Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s Daily Santa Anita Handicapping Analysis, & Wagering Strategies identify those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.
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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
RACE 1: Post: 10:10 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 5-Salesman
Forecast: Marathons such as today’s opener – The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Stakes-G2 – are often won by pace setters or pressers and Salesman has an excellent opportunity to inherit that role in this mile and five eighths main track affair. Though he's unproven at the distance, the son of Dubawi certainly is bred for it and recent exceptional workouts indicate he handles the Santa Anita dirt strip just fine. He’s exiting much tougher, faster races, and should take full advantage of the projected pace flow (very slow) to record his first win since arriving from France. There’s reasonable value at or near his morning line of 5/2 if you can get it.
RACE 2: Post: 10:50 PT Grade: A
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 7-Seal Team
Forecast: Seal Team has the look of a future star following a very impressive allowance win over this turf course and distance against seasoned, older rivals last month. Back with 3-year-olds in this year’s edition of the Twilight Derby-G2, the son of War Front looks ready to produce another significant forward move in just his fifth career start. The Richard Mandella-trained colt has excellent tactical speed that can cope with any kind of pace flow and has a superior turn of foot when called upon to use it. Regular pilot Umberto Rispoli stays aboard and should have this talented colt within striking range of moderate early fractions from the start. At 6-1 on the morning line, the English-bred colt offers superior value in the win pole and as a confident single in the various rolling exotics.
RACE 3: Post: 11:30 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket (in order of preference): 3-Cody’s Wish; 4-Zozos; 6-Skippylongstocking
Backups/savers/Underneath: 9-National Treasure.
Forecast: We’re convinced Cody’s Wish is most effective around one turn even though the son of Curlin won the 2022 edition of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Keeneland last year. He was probably better at that time than he is now, and in a race that could produce soft early fractions the Bill Mott-trained five-year-old may have his work cut out for him, even though that on resume he completely outclasses this field. He’s looked terrific in the morning since arriving at Santa Anita and appears to be thriving, so we’ll put him on top but certainly not single him. Zozos likely will employ gate to wire tactics and must be considered a major player even though he, like our top pick, is most effective around one turn. He’s got plenty of speed and needs to be allowed to show it. Skippylongstocking has never been this good, though he’s earned more than $1.5 million winning races off the beaten path. He’ll give it his best and has numbers that give him a reasonable look at 12-1 on the morning line.
RACE 4: Post: 12:10 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 6-Inspiral; 2-Warm Heart; 1-In Italian.
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 8-Fev Rover; 9-Didia. 11-Lumiere Rock.
Forecast: Inspiral is an exceptional European invader fresh from two straightaway mile Group-1 wins, the first in the Prix Jacques Le Marois in France and most recently in the prestigious Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket. She loves fast ground, and it doesn’t get any faster or firmer than at Santa Anita. Yes, she’s never been 10 furlongs and that’s a concern, though her connections believe she won’t be bothered by the trip. Frankie knows her well and fits her perfectly, and we have to believe that her top class ability will carry her through in this year’s edition of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. Warm Heart has a terrific resume as well, though she might be most effective over 12 furlongs and way this race over this course might be contested she may be caught for speed somewhere along the way. If the daughter of Galileo can stay within range throughout and is not given too much to do, the Aiden O’Brien trained winner of the Ribblesdale S.-G2 at Royal Ascot and the Yorkshire Oaks at York will have a strong say in the outcome. In Italian lands the good rail and will easily inherit the role as the controlling speed. Ten furlongs would appear to be stretching her limit but if left along and not respected the Chat Brown-trained mare could take the field a very long way.
RACE 5: Post: 12:50 PT Grade: A-
Main ticket (in order of preference): 7-Society
Forecast: This year’s renewal of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint should produce moderate early fractions and that plays right to the strength of the likely pace presser/stalker, Society. Winner of her last two starts with career top speed figures, the daughter of Gun Runner has trained in superb fashion since arriving in California a month ago and appears ready to pick up where she left off at her preferred elongated sprint distance of seven furlongs. She’s listed as the second choice on the morning line at 5/2 behind defending champion Goodnight Olive (6/5), who may not be quite as good as she was last year. We suspect the closing odds will be fairly close and we’ll be surprised if the Steve Asmussen-trained filly doesn’t dispose of Eda (blinkers on, might be sent) when ready and then draw off when given her cue.
RACE 6: Post: 1:30 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 6-Mawj; 11-Kelina; 10-Songline
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 13-More Than Looks; 14-Master of the Seas.
Forecast: This might not be the strongest edition of the Breeders’ Cup Mile in recent years, but it certainly could be the deepest. Several of these have the credentials to win, so trip and pace could decide it. Mawj won the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket last May from world class Tahiyra but then was stopped on. She returned in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland last month and won gate to wire despite being a bit fresh and finding nine furlongs somewhat testing. She shortens to her best trip, catches firm ground that should promote her chances, and finds a field without any real early speed, so it all adds up to another major performance by the Godolphin homebred. She’s listed at 4-1 on the morning line and is worth a good gamble at or near that price. Kelina produced a career performance at 27-1 when leaving her previous form behind in winning the Prix de la Foret-G1 on Arc Day against the boys. The victory was no fluke, as the daughter of Frankel, with plenty to do inside the final quarter mile, accelerated with an electric turn of foot to outrace the high class Kinross close home. Her 120 Timeform rating makes her a major fit if she can repeat that effort today. Songline is another that can blast home, and as the morning line favorite (5/2) must be included on your ticket. The Japanese invader has Timeform ratings as strong any of the others in the field, but her late running style could be compromised if the race shape doesn’t play to her strength.
RACE 7: Post: 2:10 ET Grade: C+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 9-Clairiere; 7-Wet Paint
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 4-Idiomatic; 6-Search Results; 8-Randomized.
Forecast: This may be the most difficult Breeders’ Cup race to predict due to the volatility of the race flow. The early fractions very likely will be faster than par due to the presence of at least four committed front runners, and that doesn’t even include Hoosier Philly, who can be quick if they want her to be, and from the rail and with blinkers being added to she’s likely to contribute to the hot early splits. Idiomatic, Adare Manor, Search Results, and Randomized all require the front end to be most effective and none will appreciate the presence of the others during the opening quarter and half. So, who benefits? The closers, of course, the most dangerous of which is Clairiere, who has done quite well in the morning since arriving at Santa Anita and appears ready for one of her best performances. The veteran daughter of Curlin finished fourth (beaten less than a length) in the Distaff two years ago at Del Mar and then last year missed by a head when third in this race at Keeneland. She’s do for some good luck. You probably should toss in Wet Paint as well. She’s a one-paced late runner that will need a complete pace collapse to have a real chance, but it could happen.
RACE 8: Post: 2:50 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 5-Auguste Rodin; Mostahdaf; Up to the Mark.
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 11-King of Steel.
Forecast: Dual classic winner Auguste Rodin is listed as the second choice (3-1) in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf-G1 behind Prince of Wales’s Stakes-G1 and Juddmonte International-G1 hero Mostahdaf, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the roles are reversed. The former, fresh from beating older horses in the Irish Champions Stakes over the sweeping left handed, Belmont Park-style Leopardstown course, has excellent tactical speed and a terrific late kick, and over the glib ground at Santa Anita he should be set for a career best performance. The latter was re-rerouted to Santa Anita after being a late scratch two weeks ago at Ascot due to soggy conditions and is a versatile sort that can win from dead last or as the controlling speed if the race shape dictates. Both must be used, though we’ll give the younger ‘Rodin a very slight edge on top under the assumption that he has room for a bit more upside. Up to the Mark is by far the best grass performer in North America – he’s captured three straight Grade-1 events – and was spectacular when wearing down the high class Master of the Seas in the Turf Mile-G3 at Keeneland despite not being knocked about at any stage. He’ll come on strongly with that tightener behind him, but he’s a bit of an unknown at this 12 furlong trip. The son of Not This Time must be included on the top line of your ticket.
RACE 9: Post: 3:40 PT Grade: A-
Main ticket (in order of preference): 8-Ushba Tesoro
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 12-Arabian Knight; 6-Saudi Crown; 5-Derma Sotogake.
Forecast:Ushba Tesora is a perfect six-for-six at the Breeders’ Cup Classic distance of a mile and one-quarter and he’s proven on the world stage, having won the Dubai World Cup with a Timeform Rating of 123, making him the class of the race. He enjoyed an easy prep win in late September in his native Japan and arrives in peak form when facing a less than stellar field of older horses and two solid if not top class sophomores – Arabian Knight and Saudi Crown – who may be suspect at 10 furlongs. A seasoned veteran of 30 races, ‘Tesora has won seven of his last eight starts while in most cases settling in mid pack and then exploding from the quarter pole to the wire. The projected race flow may not be blazing but it should be sufficient to compliment his style, so at 4-1 on the morning line he’ll offer superior wagering value in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.
RACE 10: Post: 4:25 PT Grade:
Main ticket (in order of preference): 10-Motorious; 9-Roses for Deb
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 5-Live In The Dream.
Forecast: Motorious has the home track advantage and a second flight, stalking style that can be very effective at this five furlong trip. Hopefully, there will be sufficient early speed to soften up the front running types and this Irish-bred 5-year-old can really blast home over a very firm turf course that brings out his best. The Phil D’Amato-trained Irish-bred earned a career top speed figure when winning the Green Flash H-G3 at Del Mar at this same abbreviated sprint distance, has trained extremely well since, and will offer strong wagering value at 5-1 on the morning line. Roses for Deb is worth including on the top line as well. Listed at 12-1 on the morning line and better than that based on her firm grass form, the daughter of Liam’s Map employs a similar style to our top selection and should have dead aim and every chance from the quarter pole home. The speed figure she earned in her stakes win at Saratoga two races back puts her squarely in the hunt.
RACE 11: Post: 5:00 ET Grade: B+
Main ticket: (in order of preference): Speed Boat Beach; 8-Gunite.
Backups/savers: 8-Elite Power; 6-The Chosen Vron.
Forecast: Speed Boat Beach ran lights out in his first outing in 10 months (and his first facing older horses) when missing by a head in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship-G2 in late September and has trained in superb fashion since that race, indicating he’s ready to step forward with a career top performance in this year’s renewal of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint-G1. In a field lacking in intense early speed, the Bob Baffert-trained colt should be on or near the lead throughout, and based on his brilliant recent workouts the son of Bayern may be able to shake loose early and wire the field at 3-1 on the morning line. Gunite lands the coveted outside draw and is assured a pristine pace stalking trip. He’ll have ‘Beach within his sights every step of the way and off his best race should be hard to contain when the pressure is turned on at the head of the lane.
RACE 12: Post: 5:30 ET Grade: B-
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 12-Arinniti; 7-Gem Mine; 8-Real Fire.
Backups/savers: 3-Irish Patsy; 6-Woodbine Way.
Forecast: Arinnniti makes her U.S. debut and her first start in more than a year in the nightcap, a downhill slalom affair for first level allowance fillies and mares. The Richard Mandella-trained sophomore earned rising Timeform ratings in three starts last year and has trained well enough to expect a good performance off the bench for a barn that has excellent stats with layoff runners. The French-bred filly displayed tactical speed overseas and should be able to settle into a striking position from her far outside draw and then have her chance when set down crossing the dirt. She’s 6-1 on the morning line and may be worth a bit of gamble at or near that price. Gem Mine and Real Fire finished second and third respectively in a similar Hillside dash at this level four weeks ago and both earned speed figures that fit nicely with this group. We’ll include them on the main ticket along with our top pick.