Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s Daily Santa Anita Handicapping Analysis, Wagering Strategies, and Workout Commentary 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: 2:00 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 8-Next Revolt; 10-Settecento; 7-Universal Payday
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 2-Far West
Forecast: It’s probably wise to go to school on opening day at Del Mar to see if any track biases may exist. The dirt strip can be anything, fast or slow, pro rail or rally wide. You really don’t know until you watch a few races and even then it could change midway, so be careful. Next Revolt is racing in good form and is a three-time winner over the local track, so we’re expecting he’ll fire another big shot. The veteran gelding employs an effective stalking style and should be able to accommodate any bias or race flow. Settecento drops a notch below his claim level for an outfit that can get aggressive down here. First or second in six of 14 career starts, the Doug O’Neill-trained gelding is a tad light on speed figures but projects to enjoy a comfortable second flight journey. Universal Payday is an interesting Florida invader seeking valuable ship-and-win purse money. He’s usually a day late and a dollar short but as a one-paced grinder should have a decent chance to at least hit the board.
RACE 2: Post: 2:34 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 6-Dr. Venkman5-Uncle Reg; 3-Bye Bye Ray
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 1-Central Dispatch
Forecast: Dr. Venkman has trained like a pretty nice colt for Mark Glatt and looks ready for a major effort first crack out of a box. A :59 4/5 gate work at Santa Anita seven days ago - View Workout Video - caught the eye, so in an open fray let’s go with the fresh face from a barn whose debut runners often perform better than they work. Uncle Reg got beat by a pretty nice colt when a distant second in a fast, highly rated maiden sprint at Santa Anita in late May. He rushed up inside to set quick fractions but then proved no match late while managing to save second money despite being pretty much spent in the final sixteenth. We’re expecting the lightly raced son of Lea will be a bit fitter and stronger today and stick around longer. Bye Bye Ray displayed decent ability when second in a hot sprint at Oaklawn Park in February but was subsequently disappointing in a route race and was subsequently put away for several months. He arrives from his home base at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico with a series of workouts that should have him plenty fit, and based on his best speed figure the once highly regarded son of Ransom the Moon should fit nicely in this circuit.
RACE 3: Post: 3:06 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 5-North East Star ; 7-My Moon
Backups/savers/Underneath: 2-Sakura Flavor; 12-Strikingly
Forecast: North East Star did quite well to finish a willing third in a fast and productive grass dash after costing herself whatever chance she may have had with a slow start and a wide trip. It’s a bit concerning that it’s taken her two months to make it back to the races, but her recent training track drills have been solid - View Workout Video - so we’re expecting this Phil D’Amato-trained import to take a significant step forward while stretching out to a distance she’s sure to handle. Hopefully she leave with her field today and not have too much to do. My Moon is listed at 15-1 on the morning line and is better than that. She displayed good speed from the rail in her debut in a strong turf sprint last month before gradually weakening to wind fourth (beaten four lengths) while clearing needing the race, and today on the stretch out she might be quick enough to establish the running and take this field a very long way. The daughter of Malibu Moon doesn’t strike us as a speed crazy type, so we’re hoping that she can get the trip.
RACE 4: Post: 3:38 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket (in order of preference): 8-Tenth Street Don; 2-Salute to Wilson; 7-Careless Kitten
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 9-Curly Esa.
Forecast: This restricted (nw-3) $16,000 claiming sprint is something of a mess, so a spread strategy is required. Tenth Street Don took forever to break his maiden but now he’s seeking his third win in a row with rising speed figures and must be viewed as a strong contender. Additionally, his recent work tab is solid and strong, indicating that another forward move is likely. Santos to Wilson has been away since last October and returns at his lowest level ever. The Eric Kruljac-trained gelding has back numbers that can win and has been successful over the local main track in the past, but after a bullet half mile drill (:46 2/5) five days ago it appears the for sale sign is up. Yes, he can win, but we suspect his connections don’t think he’s a long term proposition. Careless Kitten always has preferred to run second (eight times) rather than win (twice), but he likes this main track and may be the most dangerous of the closing types.
RACE 5: Post: 4:08 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 8-Don’t Worry Boss
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 6-Smile Baby Smile
Forecast: Don’t Worry Boss ran a winning race in her debut but settled for second money in a quick race for the level when finishing four lengths clear of the rest at Golden Gate Fields last month. The daughter of Clubhouse Ride should be tighter and tougher with that effort under her belt and goes for a barn that excels (23%, strong ROI) with the second time starter angle. A sharp series of drills over the Pleasanton dirt track since her race adds fuel to the fire, so at 3-1 on the morning line in a moderate California-bred sprint for juvenile fillies there should be plenty of wagering value to be found in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics.
RACE 6: Post: 4:38 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 4-Liberty Forever; 12-Helladic
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 6-Ambivalent; 10-King Apollo.
Forecast: Helladic appears to have the most early zip in the field and has run well over this course and distance in the past. He’s also a first time Lasix user and exits two stakes races that were clearly stronger than this first level allowance dash. Unfortunately, he drew the extreme outside 12 post position and will have to be sent hard to get over and secure a good forward position. Let’s just say that he’d better not miss the break. Liberty Forever is a perfect one-for-one over the local lawn and the works at San Luis Rey Downs give strong indication that the quick son of Dixie Chatter is fit and ready to fire a big shot in his first outing since November. He’s a bit faster on speed figures than Helladic and the Peter Miller barn has powerful layoff stats (24%) so when it boils right down to it, he may be a bit easier to trust. Gotta use them both on the main ticket, though.
RACE 7: Post: 5:08 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 11-Deservedly; 8-Clooney
Forecast: Deservedly is hung way out in the 10-hole in this main track starter allowance miler and that will make his task quite difficult, but if he can get over a secure a decent stalking position the Mark Glatt-trained gelding still might be good enough to win it. Second with a career top speed figure in a similar affair at Santa Anita in late May, the son Nyquist shows a healthy and sharp work tab to have him primed for a major effort. No worse than second in his last four starts, the lightly raced 5-year-old probably has further improvement in him. Clooney, a distant third in the same race our top pick exits, probably can step forward a bit. He gets a break in the weights with the switch to bug boy Aguilar and is most effective when held up early and allowed to run late. If the main track is playing kind to his running style, his chances certainly will increase.
RACE 8: Post: 5:38 ET Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 6-Mr Fisk
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 1-Classical Cat; 9-Conclude; 7-Agency
Forecast: Mr Fisk will be trying turf for the first time in this year’s edition of the Oceanside Stakes, but his female family is all grass, so we suspect this son of Arrogate will move up a ton with the switch in surface. An excellent runner-up to the Haskell-bound Geaux Rocket Ride in the Affirmed Stakes last time out, he has since worked brilliantly since - View Workout Video - while giving every indication that he’s prepared to produce another significant forward move. Listed at 8-1 on the morning line and with main track numbers that make him the one to beat, the Bob Baffert-trained sophomore offers an excellent gambling proposition in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics.
RACE 9: Post: 6:08 ET Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 7-Reiquist; 5-Sir Atticus; 2-Kingdom Heart
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 1-Del Mar Jerry.
Forecast: It’s hard to say how much Reiquist beat when he broke his maiden in late May in just his second career start, but he certainly did it the right way and the number came up strong. This could be a decent sort of colt for Tim Yakteen, so we’ll put him slightly on top in a much better than par race for the level. Likewise, we really liked the maiden win by Sir Atticus last month at Santa Anita and expect the son of Gormley to build on that favorable impression today. The John Shirreffs-trained colt didn’t break well but quickly got in gear to stalk the pace, responded wide into the lane, and then drew clear with authority while earning a speed figure 20 points better than his first start. Today’s extra half furlong shouldn’t be an issue, and his morning line of 5-1 is quite enticing. Kingdom Heart may be the quickest in the field and will take them as far as he can. Today’s extra half furlong makes his task a bit more difficult, but he still must be feared due to his role as the potential controlling speed.
RACE 10: Post: 6:38 ET Grade: A-
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 1-Twist
Backups/savers: 7-Lure Him In.
Forecast: Twist was his own worst enemy (broke slowly, very rank early) when a sharp runner-up (and probably best) in his U.S. debut at Santa Anita last month and anything close to that performance today minus the self-caused trouble should be good enough to handle this second level allowance field over a mile on grass. Recent drills have been quite smooth and strong - View Workout Video - and his inside post guarantees a ground-saving trip, so at 3-1 on the morning line we’ll make him a strong win play and rolling exotic single.