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.
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
RACE 1: Post 12:00 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 8-Erotic; 9-Fengari
Forecast: Erotic is gradually improving and should produce another forward move while getting an extra furlong to work with. He’s a long-winded, one-paced grinder but adds blinkers for the first time and may display a bit more tactical speed. Fengari, with just two career starts, might have as much if not more upside and could easily inherit the role as the controlling speed. The son of Artie Schiller just finished third in the same race Erotic was fourth in and lands Castellano. The two morning line favorites – River Boyne (3-1) and Big Buzz (5/2) - will get plenty of play and you can toss them in if you like, but we’ll try to survive and advance without them. The former has a history of breaking poorly and his runner-up effort in his U.S. debut may have been flattered by the race-shape and a perfect ground saving trip. ‘Buzz has numbers that fit but he’s drawn farthest outside and may be more comfortable at a mile.
RACE 2: Post 12:33 PT. Grade: B
Use: 2-Praetorian; 3-Kanthaka; 10-Longden; 12-Candy Cornell
Forecast: We’ll spread in rolling exotic play in an excellent race with several possibilities. Candy Cornell earned a very strong speed figure when second in his debut at Del Mar in November and should run at least as well and perhaps better from his comfortable outside post in this extender sprint. Logically, he’s the one to beat. Kanthaka and Praetorian were both in for the education in their respective debuts and seem likely to improve with experience and today’s added distance. The former is especially intriguing; the son of Jimmy Creed looked especially sharp in a slow but impressive six furlong gate drill Dec. 21 (see workout). For price players, Longden is a “must include.” He’s another that has caught the eye in the morning, most recently matching strides with Grade-1 winner McKinzie (see workout), and this turn back to seven furlongs after a couple of speed/fade efforts over a distance of ground is an angle we’ve always liked. Additionally, the son of Bernardini switches to Van Dyke, whose stats with this stable are off the charts.
RACE 3: Post 1:04 PT. Grade: X
Forecast: Collected is 3/5 on the morning line and deserves to be. The Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up is using today San Antonio Stakes as prep for the Pegasus World Cup next month and may not be 100% cranked, but he’s looked fit and ready in the morning (see workout) and is unbeaten in four starts over the Santa Anita main track. While otherwise passing the race, we can use him as a no value, free bingo space in rolling exotic play.
RACE 4: Post: 1:35 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 2-Chickatini; 4-Slick Trick; 10-Sensible Myth
Forecast: A race that features maiden juvenile fillies sprinting down the Hillside course normally qualifies as a “grass grab bag,” this Pick-6 lid-lifter seems fairly straightforward with three main contenders. Sensible Myth and Chickatini finished second/fourth, respectively, in their common debut at Del Mar in November and both can be expected to produce a forward. Chickatini really caught our eye in that five furlong dash; she broke slowly and was given far too much to do, but closed with interest after taking the overland route into the lane and today gets blinkers and an extra furlong and a half to work with. We’ll also toss in the Sadler first-timer Slick Trick, bred for grass on both sides of her pedigree and showing a healthy work tab that includes a couple of bullet gate drills at Los Alamitos last fall. At 12-1 on the morning line she has to be used somewhere both in the horizontals and the verticals.
RACE 5: Post 2:08 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 4-Big Gray Rocket; 8-Spectre Bond; 13-Well Measured
Forecast: Big Gray Rocket always has been a real good work horse dating back to his juvenile campaign more than a year ago, but he’s looked close to awesome prepping for his comeback while adding blinkers (see workout) for the first time. Though he was nominated to the Malibu Stakes, the son of Tapit opts for this first-level allowance affair and should draft into an ideal second flight, pace-stalking position at this extended sprint distance. Morning line favorite Spectre Bond (5/2) is considerably faster on speed figures than ‘Rocket, though the latter’s numbers were accomplished as a 2-year-old and are much better than face value. ‘Bond didn’t get the best of runs when second in his local bow for Miller and seems sure to improve so we have to use him, too. We can also include – at least as a backup – Well Measured, a tough, durable gelding with consistently strong numbers and a cozy outside draw. A good horse will beat him but at the very least he should hit the board.
RACE 6: Post 2:40 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 5-Bowies Hero; 8-Big Score
Forecast: Bowies Hero and Big Score know each other well and meet again in this Grade 2 grass affair restricted to 3-year-olds. ‘Score has the better recent form but this shortened trip may favor ‘Hero, who seems to flatten out at distances farther than a mile. The D’Amato-trained colt can really turn it on late when he’s on his game. ‘Score won the Transylvania Stakes in April but has been beaten in six straight since; however, his form and speed figures are solid and this is the easiest group he’s faced since his Keeneland win. We’re expecting the winner to be one or the other, so we’ll play it safe and double the race in our rolling exotics.
RACE 7: Post 3:15 PT. Grade: C
Use: 3-Unique Bella; 7-Paradise Woods
Forecast: This is another race that doesn’t offer much in the way of wagering value. Both Unique Bella and Paradise Woods are capable of monster efforts on their best day and a strong case can be made for either one. ‘Bella flopped in the BC Filly & Mare Sprint while being victimized by an aggressive ride and a deep inside track bias, but we’re expecting to see different tactics employed today. The daughter of Tapit continues to impress in the morning (see workout), so she’ll not likely have any excuses today. Paradise Woods also has looked amazing in the a.m. (see workout) and is drawn just where she wants to be. The Mandella-trained daughter of Union Rags has two triple-digit Beyer numbers on her resume (Unique Bella has none), and though her highest-rated performances have come around two-turns she did break her maiden sprinting on this track and looked sensational doing it. We’ll include both in our rolling exotics but otherwise sit this race out.
RACE 8: Post 3:48 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 4-Favorable Outcome; 6-Pavel; 9-C Z Rocket
Forecast: C Z Rocket is unbeaten in three starts and has been highly impressive in each outing. Additionally, he trains like a super star (see workout) so we’re not too concerned that he’s making the leap from an allowance race to a Grade One. We’re expecting the son of City Zip to draft into a perfect second flight, pace-stalking position from his lovely outside draw and have every chance from there. There are a couple of others in here that are worth using as well, at least as savers. Pavel broke his maiden going short on this track in his debut but has been routing in high class company ever since. Maybe he’s always wanted to be a sprinter? In a race that lacks an abundance of early speed, the Creative Cause colt should be forwardly placed throughout. Favorable Outcome is fast on numbers and a graded stakes winner at this seven furlong trip. Brown doesn’t ship to California too often but he’s usually lethal when he does.
RACE 9: Post 4:21 PT. Grade: C
Use: 2-Incredible Luck; 5-Spanish Hombre; 9-Chris and Dave; 11-Lazzam
Forecast: The nightcap is an inscrutable first-level allowance/optional claiming grass grab bag. We’ve listed four contenders for smaller ticket players but, truthfully, nothing would surprise us, and if you can afford to buy the race, go ahead. Lazzam looks pretty solid on paper until you realize that he’s 2-for-21 lifetime with 13 seconds and thirds. There’s plenty of pace to set things up for his late kick, so with good racing luck he just might be able to produce the last run. Of course, we’ve said this before about him. Spanish Hombre hits hard at this level and should be in the fray throughout. A repeat of his race before last probably will be good enough, but he was beaten as the favorite vs. similar in his last start. Chris and Dave may be faced with a bit more early heat that he prefers, but he’s back on turf for the first time in several races and should be prominent throughout. He’s been extra sharp in the a.m. (see workout), so there may be some value here at 10-1 on the morning line. Incredible Luck has two career wins – both over the Santa Anita turf course – so at 12-1 on the morning line he’s probably worth consideration as well. Spread, spread, spread.