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.
For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.
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: 12:00 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 4-Percolate
Forecast: Percolate has developed into a consistent turf miler with rising speed figures, and after a clever win vs. first-level allowance foes at Del Mar in November the Michael McCarthy-trained colt returns to the $50,000 starter’s allowance level with the likelihood of a repeat score. The Irish-bred colt has good tactical speed and projects to enjoy an ideal second flight trip with every chance to take control when the pressure is turned on. Foothill launches a comeback for trainer Doug O’Neill and looks like a live item following a smart series of workouts at San Luis Rey Downs that should have him fit and ready. The son of Vronsky has numbers that fit and could easily be a better type this time around. We suggest you include him somewhere on your ticket, at least as a backup.
RACE 2: Post: 12:29 PT Grade: C+
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 3-Goldenspa; 4-Stop and a Tres
Forecast: 3-Goldenspa offers no wagering value at or near his morning line of 6/5 but seems the logical top pick after being pitched too high in a straight maiden grass sprint at Del Mar in mid-November. The son of Goldencents finished a solid second at this level over this track and distance two runs back and a repeat of that effort probably should be good enough to handle this modest maiden $40,000 field. Stop and a Tres shows steadily rising speed figures, and with another forward move he should be the one to fear most. The work tab is healthy, so we’re expecting the Into Mischief gelding to be within striking range throughout and make his presence felt through the lane.
RACE 3: Post: 12:59 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 2-Our Shining Light
Backups/savers: 6-Who’s Candy; 3-New York Dreams
Forecast: Our Shining Light ran extremely well sprinting over the local lawn in his U.S. debut last fall when a willing runner-up in a better-than-average race for the level and then ventured north to graduate with authority in straight maiden company two-turning over the all-weather surface. The Jonathan Wong-trained gelding returns to Arcadia for this starter optional claimer while returning to grass and shortening to an abbreviated sprint and seems quite capable of scoring again following a bullet workout up north and the switch to Frankie. At 4-1 on the morning line, he offers solid value in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics. Also worth including on your ticket – at least in a backup role – are Who’s Candy and New York Dreams. The former, second in his last pair, is fast on figures and will be quite competitive with a repeat of his sharp runner-up try here last fall, while the latter graduated with conviction against a softer group on the front end over the local lawn in November and may offer some price value at 8-1 on the morning line.
RACE 4: Post: 1:29 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 1-Rosy Edge; 6-Alex’s Girl
Forecast: Bottom rung maiden claiming older fillies and mares compete in this six furlong main track sprint that boils down to two main contenders. Rosy Edge earned much better than par speed figures when finishing third and then fourth, respectively, in two tougher maiden claimers last summer and returns in a very soft spot for a barn that has solid stats with layoff runners. If she’s ad good now and she was then, the daughter of First Samurai should handle this assignment, and at anywhere near her morning line of 4-1 will offer attractive wagering value. Alex’s Girl, a respectable third in her only outing last April in a maiden $50,000 affair, lands top rider Juan Hernandez and shows a nice six furlong breeze in 1:13 flat last month to have her fit and ready. She could very well be a better type off the bench. We’ll give ‘Edge top billing but both should be included in rolling exotic play.
RACE 5: Post: 1:59 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 3-Smileforme
Backups/savers: 1-King of Speed
Forecast: 3-Smileforme looked good winning in a slightly softer spot at Golden Gate Fields last month and if he can duplicate that all-weather performance over the local dirt strip the veteran Smiling Tiger gelding can score right back. In the frame in five of six career starts over the Santa Anita main track, the Jonathan Wong-trained six-year-old picks up Frankie and seems fairly solid in a low level claiming affair. King of Speed is worth tossing in for protection. The son of Jimmy Creed drops to a realistic spot and is competitive on speed figures. He’s not particularly quick leaving the gate but if he can avoid trouble from the rail he should be the one to fear most.
RACE 6: Post: 2:29 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 2-Roy C
Backups/savers: 5-The Key Is Unity; 4-Lottery Pick
Forecast: Roy C has been away since October of 2021 but his work tab at San Luis Rey Downs is healthy and may have him prepared for a winning performance in this moderate maiden $50,000 turf miler for older horses. The Peter Miller-trained gelding ran quite well over this course and distance as a 2-year-old when second (well clear of the rest) while earning a speed figure good enough to beat this field. The presence of leading rider Juan Hernandez is an obvious plus, as is the good inside draw that should guarantee an ideal ground-saving, pace-stalking trip. The Key Is Unity lacks tactical speed but has a grinding, late-running style that should eventually produce a winning performance at this level. He’s finished second in his last three starts under similar conditions so maybe today will be his day. Lottery Pick shows up in a seller for the first time and will greatly appreciate the softer competition. Freshened since November and training well for his return, the Peter Eurton-trained gelding is reunited with Flavian Prat and won’t have to improve much at all to be a serious late threat.
RACE 7: Post: 2:59 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket (in order of preference): 1-Big Swede
Backups/savers: 10-Nolo Contesto
Forecast: Big Swede is racing in good from, lands the favorable rail, retains top jockey Juan Hernandez, and projects to enjoy an ideal pace setting/prompting trip in race that promises to have soft to moderate early fractions. He finished a good second with a career top speed figure at this level last month and nothing more should be needed to handle this task. Nolo Contesto stretches out again but had the misfortunate of drawing the extreme outside post. Winless in almost four years, he’s certainly lacks punch when put to pressure but he’s a fit on numbers, so you may want to toss him in somewhere as a saver.
RACE 8: Post: 3:29 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 5-Australia Mia
Forecast: Australia Misa was a decent stayer in South America in group stakes company, though the quality of her competition must be considered suspect. She makes her U.S. debut off a six month layoff with series of steady drills that should have her fit enough, and in a field that otherwise seems well below par for the level let’s take a stand and go with the fresh face. The daughter of Street Sense reportedly has good tactical speed, and in a race that promises to be slowly run early she may be able land a spot galloping along while reasonably close to the front end. We have to think she’s a live item with Frankie taking the call, so at 5/2 on the morning line we’ll make this nine-time winning Chilean-bred mare a win play and rolling exotic single
RACE 9: Post: 3:50 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket (in order of preference): 3-Army Star ; 1-Mister Beams
Backups/savers: 8-Crowning Gold
Forecast: Army Star has steadily rising speed figures and gets a break in the weights with the switch to promising bug boy Aguilar, so there is every reason to expect that the sophomore son of Army Mule can continue his improving pattern and register his third straight win in this starter optional claiming sprint. The San Luis Rey Downs-based 3-year-old employs an effective pace-pressing style and projects to be within range through and have every chance. Mister Beams must leave cleanly from the rail but if he does for new trainer Tim Yakteen he should be part of the pace and be a strong factor throughout. He gets Lasix and removes blinkers after finishing third as the favorite behind our top pick last month at Del Mar. Crowning Gold is another first-time Lasix user with room to improve. He’s a tad shy in the numbers department but projects to get at least a piece of it.
RACE 10: Post: 4:29 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 7-Conclude
Forecast: The known element looks ordinary, so let’s take a stand and single the promising newcomer Conclude in this wide open straight maiden turf sprint for 3-year-olds. As a son of Collected (City Zip), the Phil D’Amato-trained colt has every right to enjoy grass, and his main track workouts indicate he has at least a decent amount of speed and perhaps even more than that. With Flavian Prat taking the call (25% with this jockey/trainer combo), this good looking chestnut offers enticing value at or near his morning line of 5-1.