Jeff Siegel's Prime Picks for Saturday, Jan. 17

Great card today with three major stakes and don’t forget the popular Showvivor contest. Be sure to sign up on this website and get today’s selection in before 12:15 p.m. In the 1st race, #2 Don’s Early Flight acts like he’ll enjoy the added ground after closing with interest in his most recent outing and his workouts seem to confirm this. Rosario rides him back for O’Neill and the morning line of 8-1 suggests he’ll offer some value. #6 General Buffet drops to the bottom rung after chasing straight maidens on turf at Hollywood Park and the Puype-trained gelding is another who continues to train like he’s better than shown. Tough-as-nails #3 Sixcess may be the one to beat in the 2nd race. This extended sprint distance is perfect for his stalking style (he’s won 3 of 4 career starts at this distance) and the pace scenario looks fairly soft. Valdivia can place him wherever he wants. The 3rd is a good maiden race for a few potential Derby prospects, among them #2 Millennium Lake, a Storm Cat colt who ran better than the line will show when third behind Papa Clem in his local debut last month. The Casse-trained colt was victimized by the lack pace and did well to wind up third while passing a few rivals in the drive. The logical favorite is #3 Mayor Marv, a talented colt who just can’t seem to beat a good colt (but it takes a good colt to beat him). Also worth considering is the Richard Mandella-trained #9 Meteore, who gets Gomez for his third career start and should continue to improve, although the outside post does him no favors. The late Pick-4 (races 6-7-8-9) may offer the best value on today’s program. The 6th race is the Santa Ynez Stakes for 3-year-old fillies and trainer John Sadler has it surrounded with #8 Evita Argentina and #9 Alpha Kitten. Evita Argentina won the Mocassin Stakes at this distance at Hollywood Park in late November but her deep closing style might be impacted by a lack of early pace in this race. She’s a quality filly, though, and if he can manage to stay within range early she’ll be tough to contain late. Alpha Kitten has more tactical speed, a comfortable outside post and a series of very impressive recent workouts to indicate she’s right on edge for her best race. She was disappointing in the Hollywood Starlet Stakes last month when flattening out in the lane, but she’s back around one turn today and seven furlongs should be her ideal trip. The San Rafael Stakes goes as the 7th race and #6 Square Eddie, who followed an impressive win in his U.S. debut in the Breeders’ Futurity with outstanding runner up try in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, likely to be a short price. He’s trained like he’s fit and ready for O’Neill and his good tactical speed should keep him clear of trouble. This is not a one horse race, however. Trainer Julio Canani remains sky high on the #1 The Pamplemousse – he was being shopped around earlier this meeting for $1 million – and with continued improvement from his good inside draw the Kafwain colt could throw his hat into the Derby ring. And #4 Ryehill Dreamer wasn’t that far removed from Square Eddie in England based on his Racing Post speed figures last summer, and has trained well enough for John Shirreffs to warrant using in the exotics. The San Fernando Stakes occupies the 8th race and #7 Madeo and jockey Mike Smith are due for some luck. Likely best when second in the Oak Tree Derby but settling for second after traffic trouble in midstretch, the son of Mizzen Mast encountered even worse luck in the Hollywood Derby in November when he was blocked most of the way and never had a chance to run at any stage. He’s just as good if not better on the main track and if he can somehow manage to extract himself from the pack, Madeo should be along in time. The 9th race looks like a spread. Or you can single #6 Railroad and hope the veteran gelding remembers how he used to do it. Now 7 and winless since 2006, the Koriner-trained gelding has had his physical issues over the years but seems to have found the right spot to regain his winning form. His third place effort down the hill against tougher during the Oak Tree meeting indicates he still has some life in the old legs, and this turn back in trip should have him right on edge. You also should consider #3 Luhuk’s Dancer, first off the claim for O’Neill and back on turf after disappointing on opening day in an off-the-turfer vs. slightly softer. He’s won on this course in the past and should be forwardly placed in a field without too much zip. Finally, today's Showvivor pick is Alpha Kitten in the 6th race