by Jeff Siegel
December 6, 2020
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. 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: 12:35 ET Grade: C+
Use: 1-Under the Couvers; 4-Berhanu; 6-Lord of War
Forecast: The known element doesn’t inspire so let’s try a first-timer with intriguing credentials in a wide-open affair that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Lord of War shows a brief work tab for a barn that has excellent stats with debut runners and a bullet gate drill at Palm Meadows in late October. At 5-1 on the morning line, he may be worth a small gamble. Under the Couvers shortens in trip, lands she rail, has a powerful jockey/trainer combo (E. Zayas, S. Joseph, Jr.) and should be part of the pace throughout. Berhanu, the “other” Joseph, Jr.-trained runner in the field, surfaces in a seller for the first time while returning to turf and could easily be better than shown.
RACE 2: Post: 1:04 ET Grade: B-
Use: 1-Company Store; 8-Captain Duke
Forecast: Company Store drops to the bottom, removes blinkers, and should have enough gate speed to flee the rail and handle this soft bottom-rung restricted (nw-2) claimer. He’s reunited with “win rider” T. Gaffalione and owns a prior win over this track and distance. Captain Duke is comfortably drawn outside and is another dropping to his lowest level ever. He’s hit the board in eight of nine career starts and figures in the fray once again. We’ll give Company Store the edge on top but include both in our rolling exotics.
RACE 3: Post: 1:33 ET Grade: B
Use: 1-L’Indiscret; 6-Black Magic Woman; 7-Take Charge Ro
Forecast: Black Magic Woman burned a considerable amount of money in a pair of dirt sprints at Saratoga last summer but we’ll give her one more chance on the stretch out in trip combined with the switch to grass. The daughter of Uncle Mo remains well-regarded by T. Pletcher and should be capable of taking this group gate-to-wire while offering value in the win pool at her morning line of 5/2 if you can get it. For protection, rolling exotic players may wish to use L’Indiscret and Take Charge Ro on a back-up ticket. The former is solid on speed figures and finished in the frame in a pair of Belmont Park maiden special weight affairs before vanning down, while the latter was a good runner-up in a similar affair at Keeneland in mid-October and probably has further improvement in her.
RACE 4: Post: 2:03 ET Grade: C+
Use: 4-Toastnjam; 7-Florado
Forecast: Florado draws a cozy outside post in this seven runner maiden-claiming sprint and though hardly one to trust (she’s a 12-race maiden) the daughter of Commissioner gets what looks like her easiest chance yet. The P. Walder/M. Vasquez trainer-jockey team is powerful so at 5/2 on the morning line she deserves the edge on top over Toastnjam, herself winless in 11 starts but knocking on the door with two recent runner-up efforts and with early speed go put her in the first flight throughout.
RACE 5: Post: 2:36 ET Grade: C+
Use: 2-Reliability ; 8-Strong Headed; 9-Alastor
Forecast: We’ll go three-deep on our ticket in this grass grab bag for restricted (nw-2) $20,000 older claimers and hope that’s sufficient. Reliability was a convincing winner at Laurel Park two races back that if repeated makes him the one to beat. The son of Tapit requires patient handling and with some fractions to run at and clear sailing through the lane the B. Russell-trained gelding may get up in time. Strong Headed drops below his claim level after a poor effort in an off-the-turf affair at GPW that is best ignored. His second place effort two races back charts well here and he’s hit the board in five of six career starts over the local lawn, so on pure form he figures in the thick of it. Alastor is drawn farther out than we’d prefer (he’s nine of nine) but if he can get over and make the running – just as he did two races back when breaking his maiden here in August – the S. Joseph, Jr.-trained gelding may get very brave.
RACE 6: Post: 3:07 ET Grade: B-
Use: 1-Mr. Mazza; 3-Teachable Moment; 12-Seize the Hay
Forecast: This maiden-claiming turf miler is yet another challenging event. Teachable Moment returns off a nearly one year layoff for M. Maker (strong stats with comebackers) and has form last year that makes him quite dangerous. In fact, he shows a speed figure three runs back that would bury this group, so we’ll put him on top at 4-1 on the morning line. Mr. Mazza lands the rail in his first try around two-turns and his first for a tag. The Gemologist gelding certainly is bred to stay a mile, shows a healthy local work tab, and seems likely to try gate-to-wire tactics. He’s 10-1 on the morning line and against this group that’s fairly enticing. Seize the Day, the 2-1 morning line favorite, is hung wide in the 12-hole and will need to negotiate a decent trip, but in his first start in three months at his lowest level ever the T. Pletcher-trained colt has every right to improve. He’ll be doing his best work from off the pace.
RACE 7: Post: 3:38 ET Grade: B
Use: 2-Royal Habibi; 5-Sassy Beast
Forecast: Royal Habibi was overmatched in a recent sprint stakes but is realistically spotted today in this starter’s allowance affair for juvenile fillies. She broke her maiden over this main track last summer by more than eight lengths and should enjoy a similar second flight, stalking trip. Sassy Beat didn’t break any stop watches when graduating at first asking at GPW last month did it stylishly and certainly has a right to step forward with that bit of experience behind her. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with the edge on top going to Royal Habibi.
RACE 8: Post: 4:09 ET Grade: B
Use: 7-All Come True; 8-Centsless Drama; 9-Bean Counter
Forecast: All Come True won her only start more than a year ago in good maiden company at Chantilly in France while earning a respectable 75 Timeform rating, and if she can duplicate that type of performance in her U.S. debut for G. Motion she can pick up where she left off. The French-bred filly attracts red-hot riding L. Saez, shows a solid foundation of works to have her fit and ready for her U. S debut and offers value at or near her morning line of 9/2. Just in case, we’ll include a couple of others on a backup ticket. Centsless Drama has been no worse than second in four starts over the Gulfstream Park turf course and if she can shake loose early without pressure the front-running daughter of Big Drama will take them a long way. Bean Counter, first or second in six of 11 career starts, likely will settle into a stalking position outside and then have her chance from the quarter pole home.
RACE 9: Post: 4:40 ET Grade: C+
Use: 1-Soldollie; 3-Northern; 12-Dr Harlan
Forecast: Soldollie may be the quickest of the quick in this modest sprint and seems certain to be on the engine from the rail. He’s dropping to the bottom for the first time and if he leaves cleanly the Soldat gelding may never glook back. Northern has been popular at the claim box lately and today goes for the K. Mongeon stable while switching to E. Zayas. A winner of 16 races from 39 starts, the veteran Adios Charlie is an admirable sort and is always tough to beat in these bottom-rung sprints. Dr Harlan has burned money in his last three starts and isn’t one to trust, but if there’s a pace meltdown he’ll be the beneficiary. Today he’s listed at 15-1 on the morning line and at that price he’s worth tossing in somewhere.
RACE 10: Post: 5:11 ET Grade: C+
Use: 2-Rule Yourself; 5-Hero Tiger; 11-Pont Du Gard
Forecast: The finale is an inscrutable turf miler for mid-level claimers. Best advice is to include as many as your budget allows. Rule Yourself moves up a couple of notches after being nosed out at GPW last month. On pure numbers he’s a fit with this group and switches to P. Lopez, so we’ll put him slightly on top at 7/2 on the morning line. Hero Tiger always has preferred to run second or third rather than win but with the return to grass (after five consecutive off-the-turf outings) and being reunited with “win rider” E. Zayas he should have a say in the matter. Pont Du Gard stretches out again, returns to grass, drops a notch and switches to T. Gaffalione. On his best day, he’s right there.