Jeff Siegel's Prime Picks for Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009

Happy New Year! In the 1st race, sharp trainer Ted West returns #6 Kula Girl at a higher price than what he claimed her for following a layoff and that’s always been a high percentage angle. She’s been working like she’s fit and ready, lands the good outside post, and should be on or near the lead throughout. The barn is superb with first-off-the-claim plays and layoff runners and Kula Girl qualifies on both counts. Looks like a logical rolling exotic single. In the 2nd race, the bottom three horses - #5 Dothetwist, #6 Dancing Erin, and #7 Auntgrace - all seem worth using in the rolling exotics. Auntgrace exits a powerful heat at Del Mar and has trained like a better type this time around for Dollase. Baze should have her within range throughout from her outside draw in this abbreviated dash. Dothetwist is strictly a guess, but the San Luis Rey Downs works look enticing, while Dancing Erin earned a good number against M40,000 claimers in her debut and this raise into straight maiden company can be interpreted as a sign of confidence by trainer Sherlock. In the 5th race, Mr. Holmes exits the fast, highly-rated maiden event won by The Pamplemouse and this drop into the high priced maiden claiming ranks is just what he’ll need to earn his diploma. The only colt we fear is #8 Benezit, who also is dropping into a claimer following a pair of sprint preps. In the 7th race, a downhill maiden turf dash, #9 Dream Now should be a relatively short price to graduate (blinkers off, strong recent works, switch to Flores, Canani excellent with 2nd time starters, etc.). However, #8 Royal Easy represents stranger danger. Miller won with a San Luis Rey Downs first time starting maiden last week in a downhill sprint and this colt has trained just as well if not better than Ready Steady Gone, so beware. In the 8th race, #7 Parc des Princes appears to have a decided edge but he’s a need-the-lead type and he shouldn’t have too much difficulty establishing his own pace. He’ll be tough to catch, but #1 Booted, who graduated sprinting on the turf in his comeback and is stretching out for the first time from the rail for Mandella, likely will make a strong forward move today and could make a race of it. In the 9th race, #7 Foxysox looks like the clear class of the race and has trained well enough to be fit and ready. She’s 4-for-7 lifetime on this turf course and Gaines has started off the meeting red hot. Dubai-bred #9 Storybook is lightly-raced and improving for Sadler and should be motoring in the lane. She looks like a logical exacta partner with the likely favorite. In the 10th race, Mullins sends out a pair of long shot types in first time starter #9 Katie G., who has trained like she’s got some ability and is worth using in the your exotics; and #11 Jaylo’s Mark, a Benchmark filly who also has been working forwardly and very likely is better than her first race shows. Toss in second time starter #3 Captivating Lyrics (class dropper for Bell), and you also may want to use #1 Ultra Cat (class dropper for Mandella) and #12 Ocean Style (first time in a claimer) if you’re going to formulate any kind of Super High 5 ticket.