Horse Racing Tips from a Top Race Handicapper

Horse owner, breeder and HRTV analyst Jeff Siegel also happens to be Southern California's premier handicapper. Check his blog each day before you play!

Handicapping, in short, refers to analyzing the race to come up with best predicted outcome, or pick. There are many angles when it comes to picking a winner. Using some of the help from the professional handicappers below, you can determine your own angle on placing a bet. For more information on how to bet or wager, click here.

Friday, February 11, 2011 - 12:03
First off the claim for Julio Canani, Dave’s Ruler seems sure to improve a bunch and a recent sharp workout indicates that he is indeed headed in the right direction. Rosario rides him back and should have this son of Maria’s Mon within striking range in a field lacking in early speed. First or second in six of 11 career starts, Dave’s Ruler seems quite capable of producing the last run and represents value in both the straight pools and rolling exotics at anywhere near his 5/2 morning line odds.

This is a fairly competitive restricted $25,000 claimer and the three listed above should comprise a good exacta or trifecta box. All three should be used in your rolling exotics, as well. Lukimbi has worked well for his comeback, has some back speed figures that make him a threat and could be dangerous from off the pace at this extended sprint distance. He’s worth using at 8-1 on the morning line. Short Memo drops to a realistic level and is another who does his best running from off the pace. He’s a fit on figures and switches to Gomez, so this Walsh-trained gelding is a “must use” at 4-1 on the morning line. Lichtenstein broke his maiden in a high priced claimer recently with a strong number and is realistically spotted in this restricted affair. He’s a lightly raced 4-year-old and no doubt has had his issues, but Bejarano should have him within range throughout and he won’t have to improve much at all to score right back.

Thursday, February 10, 2011 - 10:33
Jax El made the running and kept on going to graduate in very sharp style down the hill last month and she’s returned to work exceptionally well since that race to indicate further improvement is likely. She’ll most likely establish the pace on stretch out and if not pressured early could be long gone once again. Tiz a Bud Girl, second in a solid first level allowance turf sprint recently, stretches out to what might be her best trip and the Sadler-trained filly seems the logical pick with Rosario staying aboard. These two should dominate and figure to comprise a formful exacta box.

Irrefutable is unproven on turf and untested around two turns but he finds an ideal spot to prove he can do both in this competitive second level allowance event. The Baffert-trained horse lands the good inside post, catches a field without much early speed and should be the controlling speed. His sprint figures are strong, his recent workouts exceptional, and the son of Unbridled’s Song should like the lawn based on the sire of his dam, Kingmambo. Smith stays aboard and at 5/2 on the morning line, Irrefutable represents excellent value in both the straight pools and the rolling exotics.

Saturday, February 5, 2011 - 22:10
This Sadler-trained gelding made his local debut in an overnight event in late December and was breathtaking in victory. Wide most of the way while pressing a hot pace, the son of Sarava disposed of his rivals on the turn and was pushed out to secure the victory with a huge speed figure, one that makes him very live right back despite the obvious raise in class. He lands the good rail, retains Bejarano and could be the controlling speed, though he clearly doesn’t need the lead to win. This barn has been on fire of late and should add to its collection of stakes victories in this important Big ‘Cap prep. We’ll take him with confidence at 5/2 on the morning line.

Magic Launch has turned into a win machine of late and looks tough once again as she seeks her fifth straight score. Versatile and genuine, the daughter of Cee’s Tizzy is being brought back quickly and the short rest could make her vulnerable, but we respect her too much to toss her out. Russian River adds blinkers for the first time, is a solid fit on figures and may be most effective as a sprinter. Talamo should have her rolling late. Speeler, our top pick in the race, is improving as she acclimates for Knight and catches a field without a whole lot of early zip. She gets off the rail, retains Smith, has worked nicely of late and may very well be the controlling speed. She’s 4-1 on the morning line and that seems just about right. We’ll use these three in an exacta or trifecta box and in all of our rolling exotics as well.

Saturday, February 5, 2011 - 00:27
FIFTH RACE - #4 SEPARATE FOREST x #5 SWEET HANNI This downhill turf dash restricted to 4-year-0ld fillies looks like a good spot for first-off-the-claim Separate Forest, who recently handled a softer field in convincing style in fast time and catches a pace scenario that should have her tough right back on the raise. She might wind up being the controlling speed, but she doesn’t need the lead to win, and with P. Val taking over and a return to turf, the daughter of Forestry should be double tough right back. The danger comes from Sweet Hanni, freshened since September but training like she’s fit and ready for Cerin (excellent with layoff runners) and already proven over this course. Bejarano will have her rolling late and if the pace is fast to normal she could be hard to contain. We’ll use them both in an exacta box and in all of our rolling exotics.

Waltzing Swan encountered poor racing luck when trying to rally in deep stretch vs. tougher recently, drops for the money run today while retaining Gomez and should be tough to contain with clear sailing. She’s a route to sprint play with a good late kick and will be rolling late. Samba School, nosed out in a two-turn main track $25,000 affair last month, moves up a notch, returns to turf, turns back in trip and switches to Garcia. She, too, will be doing her best work late and if she can avoid traffic trouble the Mitchell-trained import figures right there. At 8-1 on the morning line, she’ll be out top pick, but we’ll use them both in all of our rolling exotics.

Friday, February 4, 2011 - 11:23
Queenofcalifornia was virtually distanced in her only outing last summer at Del Mar but has trained like a decent sort for her comeback and deserves another chance. She represents inside speed with P. Val in an abbreviated sprint so she’s a “must use” in the exotics. Pink Blanket is a first timer from the Glatt barn with good enough works to be given strong consideration. She looks like a very live item with Bejarano in the saddle. One Bad Reason exits a pretty good race in a maiden $50,000 seller and this raise in class can be interpreted as a sign of confidence. Talamo stays aboard for Mitchell and if the pace types melt down she’s the most likely to come and pick them up. Let’s use all three in an exacta/trifecta box and all three in our rolling exotics as well.

SEVENTH RACE - #3 SAYIF x #4 DILEMMA x #7 REGALLY READY This is a good, competitive downhill turf sprint and anyone of the three listed above could win. Together they form an intriguing exacta/trifecta box. Sayif was a high class turf sprinter in Europe a couple of years ago and makes his U.S. debut following a string of sharp workouts that should have him fit and ready to roll. P. Val takes the mount and should have him within striking range throughout. Dilemma, most effective as a late running turf sprinter, took advantage of ideal conditions to win the Daytona Stakes last month and has trained in sharp style since, so a repeat performance is entirely possible. Regally Ready got cooked in a hot pace duel in the Daytona yet still hung on bravely to be third; today’s pace scenario looks considerably softer so he could very well keep going. All three are worth using in whatever rolling exotics you might be playing.
Thursday, February 3, 2011 - 10:15
Let’s try a pair of 4-1 morning line entrants in an exacta box and in our rolling exotics, as both Special Kid and Fusa Code appear to be coming up to this race in fine style. Special Kid has steadily improving speed figures, a decent runner up try to Uncle Sam in a similar two-turn maiden affair in late December, and a very healthy work pattern since for O’Neill. He’s drawn well inside, switches to Bejarano, and figures in the thick of things with another forward move. Fusa Code was a beaten choice in the same race that Special Kid exits but was somewhat victimized by a lack of pace and a wide trip and likely can do much better. He’s another who has impressed in recent morning drills, switches to Gomez for Asmussen, and should have no excuses today.

This is a fairly competitive down-the-hill turf sprint for entry level allowance runners and both C Tizz Run and Kate’s Event should fire big shots. The former exits a hot race, has trained well since and - assuming he can transfer his main track form to the turf – should be prominent throughout. The pace scenario he’ll encounter today likely will be much more comfortable than his most recent outing. Kate’s Event impressed with his off-the-pace maiden tally earlier this season and should continue to improve with experience for Hollendorfer. He’s looked quite sharp in recent drills according to published reports, retains Rosario, and seems especially enticing at 9/2 on the morning line (he’s worth a straight play at that price). Both are worth using in rolling exotics.