest maiden claimer for juveniles. The son of Paddy O’Prado switches to Bejarano and may be able to produce the last run, even though the main track so far this meeting has been playing against his closing style. Ridgefield Rocket is considerably slower on numbers than ‘Cowden but has enough early speed to take advantage of the current track profile. Freshened since October, the Glatt-trained colt is drawn comfortably outside and should draft into a cozy pace-pressing position. Let’s try to get by using just these two, but we’ll do so without a great deal of confidence.
RACE 6: Post 3:01 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 4-Camino de Estrella; 5-Beaumarchais; 10-Sheer Flattery
Forecast: This race kicks off the late Pick-4 and is a messy affair that screams “spread.” We’ll use three, but feel free to go a bit deeper if you budget allows. Sheer Flattery has just fallen short in a pair of heartbreaking defeats recently and is overdue for some good luck. There should be enough pace in here to compliment his late running style, and if the main track plays fair he’ll have every chance to produce the last run. Smith stays aboard for Hollendorfer. Camino de Estrella just missed by a head in a similar affair at Los Alamitos earlier this month and with some help up front should be heard from again in the final furlong. At 12-1 on the morning line he’s certainly worth including somewhere. Beaumarchais is a devoted front-runner seeking his fifth straight score and catches a track that has been quite kind to early speed types. He’s potentially hooking other speed today, which may make him a tad vulnerable, but in his current form the Big Drama gelding could easily extend his streak.
RACE 7: Post 3:32 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 4-Daddys Lil Darling; 7-Desert Duchess; 8-Rymska
Forecast: Rymska has won her last three in convincing fashion and today steps into Grade 1 company. There’s no reason she won’t handle the class hike; in fact, based on her rapidly rising speed figures he’s strictly the one to beat in her first try over a mile and one-quarter. The French-bred filly can really turn it on late and we’re expecting Irad Ortiz, Jr. to have her along in time. Daddys Lil Darling is a tad unpredictable but off her best effort she’s more than good enough to pose a serious threat. She’s another with a good turn of foot and has the kind of tactical speed that should allow Smith to place her wherever he wants. Desert Duchess is an ex-claimer that has really gotten good; today we’ll find out how good she is. The Canadian invader may be the controlling speed and if given that trip could take this field a very long way. There’s a bit of value at 8-1 on the morning line for a filly that should be included at least as a saver in rolling exotic play.
RACE 8: Post 4:02 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 5-Americanize; 7-Tough Sunday
Forecast: With the scratching of Masochistic, this race loses one of its strong pace contenders and that makes things a whole lot easier for Americanize. Back from New York where he failed to see out the trip in the Cigar Mile, the son of Concord Point should inherit the role as the controlling speed. He defeated subsequent Malibu Stakes winner City of Light in an overnight race over this track during the fall meeting, and a repeat of that effort today should be more than good enough. As a saver, you may want to include Tough Sunday, a sharp comeback winner on grass in November at Del Mar but equally effective on the main track. The Miyadi-trained gelding should enjoy a lovely pace-stalking trip and have every chance from the quarter pole home.
RACE 9: Post 4:32 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 4-Rye Patch; 7-Orino; 12-Lewis Vale
Forecast: Here’s a grass grab bag if there ever was one. Rye Patch was a voided claim last October and has been off for three months, but if he’s feeling good today he’s certainly good enough to win. Most effective on the lead, the Baltas-trained gelding is facing other speed types but if he can shake loose early he could roll all the way to the wire. Orino is a dangerous New York invader from the Jacobson barn. He does his best running from off the pace, so quick early fractions – entirely possibly in this event – will aid his chances considerably. Lewis Vale – the “other” Jacobson - gets the worst of the draw and clearly is a “need the lead” type but he’s fast on numbers and could be tough if can somehow negotiate his preferred trip. Since the projected race flow favors Orino, we’ll put him on top but, nothing would surprise us in this chaotic affair.