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, the reader is 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, December 26, 2016
RACE 1: Post 12:00 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 3-Rcatcanscat; 4-Perfect Cocktail; 8-Rally Back
Rcatcanscat has finished first across the wire in her last pair, though two races back she was disqualified for causing interference. That allowed the daughter of Discreet Cat to come right back vs. maiden claimers in her next start, and she won again, this time without mishap while earning a career top speed figure, one that makes her a strong fit in this starter’s allowance event. The Dan Hendricks-trained filly certainly has the proper style for this extended sprint distance and should be heard from in the final furlong. Rally Back won at first asking earlier this month at Del Mar and did so in clever style under Chantel Sutherland, who stays aboard. The daughter of Thorn Song is a fit on figures, has trained quite well over this track since her win, and should be on or near the lead throughout. Perfect Cocktail has an outstanding pattern – his numbers have risen in each of her five career outings – and with another forward move today she’ll dangerous from off the pace. For a video analysis for her most recent workout, click here.
RACE 2: Post 12:29 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 2-Sawbuck; 6-Classic Ruler; 7-Burnt Cognac
The second half of the early daily double is a maiden $50,000 claimer for state-bred juveniles and requires a spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll go three-deep but not with any great degree of confidence. Sawbuck, a beaten choice in his last pair, switches to Flavien Prat and continues to look sharp in the a.m., so improvement is possible. He’s a fit on figures and may deserve one more chance, so clearly he’s a tough one to trust. Burnt Cognac, third in his last pair vs. maiden special weight company two-turning on turf, shows up in a seller sprinting on dirt today, not really a sign of confidence from his connections, and he is catalogued to be sold in the Barretts January Sale. However, his recent work tab looks sharp, so at this level under these conditions the Richard Mandella-trained colt is a “must use.” Classic Ruler produced a significant forward move in his second start, finishing a solid runner-up while more than three clear of the rest, and the son of Tribal Rule really won’t have to improve much today to earn his diploma. He’s not a particularly quick type but has a steady, grinding style and should have every chance from the top of the stretch to the wire.
RACE 3: Post 12:59 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 4-Law Abidin Citizen; 6-Awesome Heights; 9-Dabster
This strong maiden sprint for 2-year-olds has several possibilities. To view a video workout analysis of the race that focuses on several key first time starters, click here. Debuting Dabster is one of three in the field from the Bob Baffert barn; he brought $1 million at the Fasig-Tipton March Sale earlier this year and finally makes it to the races 10 months later. The son of Curlin has shown plenty of ability in the a.m. but realistically shouldn’t be expected to show his best stuff until tried over a distance of ground. Still, he might be good enough to win first crack out of the box. First Degree Burn was ignored on the tote (19-1) in his debut last month but actually ran well after a slow start to wind up a distant second behind his highly-regarded Baffert-trained stablemate Beach Bum. The son of Pioneeerof the Nile appears well-suited for this distance and we’re expecting he’ll be coming on late once again. To price players, Awesome Heights has the look of a sneaky type. After producing a menacing wide move and then flattening out in his debut going long on the lawn, the son of Awesome Again backs up in trip and switches to the dirt for a barn that has superior stats with second-time starters. The Neil Drysdale-trained colt continues to look good in the a.m. and could easily produce a significant late move. We’ll try to survive and advance using just these three, though if your budget allows there are several others in here – So Conflated and Pavelski to name a couple – that are worth consideration.
RACE 4: Post: 1:29 PT. Grade: B
Use: 1-Rye Patch; 2-Champagne Charley; 3-Buster Douglas
Our West Coast Day Maker, Prime Attraction, was re-entered in a similar race on Friday (Dec. 30), so we assume he’ll be scratched today. Champagne Charley, who appeared in one of our Black Book segments a few weeks ago (to view, click here), gets an extra furlong to work with today and has a legitimate chance to produce the last run for the always-potent team of Rafael Bejarano and Simon Callaghan. The French-bred gelding rallied into the teeth of slow fractions in a better-than-looked effort earlier this month at Del Mar to wind up third vs. similar competition and shows a bullet half-mile workout since. Buster Douglas finished with interest to be a respectable third in his U.S. debut last month over this course vs. similar foes and has every right to benefit from the outing. Group-1 placed in his native Brazil, the lightly-raced colt has low profile connections but enough ability to warrant inclusion in the exotics. Rye Patch appears the best of the speed types and likely will employ gate-to-wire tactics from his inside post. We’ll include him on our ticket, though the Hard Spun gelding may have a little less upside than the other two.
RACE 5: Post 1:59 PT. Grade: B
Use: 2-Selcourt; 5-Beautiful Princess; 9-Ruby Trust
Juvenile fillies sprint five and one-half furlongs in fifth race, which on paper looks strong and contentious. To view a video workout analysis of this race, click here. Selcourt figures to receive plenty of play based on a series of very impressive recent drills. The John Sadler barn has very strong stats with debut runners, so we suspect this daughter of Tiz Wonderful is ready to roll. Beautiful Princess brought $575,000 at the OBS March Sale (where she breezed a blistering 9 4/5 seconds) and she finally makes it to the races with a strong, healthy work tab that should have her fit and ready. Though bred to run long on both sides of her pedigree, the daughter of Giant’s Causeway appears to have plenty of zip. Yet a third fast-working first-timer is Meanie Irenie, certainly bred to win early (Henny Hughes) and showing plenty of ability in the morning for Baltas. She lands Rafael Bejarano, so we’ll toss her in as well.
RACE 6: Post 2:31 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 2-Hobbits Hero; 5-Ohio; 9-He Will; 11-Bettys Bambino
The San Simeon Stakes is a downhill slalom event that is the epitome of a grass grab bag, with the majority of the 14 runners having a legitimate case. For a video analysis focusing on recent workouts of some of the main contenders, click here. Ohio has yet to live up to expectations but today might be his day. He runs well fresh, tries a jockey switch to Dylan Van Dyke, was a winner in Brazil over the type of soft ground that he’ll encounter today, and his troubled effort over this course and distance in the Eddie D. Stakes gives him a legitimate excuse for his last outing. With plenty of pace signed on, the Paulo Lobo-trained horse should have every chance to produce a winning late bid. Bettys Bambino has been away for almost two years, but his recent workouts have been sensational and he’s a true horse-for-course (five wins in six starts down the hill). With Joel Rosario taking the call, this Peter Eurton-trained gelding looks extremely live. He Will is a rapidly progressing gelding with five wins in just 10 career starts, and his career top effort over a distance of ground on turf in his most recent outing at Del Mar underlines his versatility. He switches to Prat and should be a threat from off the pace. Hobbits Hero is another Santa Anita course specialist (seven wins in 12 starts), and while he’s been facing considerably easier foes lately, the veteran gelding in Richard Baltas’ barn deserves consideration at 15-1 on the morning.
RACE 7: Post 3:01 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 3-Finley’sluckycharm; 7-Enola Gray
Finley’sluckycharm is unbeaten in five sprint races (her only defeat came two-turning) and she arrives in California fresh from a career top eight and one-half length romp in the listed Dream Supreme Stakes at Churchill Downs last month. This will be by far her toughest assignment, but the daughter of Twirling Candy is a strong fit on speed figures and should be up to the task. The main question is whether she’ll be able to stalk and win rather than dominate on the lead like she has in all of her previous victories. To view a video interview with trainer Bret Calhoun discussing her chances in the La Brea Stakes, click here. Enola Gray has at least as much early zip as Finley’sluckycharm and perhaps even a bit more. The rating tactics that her connections have been employing of late have been robbing her of her best weapon – her natural speed – and today, with the switch to Mike Smith, we’re expecting the Phil D’Amato-trained daughter of Grazen to be let roll early. She’s a perfect two-for-two over the Santa Anita main track and is more that fast enough on pure numbers to win, assuming she returns to her best form. For a video workout analysis of some of the major contenders in this race, click here.
RACE 8: Post 3:31 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 4-Ten Blessings; 7-Sharp Azteca
The Malibu Stakes over seven furlongs looks made to order for Sharp Azteca, a superior one-turn runner who arrives from the East following a career-top triumph at this same extended sprint trip in the City of Laurel Stakes in Maryland last month. The son of Freud clearly looks like the best of the pace-pressing types – he might even wind up being the controlling speed – and he’s been here for the better part of the month preparing specifically for this race. Ten Blessings demolished a first-level allowance field over this track and distance on Breeders’ Cup day and did so with the kind of speed figure that makes him a major player right back despite the class hike. The Smart Strike colt likes to settle and finish and may be the one that ‘Azteca has to worry about in the final furlong. Both should be included in rolling exotic play. For a video workout analysis featuring some of the major contenders in this race, click here.
RACE 9: Post 4:01 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 3-Moonlight Drive; 4-Conquest Enforcer; 8-Frank Conversation
The finale is the Mathis Brothers Mile, a turf event restricted to 3-year-olds that marks the local debut of Conquest Enforcer, an excellent Canadian invader now in the D’Amato barn. The son of Into Mischief has worked like he’s fit and ready for a major performance, and although his best form came in turf sprints at Woodbine, he did win a stakes over a distance of ground as a two-year-old by nearly seven lengths, so today’s trip should be well within his range. Frank Conversation captured the Twilight Derby over the local lawn in the fall and then was a highly-respectable third in the Hollywood Derby at Del Mar last month when earning a career top number. He’s backing up to a flat mile today but shorter trip won’t be an issue, and in his present form the Doug O’Neill-trained colt looks very much like the one to beat. Moonlight Drive is a prototype turf miler and is perfect in two starts at Santa Anita; the Baffert-trained Italian-bred colt has excellent tactical speed and should fire his best shot from just behind the leading group. Toss him in at 6-1 on the morning line. For a video workout analysis featuring some of the major contenders in this race, click here.
Monday, December 26, 2016
RACE 1: Post 12:00 ET. Grade: C+
Use: 1-Silent Admirer; 5-Crazy Frank C; 11-General Sham’mah
RACE 2: Post 12:30 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 7-All Over Me; 8-Hampstead Heath
RACE 3: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 6-Kid’s Kid; 7-Over the Limit
RACE 4: Post: 1:30 ET. Grade: X
Use: 8-Defer Heaven
RACE 5: Post 2:00 ET. Grade: C
Use: 9-Magician’s Vanity; 10-Kenitra; 11-Bareeqa
RACE 6: Post 2:30 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 5-Smarties Greatness; 12-Satire
RACE 7: Post 3:01 ET. Grade: B+
Use: 8-Appealing Briefs; 10-Gorgeous Kitten; 11-Rollin Smoke
RACE 8: Post 3:32 ET. Grade: B
Use: 5-Alsinaafy; 7-Sport; 12-Delta Prince
RACE 9: Post 4:03 ET. Grade: B-
Use: Ice Cutter; 9-Boss Man; 10-Ballagh Rocks
RACE 10: Post 4:34 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 6-Giddy Up; 8-Banree; 9-Bodacious Babe
RACE 11: Post 5:05 ET. Grade: B-
Use: 7-R Way to Escape; 8-Draft