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: 1:00 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 4-Greenbow
Forecast: Greenbow continues to improve with racing and earned a career top speed figure when a sharp runner-up (flew home, simply ran out of room) in a similar starter optional claimer over this course and distance in late April. The lightly raced son of Runhappy is reunited with “win rider” Umberto Rispoli, shows a healthy series of workouts since raced, and should be along in time in this extended grass sprint that fits his style perfectly. At 9/5 on the morning line (and likely to go lower) he’s a win play and rolling exotic single.
RACE 2: Post: 1:34 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 4-Goldenspa
Backups/savers: 3-Tenth Street Don.
Forecast: Goldenspa finished a respectable third in a similar restricted (nw-2) $32,000 claiming abbreviated sprint and today gets an extra half furlong to work in a soft race for the level. He’s most effective when held up early and allowed to run late and given that type of ride the son of Goldencents should be able to produce a winning late kick. The Doug O’Neill-trained colt will receive the bulk of our play, but in rolling exotics we’ll also have a ticket or two that includes Tenth Street Don. The son of Practical Joke had little behind him when registering a more than 14 length demolition of bottom rung maiden claiming foes last month, but he did so while earning a career top speed figure, one that if repeated today makes him a reasonable contender.
RACE 3: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 4-Jetover; 3-Mucho Del Oro
Forecast: We’ll double the third race, an extended turf sprint for starter $50,000 optional claimers that drew just five starters. Jetovator is a five time winner over the Santa Anita lawn and most recently dug down deep under pressure to capture a fast sprint in extra game fashion. The veteran son of Grazen catches a favorable pace scenario and that projects him to be the controlling speed, so there’s little reason to believe the Peter Eurton-trained gelding can’t win right back. Mucho Del Oro is worth including on your ticket or two as well. The Vladimir Cerin-trained gelding loves the local lawn (four wins from seven starts) and seems likely to settle into a comfortable pace stalking position and then have every chance from the quarter pole home.
RACE 4: Post: 2:41 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 5-Miss Joannie
Forecast: Miss Joannie has little to beat in this bottom rung maiden $20,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares and seems quite likely to go lower than her morning line of 5/2. The Dean Pederson-trained daughter of Cairo Prince drops from the maiden $50,000 ranks for the first time, shows the blinkers off angle that we like, and has speed figures that are more than good enough to win against this group. The switch from grass back to dirt shouldn’t be an issue in a race that will allow her to be comfortably placed on the lead or in an ideal stalking position. She’s a logical rolling exotic single.
RACE 5: Post: 3:14 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 5-Reckless Spirit
Backups/savers: 4-Seven Wonders.
Forecast: Reckless Spirit appears to have found a winning spot in this first level allowance turf affair after being a tad unlucky when third, beaten a neck, in a similar event over a mile last month. Today, at nine furlongs, the son of Tapit should be able to settle off what certainly will be a slow pace and the accelerate when given his cue. The Phil D’Amato-trained gelding retains top rider Juan Hernandez, is strong on speed figures, and probably will go a bit lower than his listed morning line of 8/5. Seven Wonders should be included on a ticket or two as a saver. He’s certain to inherit a nice stalking trip and be a legitimate threat repeat after his most recent race, a sharp runner-up performance with a career top speed figure over 10 furlongs at this level in mid-March.
RACE 6: Post: 3:44 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket (in order of preference): 5-Mitico
Forecast: Mitico closed a gap in a quick race for this level last month and today won’t have to deal with the kind of early speed that he faced in that highly rated affair won by Sawasdee. Most effective when he can be on the lead or within striking range throughout, the son of Dialed In always tries hard and is properly spotted in this restricted (nw-3) $20,000 main track sprint. Regular rider Jose Valdivia stays aboard and knows him well. Wegonahavagoodtime has form at Los Alamitos that makes him fairly competitive and has hit the board (with one win) in all four starts over the local dirt strip. Her gets a break in the weights with the switch to good bug boy Aguilar and should have a strong pace presence throughout.
RACE 7: Post: 4:14 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 5-Neon Lights; 2-Watsonville
Backups/savers: 7-Pure Fire.
Forecast: Neon Lights probably was best when nosed out in a similar maiden turf dash last month – he was forced to steady when impeded by a lugging out rival at the furlong pole - and with another forward move and with an extra half furlong to work with the Irish-bred gelding should be hard to contain in this maiden affair for older runners. The Steve Knapp-trained sophomore apparently prefers to be held up a bit early and then cut loose late and given that type of ride he’ll have every chance to be along in time. Watsonville exits the same race as our top pick, winding up a respectable fourth in his debut. The son of Jack Milton seems sure to improve with that bit of experience behind him, and with top jockey Juan Hernandez riding him back, the Mark Glatt-trained colt is a “must use” at 6-1 on the morning line. Pure Fire displayed ability in a pair starts last summer as an early 2-year-old, closing well to be third in the Fasig-Tipton Futurity over five furlongs on dirt and then winding up fourth behind Havnameltdown in a fast dash at Del Mar. The son of Practical Joke returns with a steady series of workouts that should have him fit enough, so at this extended sprint distance the John Sadler-trained colt is a contender as potentially the race’s most dangerous deep closer. We suspect he’s better than his morning line of 8-1 gives him credit for, so toss him in somewhere.
RACE 8: Post: 4:44 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 7-Anywho; 2-Window Shopping
Forecast: Anywho could not have been more impressive when remaining unbeaten in two starts in a fast, highly rated extended sprint for first level allowance foes while earning a stakes quality speed figure. She was subsequently flown to Churchill Downs for the Eight Belles Stakes but came up with a fever was never entered. Recent works have been impressive and indicate she is fit, healthy, and spot on for another major performance, so in her first start around two turns and in her first facing graded stakes competition the daughter of Bold ‘Oro will get tested, for sure. She projects to enjoy an ideal pace stalking trip behind Doinitthehardway and then have every chance to seal the deal when the pressure is turned on. Window Shopping is worth including on your ticket as well. A troubled third in the Santa Anita Oaks-G2 behind Faiza, the daughter of American Pharoah ran into a roadblock on the far turn costing her valuable momentum, and while she wasn’t going to catch the winner the Richard Mandella-trained filly almost certainly would have been second. Best when patiently ridden, she will be dangerous from off the pace if the early fractions are quick enough to compliment her style.
RACE 9: Post: 5:14 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 3-Moody Jim
Forecast: Moody Jim moves up a notch on the class ladder after winning a $25,000 seller over this course and distance three weeks ago with a speed figure that is considerably stronger than par for this level. Even if he regresses just a bit, the Irish-bred 7-year-old should be able to win right back in a race that projects to have only moderate early splits. Capable of winning gate to wire or from a mid-pack stalking position, the Jeff Mullins-trained gelding retains top rider Juan Hernandez, who can assess the race flow and choose or adjust his strategy. At 9/5 on the morning line he’s a win play and rolling exotic single.