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Friday, February 19: National Prime Plays

by Jeff Siegel

February 19, 2021

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6.

Golden Hour Pick-4 (final two races from Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita Park)

Ticket: ($6.00)
Leg 1: 4, 7
Leg 2: 1
Leg 3: 2, 4
Leg 4: 1, 2, 5

Leg 1 – Eighth Race (Santa Anita)
Use: 4-Defense Wins; 7-Eel Point

We’ll double the first leg of today’s Golden Hour Pick-4. Defense Wins has the proper style for this extended sprint distance, and although failing to deliver the goods as the favorite in two of his last three outings the D. O’Neill-trained gelding shouldn’t have any excuses today. He won’t have to be used early to gain a favorable second flight, stalking position, and with anything close to his best effort he’ll be hard to contain in the final furlong. Eel Point, a bit rusty when a non-threatening fifth vs. starter’s allowance foes on New Year’s Day, shows a healthy work pattern since and drops for the money while stretching out to his preferred seven furlong trip. Comfortably drawn outside, switches to J. J. Hernandez, and is fast enough on numbers to win at this level.

Leg 2 - Seventh Race (Golden Gate Fields)
Single: 1-Party Spirit

Party Spirit made a successful U.S. debut last month when beating maidens convincingly in a race that that produced a next-out win by the runner-up, and today she moves into first-level allowance company while shortening to a sprint, The M. Badilla-trained filly appears to have a sharp turn of foot, so this drop back in trip shouldn’t be an issue, though she’ll need good racing luck from her rail draw. Two easy breezes since she raced are a positive sign, so at 6-1 on the morning line this English import offers good wagering value both in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.

Leg 3 – Ninth Race (Santa Anita)
Use: 2-Ultimate Hy; 4-Rockie Causeway

Ultimate Hy ran quite well in her debut last month, rallying after a slow start to finish an eager second over this course and distance when facing a similar older maiden special weight field of fillies and mares. She has every right to improve off that performance, and if she does the B. Heap-trained filly will be hard to beat. Rockie Causeway is a five race maiden with speed figures that are good enough to win a race at this level. She had no excuse when out-gamed (and missing by a head) as the chalk vs. similar last month today’s pace flow should be softer, so with a good stalking trip under F. Prat the R. Baltas-trained filly will have every chance to earn her diploma.

Leg 4 – Eighth Race (Golden Gate Fields)
Use: 1-Windy City Red; 2-Cristiano’s Dream; 5-Mister Bold

We’ll go three-deep in our Golden Hour Pick-4 ticket in this allowance/optional claiming sprint restricted to 3-year-olds. Santa Anita shipper Mister Bold crushed a state-bred field last month with speed figures that makes him clearly the one to beat. He’s perfect in three starts around one turn; the only real question mark is the all-weather surface, which he’ll be competing over for the first time. Windy City Red, another SoCal invader, makes his first start since being gelded for high-percentage trainer J. Wong and broke his maiden over this synthetic surface last summer. He’ll be running on late. Cristiano’s Dream was a pleasing debut winner from off the pace last month, gets an extra half furlong to work with today, and with a forward move could be heard from in the final furlong.