Jeff Siegel’s Blog: Pimlico Analysis & Wagering Strategies for Saturday, May 15, 2021

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.

​​The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.).  For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.

​​Grade Descriptions:  Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play.  Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.


RACE 1:  Post:  10:30 ET Grade: B

Use: 1-The King Cheek; 4-Hozier

Forecast: Hozier is listed as the 2/5 morning line favorite in this year’s edition of the Sir Barton S., a listed affair around two turns for sophomores.  Based on pure form he’s a stick out but if truth be told, the B. Baffert-trained colt really isn’t all that, his clunk-up runner-up effort in the Rebel S.-G2 flattering his true form.  Sure, he can win, and against this group he probably will, but for those trying to beat the favorite The King Cheek is a viable alternative.  This will be his first try around two-turns (bred for it) and from the rail he’s capable of inheriting the role as the controlling speed, assuming such a strategy is employed.  The barn hits at 35% with a massive ROI with the sprint-to-route angle and one of this trainer’s “go-to” riders takes the call.  The son of Laoban certainly offers better wagering value that the odds-on chalk, so while we’ll include both in rolling exotic play, we’ll press with The King Cheek in the win pool.


RACE 2:  Post: 11:05 ET Grade: C+

Use: 10-Oceans Map; 5-Tapwood; 12-Daddy’s Cozy

Forecast</b>: Ocean’s Map looks more than good enough on resume to win this first-level allowance middle distance turf event but all three of his victories were accomplished in gate-to-wire fashion and based on the projected pace flow of this race the son of Liam’s Map may have to settle off the leaders and produce a run.  That type off strategy has never been his thing, so while he’s a major contender and a “must use” in rolling exotic play we’ll also include on our ticket a couple of others for protection.  Tapwood, freshened since early March, makes his first start as a gelding for the M. Stidham barn (a strong 21% with layoffs) and should settle into a comfortable second flight stalking position.  Overmatched in the Columbia Stakes last time out but properly spotted today, the son of Tapit offers reasonable value at 6-1 on the morning line.  Daddy’s Cozy is hung out in the 12-hole for his first start since last October but is a perfect one-for-one over the Pimlico turf course and has several back numbers that are good enough to win.  The work tab at Fair Hill is brief so it’s anybody’s guess as to his condition but on the chance that he’s fit and ready we’ll toss him in.


RACE 3:  Post: 11:41 ET Grade: B

Use: 4-Jaxon Traveler; 6-Willy Boi

Forecast: Jaxon Traveler is a photo away from being unbeaten in five starts and returned to winning form last month at Oaklawn Park with a sharp tally in the Bachelor Stakes that produced a career top speed figure.  The son of Munnings switches to I. Ortiz. Jr. and is listed as the 4/5 morning line favorite to continue his winning ways.  He’ll be tough to beat.  Willy Boi should enjoy an ideal stalking trip outside and worth including on a ticket or two as a saver.  Winner of the Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park two runs back and then a runner-up in the Sophomore Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in late March, the son of Uncaptured returns to his preferred six furlong trip (unbeaten in three starts) and shows rapidly rising recent speed figures. With another forward move, he’ll be right there.


RACE 4:  Post: 12:16 PT Grade: B 

Single: 6-Judi Blue Eyes

Forecast We will single Judi Blue Eyes in this first-level allowance grass router for fillies and mares.  It’s either do that or spread deeply, so for budget concerns let’s simply try to be right.  The veteran mare, first or second in 12 of 24 career starts and a perfect one-for-one over the Pimlico lawn (a win in her most recent start), she has an ideal second flight, stalking style that should keep her free of trouble, and while she’s not particularly fast on speed figures she does produce consistent numbers that can win at this level.  This jockey/trainer combo hits at a remarkable 38% with a massive flat bet profit, so let’s hope the daughter of Cal Nation fires her usual good shot at or near her morning line of 9/2.


RACE 5:  Post: 12:51 ET Grade: C+

Use: 2-Breaking News; 4-Fire Sword; 6-Baptize the Boy

Forecast: We’ll try to survive and advance using three in this first-level allowance sprint but not with a high degree of confidence.  Spread as deeply as your budget allows.  The W. Ward-trained Fire Sword has had only three career starts (winning twice) so he may have more upside that most of the others.  A 3-year-old tackling older, the son of First Samurai picks up Johnny V. for his first start since late February and will need to improve based on speed figures, but he’s a quick sort with a good recent series of workouts so we’re expecting a career top performance at 9/2 on the morning line.  Breaking News attracts J. Rosario and arguably is the one to fear most, though his record of one win from 17 starts with nine seconds/thirds certainly makes him untrustworthy.  On pure numbers he’s a strong fit but his lack of tactical speed always seems to result in some type of troubled trip.  Baptize the Boy gets back on dry land today and picks up I. Ortiz, Jr. so the veteran gelding should be set for another good effort.  Look for this son of Bandbox to settle in the second flight and then produce his best challenge from the quarter pole home.


RACE 6:  Post: 1:28 ET Grade: B+ 

Single: 5-Mean Mary; 6-Feel Glorious

Forecast: Though she hasn’t been out since finishing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf in November and certainly has bigger fish to fry than what she’s facing in this year’s Gallorette S.-G3, Mean Mary really should out class this group.  The work tab indicates that she is plenty fit, she’s run well off layoffs in the past, and the barn has excellent stats with off-the-bench performers.  The 5-year-old Scat Daddy mare is genuine, consistent, and adaptable at any distance, though at 6/5 on the morning line she won’t be offering much in the way of wagering value.  As a saver or a back-up, we’ll consider Feel Glorious on a ticket or two. She’s the most dangerous of the closers and with some help up front could make her presence felt in the final furlong.


RACE 7:  Post: 2:07 ET Grade: B-

Use:  5-McElmore Avenue; 9-Hanalei’s Houdini; 10-Mischief Afoot

Forecast: McElmore Avenue and Hanalei’s Houdini were scheduled to be scratched out of a grass race on Friday’s program for this similar middle distance main track allowance affair.  Both charted as second-level contenders in yesterday’s race but today they are major players over a surface that better suits them.  ‘Avenue, freshened since late February, picks up L. Saez, is strong in the speed figure department, and is quite capable of winning on the front end or from well off the pace.  Before finishing a close second in his most recent start, the M. Eppler-trained gelding had reeled off four straight wins, and a duplication of his best effort could easily get him back on winning track today while offering a touch of value at 4-1 on the morning line.  Though winless in six starts this year, Hanalei’s Houdini can run with these and his recent speed figures place him directly in the fray.  The Jersey Town gelding has a good stalking style and just missed when beaten a neck under these conditions (while four lengths clear of the rest) in his most recent outing three weeks ago.  Mischief Afoot was disqualified from a win at Laurel Park at this condition in mid-March – a first place finish that produced a career top speed figure – so he’s back at the same level hoping this time to maintain a straight course.  He picks up J. L. Ortiz and is the most dangerous of the closing types.


RACE 8:  Post: 2:45 ET Grade: B- 

Single: 2-Outadore

Forecast: Outadore may be a tad less effective around two turns than he is sprinting but he’s a versatile colt that can handle dirt or turf and can win on the lead or from a second flight, stalking position.  His only prior grass route race certainly was good – a third place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf-G1 last November at Keeneland – so against this level of competition the W. Ward-trained sophomore would appear to be a legitimate short price favorite at 7/5 on the morning line and a logical rolling exotic single.


RACE 9:  Post: 3:25 ET Grade: B

Use: 5-Chub Wagon; 8-French EmpirForecast: Parx form is sometimes hard to trust but there’s no denying that unbeaten Chub Wagon is an extremely fast and genuine sprinting filly.  The Pennsylvania-bred filly crushed a state-bred stakes group in late April to extend her perfect streak to five, and before that she invaded New York to toy with an allowance field by nearly five lengths.  Never headed, extremely fast on speed figures, and reunited with I. Ortiz, Jr. (who won on her in New York), the daughter of Hey Chub is the deserving morning line favorite at 8/5. It will be interesting to see how much pace pressure Dontletsweetfollya can apply during the early stages.  If Chub Wagon is pressed to her limit during the opening half mile, the race could set up for French Empire, who has excellent credentials as well and is a “must use” in rolling exotic play.  Herself a winner of four straight and five of her last six, the veteran daughter of Street Sense can really blast home but will need some help in order to catch the favorite.


RACE 10:  Post: 4:05 ET Grade: C+

Use: 1-Bolder; 4-The Critical Way; 5-Hollis; 13-Completed Pass

Forecast: There’s a ton of early speed in this year’s renewal of the Jim McKay Turf Sprint, but it’s quality speed, so there’s no guarantee of a pace meltdown.  The Critical Way can take it as well as dish it out, and we see him as the most logical pace survivor and therefore the one that deserves the slight edge on top.  Third in the Shakertown Stakes at Keeneland six weeks ago, the J. Delgado-trained gelding has been first or second in 12 of 23 career starts and is especially effective at this abbreviated five furlong trip.  A bullet half-mile workout (:47 2/5, fastest of 28) at his home base at Monmouth Park last week should have him right on edge. Completed Pass is stuck way out in the 13-hole but he’s a not a particularly quick type and may be able to drop in somewhere in mid-pack, save some ground on the turn, and then commence his rally turning for home.  With two wins and a second in three career starts over the local lawn, the son of Pass Rush has a bit of a home field advantage to work with and with good racing luck may be able to produce the last run.  Bolder lands the rail and projects to enjoy a ground-saving trip from mid-pack.  He’s another that is counting on a favorable race flow but if he can sneak through without being stopped the S. Asmussen-trained gelding has a chance to make some serious noise in the closing stages.  Hollis should be included somewhere on your ticket as well.  A stakes winner over this course and distance in his only prior outing at Old Hilltop, the veteran Street Sense gelding lands I. Ortiz, Jr. and may be able to make his presence felt at a decent price.


RACE 11:  Post: 4:41 ET Grade: B-

Use: 2-Yodel E. A. Who; 5-Strike Power; 7-Breezy Gust

 Forecast: Top to bottom a chance in this deep and contentious renewal of the Maryland Sprint S.-G3.  We’ll go three-deep in our rolling exotics, but additional coverage may very well be required if you can afford it.  Strike Power got cooked in a speed jam when weakening to finish fourth in the Count Fleet Sprint H.-G3 at Oaklawn Park last month, but this is a softer group so the veteran S. Asmussen-trained sprinter should stick better.  Two runs back he earned a triple-digit Beyer speed figure when trouncing a strong allowance field and if he can repeat that type of effort today the son of Speightstown certainly can win.  Yodel E. A. Who is listed at 8-1 on the morning line and there may be some value at that price based on this tough gelding’s stalking style that will have him within striking range at the head of the lane.  A close third in a strong allowance sprint at Belmont Park two weeks ago, the son of Creative Cause has numbers that fit and an admirable lifetime record of finishing first or second in 13 of 26 career starts.  Breezy Gust ventures out of his Pennsylvania comfort zone to face his toughest test yet but the Great Notion gelding is a fit on figures and projects to be on or near the lead throughout.  Picking up J. Rosario certainly won’t hurt his chances.  The winner of this race may be somewhere else but these three should fire big shots and with good racing luck figure to be in the picture in the final furlong.


RACE 12:  Post: 5:38 ET Grade: B

Use: 1-Somelikeitbrown; 5-Sacred Life

Forecast: </b>Sacred Life, a willing third in the Maker’s Mark Mile-G1 at Keeneland last month, drops into a Grade-2 event today and in his second start off a layoff the C. Brown-trained horse looks capable of producing a winning late kick.  First or second in 12 of 17 career outings, the lightly-raced French-bred 6-year-old retains regular pilot J. Castellano and seems likely to enjoy an ideal second-flight, stalking trip. The projected pace scenario looks muddled, which is why we’ll also include on our ticket the front-runner Somelikeitbrown.  Always most effective when he’s the controlling speed, the son of Big was chewed up battling for the lead in his seasonal debut in the same race Sacred Life exits and hopefully won’t have to deal with 22 2/5 and 45 3/5 early splits this time, though Flying Scotsman may have something to say about that.  Given the volatility of the pace flow, we’ll include both in our rolling exotic play with preference on top to Sacred Life.


RACE 13:  Post: 5:47 PT Grade: X

Use: 3-Medina Spirit; 5-Midnight Bourbon; 10-Concert Tour

Forecast: The week’s controversy notwithstanding, trainer B. Baffert seems set to saddle the first two finishers of the Preakness S.-G1, with Kentucky Derby winner (for now) Medina Spirit appearing more than capable of winning right back, though this time he won’t be 12-1.  He’ll like draft in behind his committed front-running stable mate Concert Tour and then have every chance to go on by when the pressure is turned on.  ‘Spirit has raced six times, and only has finished by two horses, his undefeated stablemate Life Is Good (twice) and Rock Your World, who beat him in the Santa Anita Derby-G1 with a gate-to-wire performance that earned the highest speed figure in any of the Derby spring prep races.  ‘Spirit won’t have the luxury of a front-running trip in Maryland but given the quality (or lack thereof) of the competition we doubt he’ll need the front end to win.  As for Concert Tour, he was visually quite impressive when taking the Rebel S.-G2 gate to wire two runs back, but less so on paper when you realize it was Hozier who finished second.  Rating tactics didn’t work in the Arkansas Derby-G2 (he was never happy and lost his punch late) but with M. Smith taking the mount there will be no messing around with the son of Street Sense this time.  Something of a case can be made for Midnight Bourbon, who was too far back in Kentucky to have any say in the Derby outcome and likely will be within striking range throughout today.  The way we see it, he’s the only one the Baffert pair have to be concerned with.


RACE 14:  Post: 7:33 PT Grade: X

Use: Pass/No play

Forecast: The Preakness day nightcap is a race for Arabians.  We will pass the race.


Jeff Siegel’s Blog: Pimlico Analysis & Wagering Strategies for Saturday, May 15, 2021

Jeff Siegel's Blog |