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: 1:00 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 6-Give Me the Lute
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 4-Margot’s Boy.
Forecast: Though he’s hardly one to trust (winless in eight starts over the local course with six off-the-board finishes), Give Me the Lute appears to have found a proper spot in this six furlong turf dash for older $32,000 claimers. He’s a first-off-the-claim play for a barn that has good stats with this angle and shows recent speed figures that make him a solid fit. The always popular route-to-sprint maneuver is evident as well, plus he retains top rider Juan Hernandez, so this former grass sprint stakes winner should have every chance to regain his winning form in a below standard race for the level.
RACE 2: Post: 1:32 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 1-Poetica
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 5-Kristi’s Tiger.
Forecast:Poetica broke thru the gate prior to the start but then did something that you rarely see when this happens – she won, anyway – and did so like a filly who can successfully take the class leap from maiden to the first level allowance ranks. The lightly raced daughter of Speightstown switches to top rider Juan Hernandez, and with rising speed figures in each of her previous three outings the Peter Eurton-trained sophomore can be expected to produce another forward move. She’s listed as the second choice on the morning line at 5/2 and would offer extreme value at that price, but we suspect she’ll go favored.
RACE 3: Post: 2:06 PT Grade: C+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 1-Grand Tiger
Backups/savers/Underneath: 5-Man O Rose.
Forecast: Grand Tiger has plenty of zip but suspect stamina, so while he’s clearly the controlling speed in this six furlong state-bred maiden turf sprint the son of Smiling Tiger may find today’s extra furlong especially taxing. Still, the Brian Koriner-trained gelding is the top pick by default in a race that offers no other viable alternative. He’s the 2-1 morning line favorite and doesn’t really offer a whole lot of wagering value at that price, so tread lightly.
RACE 4: Post: 2:36 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 5-Sweet Hello
Forecast: Sweet Hello had no excuse when squandering a “lone f” trip at this trip and level at Del Mar last month but not much more will be needed to wire this modest restricted (nw-2) $16,000 claiming field of older fillies and mares. The daughter of Dazing Candy likes this main track (a win, two seconds, two thirds in six starts), and in a race lacking in effective closers the Bob Hess, Jr.-trained filly should be tough to catch as the no value 8/5 morning line favorite.
RACE 5: Post: 3:06 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket (in order of preference): 2-Potito; 9-Nestuka; 1-High King.
Forecast This Cal-bred turf sprint for maiden juveniles came up extremely weak, so nothing would surprise. Best advice is to include as many as your budget allows. Potito had excuses in both of his starts and today adds blinkers, so perhaps we’ve haven’t seen his best quite yet. The Carla Gaines-trained son of Grazen flashed good speed in his debut before weakening; against this group a similar effort could carry him a long way. At 7/2 on the morning line, he’s as good as any on paper. Nestuka wasn’t terrible in his first start when finishing fifth after a wide trip on dirt at Del Mar, and as a son of Grazen he shouldn’t have any issue with the switch to grass. High King hails from a barn whose first timers often run better than they work. The Tim Yakteen-trained colt may have a look if he leaves cleanly from the rail.
RACE 6: Post: 3:36 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 7-Shes Just Fluffy
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 5-Just Is.
Forecast: Shes Just Fluffy had a prior run last winter at Santa Anita when trained by Jonathan Wong and returns for new conditioner Mark Glatt with a series of recent workouts that indicate she’s likely a better type this time around. Comfortably drawn outside in this soft maiden $50,000 maiden claiming sprint for state-bred fillies and mares, she figures to settle just off the pace outside and then have every chance from the quarter pole home. Also, her third place effort in a similar affair in her debut charts well enough to win, so at 3-1 on the morning line there’s some value to be found in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics.
RACE 7: Post: 4:06 ET Grade: C+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 10-Numero Dix; 4-Lone Scout.
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 6-Brother Reid.
Forecast: This restricted (nw-2) $32,000 claiming turf miler for older horses is a bit of a mess. Runner-up in a similar affair on grass at this distance at Del Mar, Numero Dix looks best on paper, though his extreme outside draw is a cause for concern. The Jeff Mullins-trained gelding is winless in six starts since being imported from France, but the veteran gelding earned the type of number than can win at this level in his most recent appearance when finishing second with a good late kick despite a less-than-ideal trip. The barn’s go-to rider Hector Berrios stays aboard and knows him well. Lone Scout has only one win from 12 starts but at least that victory was accomplished over the local lawn. He’s a one paced grinder without tactical speed but has several back speed figures that put him in the fray. Small ticket players and can sink or swim with these two, but if you can afford to go deeper, feel free to do so.
RACE 8: Post: 4:36 PT Grade: X
Main ticket (in order of preference): 5-Eda
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 4-Elm Drive.
Forecast: It’s really hard to get past Eda in this year’s renewal of the Chillingworth Stakes-G3 for sprinting fillies and mares. The daughter of Munnings has won seven straight, eight of 10 overall, and is a perfect four-for-four over the Santa Anita main track. She often makes hard work of it – her combined margin of victory in her last five wins totals less than three lengths – but she always seems to find a way to get there. The Bob Baffert-trained filly should draft into a cozy outside stalking position and have dead aim and every chance from the quarter pole home.
RACE 9: Post: 5:06- PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 2-Six Magpies
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 6-Belmont Bill
Forecast: Six Magpies has been away since last November and has raced only twice overall, so there’s plenty of room for improvement and not much will be needed in this modest maiden $50,000 claimer for older horses over a mile on grass. The Neil Drysdale-trained import has looked solid in morning drills, will add blinkers and Lasix, and earned a speed figure in his lone U.S. outing vs. straight maidens at Del Mar that should be good enough to beat this field. Additionally, his lone effort in Ireland (third of 14 with a strong 85 Timeform Rating) was better than par. He’s 4-1 on the morning line and seems like a reasonable gamble at or near that price.