Jeff Siegel: What You Need to Know + Prime Plays Video - Santa Anita | Sunday, June 9, 2024

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “What You Need to Know” 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.

View Jeff Siegel’s Prime Plays Video

RACE 1:  Post: 1:00 PT Grade: B
Main Ticket: 1-Rose Maddox
Backups/savers: 2-Yerwanthere.

Forecast: Rose Maddox generally is considered a late-running sprint specialist, but her route form actually is quite good as well.  Never worse than second in four starts over this one mile trip, the veteran daughter of Grazen is solid on numbers, lands the good rail, and always has been genuine and dependable.  There should be enough early speed signed on to compliment her style, so at 5/2 on the morning line we’ll make her a win play and main push in rolling exotics play.

RACE 2:  Post: 1:32 PT Grade: C+-
Main Ticket: Shes Just Fluffy; 3-Keychain Girl
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: Shes Just Fluffy broke her maiden in her second career start for $50,000 over this track and distance last September but then disappeared.  She returns in a nw-3 $20,000 seller, which is one condition above what she’s eligible for, but we’ll assume the softer nw-2 for this this level wasn’t written or simply didn’t fill.  The bottom line is that the barn is strong with layoff runners, so there’s a reasonable expectation that the S. Miyadi-trained filly will pick up where she left off in a race that came up quite weak. Keychain Girl held on to defeat a restricted $16,000 field last month but did so with a final furlong that barely shaded 15 seconds.  The speed figure will need to be improved to produce a repeat score at this level.  

RACE 3:  Post: 2:05 PT Grade: B-
Main Ticket: Dr. Soulfire; Johnny Drama; 2-Habeas.
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: Dr. Soulfire is a first-off-the-claim play for trainer S. Knapp (solid stats with this angle) and based on his sharp recent win and today’s lackluster competition the veteran gelding looks set for a repeat despite the raise in class.  He’s most effective when held up early and cut loose late, and with U. Rispoli staying aboard he appears to be a solid top pick.  Johnny Drama was a vet scratch out of a race May 17 and he didn’t breeze again until June 2, so there’s a condition question surrounding the son of Goldencents, who hasn’t raced for more than two months but has form that is good enough to win at this level over a course that he clearly likes (two wins in four starts).  Drawn comfortably outside in the field of six, he’s guaranteed a soft stalking trip while being reunited with “win rider” A. Fresu. Habeas moves up in class after being nosed out in a dirt sprint for $20,000 last month.  Turf has never being his thing, but you have to run in the races they write, so here he is.  

RACE 4:  Post: 2:37 PT Grade: C+
Main Ticket: 5-We’ll Do It Live; 4-Dorie Miller
Backups/Savers: 6-Satellite Heart.

Forecast: We’ll Do It Live isn’t particularly fast on numbers but she has consistent recent form that includes a moderate score at this level last month.  She looks like the controlling speed and this abbreviated sprint distance fits her fine.  In the frame in five of six starts over the local main track (with two wins), she’s a trustworthy sort who will take them as far as she can.  On pure numbers, Dorie Miller is clearly a major contender, though her lack of tactical speed in a bit concerning. She’ll be doing her best work late.  

RACE 5:  Post: 3:09 PT Grade: B-
Main Ticket: Apple Fest; 8-Jai Ho
Backups/savers: 4-Irish Rose

Forecast: Apple Fest shows up in a maiden claimer for the first time and numbers earned over this turf course when facing tougher foes earlier this season make her quite dangerous at 6-1 for the always-potent B. Baffert/J. Hernandez team.  With a clean break she’ll inherit an ideal ground saving, stalking trip and have every chance to earn a diploma against the softest field she’s ever faced.  Jai Ho was odds-on at this level last month but packed it in under pressure in the final furlong and wound up a highly disappointing fourth.  Perhaps she will improve in her first start off the claim for S. Knapp and maybe patient tactics, which she might prefer, will be employed.

RACE 6:  Post: 3:41 PT Grade: B
Main Ticket: 5-Tom Horn; 1-Disobey
Backups/savers: 3-Soul of Midnight.

Forecast: Tom Horn stumbled badly at the start, lost all chance, and was never knocked about when off the board at this first level state-bred level in his first outing since last summer at Del Mar, so we’ll draw a line through the race and give him another chance.  Speed figures that were earned last year are good enough win if repeated, so we’ll put him on top and hope for better luck.  Disobey will be gunned from the rail to make the running and if can shake loose early the lightly raced son of Mineshaft could be dangerous.  He’s been sparingly raced throughout his career but on his best day – especially with the return to six furlongs – he’s right there with these.  

RACE 7:  Post: 4:13 PT Grade: B+
Main Ticket: Man Among Men
Backups/savers: 4-Crosby Beach; 2-Maltese Falcon.

Forecast: Man Among Men is five years old with only five career starts, but his most recent win against a lesser non-winners of two field was fast and visually impressive, so this son of War Front may be capable of scoring right back despite the required class hike.  The R. Mandella-trained horse has excellent tactical speed and can kick it in late but must show that this prototypical miler can be just as effective at a mile and one quarter.  At least he’s bred for it.  

RACE 8:  Post: 4:45 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket: Mc Vay
Backups/savers: 3-Parenting.

Forecast: We’re not sure what quite got into him, but Mc Vay was stunning in his recent maiden win that produced by far a career top and stakes worthy speed figure, and if he can duplicate that performance in this year’s renewal of the Affirmed Stakes he’ll be really hard to beat.  Perhaps the torrid fast pace in that race, which greatly complimented his closing style, made him look better than he is, but after being pitched too high in a series of graded stakes races his confidence-building maiden victory should lead to bigger and better things.

RACE 9:  Post: 5:17 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket: Highplainsdrifter
Backups/savers:  11-Keep It Coming; 8-Charley Pride.

Forecast: Highplainsdrifter ran much better than the line will show in his only start exactly one year ago over this course and distance when running into traffic and losing his best chance through the lane.  Unfortunately, the M. Puype-trained gelding then had to be sent home.  If returns as well as he left – and as a first time gelding he probably will - the son of Mr. Big absolutely can run with this group and at 6-1 on the morning offers a good gamble.  K. Desormeaux was aboard in that race, rides him back, and the work tab is steady if not noteworthy.  We’re expecting a major effort.