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, February 17, 2018
RACE 1: Post 12:00 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 1-Huddle; 4-Croissant; 9-Jersey’s Heat
Forecast: Jersey’s Heat has the route-to-sprint angle that we like and earned his career top number over this course and distance three races back. He makes a positive jockey switch to Bejarano and with good racing luck might produce a winning late bid in this state-bred grass sprint. Croissant is a first-time gelding for O’Neill and has room to improve after a fair effort under these conditions on New Year’s Day. The son of Square Eddie remains protected in straight maiden company so we assume the barn still likes him. Huddle is a first-timer with a string of good works for Sadler and certainly is bred to like turf (Acclamation). He’s a fresh face in a moderate affair and despite drawing the rail is a “must use” in rolling exotic play.
RACE 2: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: C
Use: 2-Shining Armada; 7-Tengas Best Girl; 9-Dizzy Diva
Forecast: Shining Armada, runner-up in both of her career starts, isn’t particular fast on numbers but at least she’s a trier and not much more will be needed to win this bottom-rung maiden claiming sprint for older fillies and mares. Dizzy Diva was off a bit slowly and then closed with interest in an improved effort in her first outing since joining the Hofmans barn. With another forward move, she’ll be right there. Tengas Best Girl is a first-timer debuting cheap, but the works are okay and – really - how good does she have to be? Toss her in.
RACE 3: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: X
Use: 3-Hottalabamba; 5-Spectular Move
Forecast: Most Baffert maidens improve with a race under their belt and we suspect Hottalabamba will as well. The daughter of Into Mischief ran very well to be second in her debut at Los Alamitos in December and returns in a soft spot. She’s the logical top pick, though at 8/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower she probably won’t offer much wagering value. Spectacular Move flashed decent speed in her debut before steadily weakening to wind up fourth last month and, like Hottalabamba, has every right to move forward. Prat stays aboard, a positive sign.
RACE 4: Post: 1:30 PT. Grade: C
Use: 2-Here and There; 3-Well Measured; 4-Jes Jaa
Forecast: Jes Jaa ran very well on New Year’s Day when third vs. similar foes; a repeat of that effort today puts him in the picture once again. In a field without much early zip, the son of Big Drama looks dangerous on or near a moderate pace. Well Measured drops to his lowest level ever and should greatly appreciate the softer company. Here’s the negative: he has failed to win the last five times he’s been favored, making him a tough one to trust. Here and There hails from a hot barn, has enough speed to be within range throughout and shows numbers that make him a strong fit at this level. In a race that we’ll otherwise pass, all three should be included in rolling exotic play.
RACE 5: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 3-Hay Dude; 9-General Ike; 11-Coastline
Forecast: The Pick-6 begins with an inscrutable downhill turf sprint for $25,000 claimers. We’ll go three-deep but best advice is to use as many as you can afford to. Coastline, a $25,000 Carava claim, lands the cozy outside post and really won’t have to improve much for his new connections to win. The veteran son of Speightstown has plenty back class to lean on and switches to Bejarano. General Ike, second as the favorite in the same race Coastline finished third in, should fire another big shot but is developing a bit of a reputation as one who might prefer to run second or third rather than win. Hay Dude, a route-to-sprint play returning from the Bay Area, has four prior wins over the local lawn (both sprinting and routing), switches to Nakatani, and sports a bullet blowout last week. He’s 10-1 on the morning line and at that price may offer the best value in the field.
RACE 6: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: C
Use: 4-Trapper Peak; 7-Sharon’s Fury; 8-Grocas Dream
Forecast: The sixth race is yet another very difficult affair in which nothing would surprise. Sharon’s Fury was a respectable fourth in his debut for $50,000 but now shows up in a $30,000 claimer, not exactly a sign of confidence. A case can be made that the son of Sky Mesa is merely being dropped to his proper level and if so he’s the one to beat. Trapper Peak, a runner-up in both of his career starts, was a voided claim in his most recent race and obviously has issues, but is a contender by default. Grocas Dream switches to Roman in his second career start following a troubled fourth vs. softer last month. He has a right to improve and is worth tossing in as well.
RACE 7: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: B
Use: 1-Insta Erma; 2-Madame Dancealot; 3-Sweet Charity
Forecast: Insta Erma just failed as the event money favorite in a similar event over this course and distance last month but may have gone after the leader a little early and then paid for it late. She should get a more patient ride today with the switch to Blanc, and from her rail post projects to enjoy an ideal ground-saving trip. Madame Dancealot rallied wide into the teeth of slow fractions and just fell short when second in the American Oaks in her most recent outing. She’ll try older foes for the first time today but if her improvement continues she’ll be heard from late. Sweet Charity was a clever allowance winner in her first start off a long layoff and tackles tougher today. She’ll need to step forward again to be a threat, but at 10-1 on the morning line she could easily outrun her odds.
RACE 8: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: B
Use: 1-Lookie Loo; 3-Boy Howdy; 5-Sigur Ros
Forecast: Lookie Loo earned a giant speed figure when breaking his maiden last month and with another forward move – rail and all – the Baffert-trained colt looks capable of scoring right back. His style is made to order for this seven furlong distance. Boy Howdy was a voided claim following a highly-rated $32,000 claiming win last month; today he’s protected by Spawr so we’ll assume he’s sharp and healthy. We’ll see if he can be just as effective at seven furlongs as he is at six; so far in his career that hasn’t been the case. Sigur Ros crushed a maiden field at Golden Gate Fields last month; this is clearly a tougher assignment and he’s going from all-weather to dirt, but the Gaines-trained gelding is lightly-raced and logically has further improvement in him.
RACE 9: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: B
Use: 3-Mesa Jones; 9-Royal Trump
Forecast: Royal Trump plummets to $25,000, gets a break in the weights with the switch to Roman, and lands the cozy outside post. The Cerin-trained gelding should be able to control this race either on the front end or from a stalking position. Mesa Jones, back sprinting and dropping for the money run, is a Bay Area shipper with competitive speed figures. The Sherman-trained gelding is stakes-placed on dirt so the surface switch from Tapeta to dirt shouldn’t be an issue. Also, he has the proper style for this extended sprint distance. Let’s try to get by in rolling exotic play using only these two.
RACE 10: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 1-Excessive Kid; 3-Saltini; 10-Gio’s Calling
Forecast: Saltini is improving with each outing and should produce another forward move in his first try over a mile and one-quarter. The long-winded son of Bernardini looks capable of producing the last run at a distance should take him to another level. Excessive Kid and Gio’s Calling are both worth using in exotic play as back-ups or savers. The former can handle the trip and course, is in good form, and should benefit from the inside draw, while the latter is a class dropper adding blinkers for the first time, switches to Bejarano, and has numbers last summer that make him dangerous.