Jeff Siegel's "Added Money" - Jan. 21

Trumpet Play Jay, the namesake of long time racetrack bugler Jay Cohen, broke his maiden in his third career start in Monday’s opener and did so like a colt who’ll win again and then some. He’s not quick leaving the gate and needs at least a quarter of a mile to find his legs, but once he gets in gear the son of Orientate can really turn it on. And with Dynaformer on the bottom, the Mark Glatt-trained 4-year-old should be able to stay a middle distance in due time. Eastern invader Smart Bid battled back gamely when severely challenged by J P Hammer and made his California debut a winning one in Monday’s 5th race. He’s a versatile son of Smart Strike who should be comfortable on any surface, and top Eastern based trainer Graham Motion can begin thinking about bigger and better things. Odds-on favorite Hype finished a lackluster third and has made no progress since breaking his maiden in sharp style during the fall Hollywood Park season. Ventana should have been unsaddled in Monday’s 8th race, the San Pedro Stakes, for sprinting 2-year-olds in a race won by Congor Bay. The Bob Baffert-trained colt was steadied and lost his action into the far turn when placed in tight quarters, then attempted to re-rally in the drive but had no room and was forced to alter course twice while trying to run over the leaders. He was beaten two lengths for all the money and was several lengths best. That said, he strikes us as a one-corner horse, although at this time of the year when everybody is thinking Derby we wonder if Baffert will give him another shot going long. I suppose it was Artiste Royal’s turn to win a local long distance grass stakes. The Neil Drysdale-trained veteran produced the last run and nailed Medici Code right on the line to capture Monday’s 8th race, the San Marcus Handicap. Ten furlongs would seem to be Artiste Royal’s limit, so we expect a different winner in the next big turf race of the meeting, the San Luis Rey next month. There really hasn’t been any dominant West Coast turf runner for a long time and we suspect the merry go round will continue right on through the San Juan Capistrano ‘Cap at the end of the meeting. The difference – and it can be huge at times – between six furlongs and six and one-half furlongs was best illustrated in Sunday’s 2nd race when favored Trainspotting, so impressive when winning against a $25,000 field last month, couldn't quite stay then extra 110 yards and was collared near the wire by the late-running The Bat Signal. Trainer Bill Morey claimed Trainspotting for $40,000 and we suspect you’ll see him next up north in a first level allowance sprint (they don’t card 6 ½ furlong sprints at Golden Gate). Somebody – namely A. C. Avila – must have known something in Sunday’s 5th race when South American invader Changing made his U.S. debut in a $12,500 claimer and won as best at 22-1 with a good figure for the level. Avila claimed Changing and it will be interesting to see how high he’ll raise him in class. You certainly don’t see too many 22-1 shots get claimed, especially one coming off a seven month layoff from a different hemisphere. The claiming guys continued to show their sharp eye in Sunday’s 6th race when Steve Knapp haltered the class dropping Asian Eyes from Peter Miller for the bottom price of $10,000. This was a particular strong field for the level and the number came up better than par. Asian Eyes can win again if realistically spotted. She might not be Zenyatta but Life is Sweet gives trainer John Shirreffs another bullet to fire in the older filly and mare division. The full sister to Sweet Catomine produced a powerful late kick in the Sunday’s 8th race, the El Encino Stakes, to easily handle the perfect trip favorite Country Star to win going away. She should be a short price to win right back in the La Canada Stakes next month. Another pretty good effort by runner up Millennium Lakes in Saturday’s 3rd race, as the Storm Cat colt rallied against the grain to finish second behind front-running Mayor Marv. Millennium Lakes also ran well last month in a similar maiden affair (one without pace) and eventually when he finds himself in a race with some heat up front he’ll have no difficulty earning his diploma. Not surprisingly, trainer John Sadler finished one-two in Saturday’s 7th race, the Santa Ynez Stakes, when Alpha Kitten and Evita Argentina rallied from off the pace to hit the wire as the betting public suspected they would. Both have been tried around two turns in the past without much success, and a case could be made that both are most effective as late-running sprinters. Alpha Kitten definitely deserves another shot going long, and if she surfaces in next month’s Las Virgenes Stakes, she’ll find how good she really is, what with champion Stardom Bound expected in the lineup. The Pamplemousse, fresh off a maiden win, became an instant Derby contender with his gate to wire victory in Saturday’s 7th race, the San Rafael Stakes. The pace was legit and the speed figure okay (95 Beyer) but the Julio Canani-trained colt took :12 4/5 to negotiate the final furlong, so let’s not assume he’s a 10 furlong horse quite yet. Runner up Square Eddie had every chance but lacked a solid closing kick in his sophomore debut. He might not have been tight as a drum but will have no such excuse next time when he travels to Oaklawn Park for the $250,000 Southwest Stakes Feb. 16. Nownownow won his first race since capturing the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf in the bog at Monmouth Park when he sprung an 18-1 surprise in Saturday’s 8th race, the San Fernando Stakes, and there was nothing flukish about the win. The pace was moderate but the 4-year-old colt accelerated impressively to win going away in what clearly was the most impressive performance of his career. He’s yet another example of a turf horse acting on the Pro-Ride surface; we doubt he’d be as effective on a dirt track. Next stop will be the Strub Stakes when he most likely will face Gio Ponti and Cowboy Cal in what should be one of the better editions in recent years. Nownownow is trained by Patrick (the Lizard King) Biancone. Sorry, Jim.