Jeff Siegel’s Santa Anita analysis offers race-by-race wagering strategies geared to rolling exotic players. The basic strategy is to isolate those horses that should be included in rolling daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and pick-6.
It is recommended that Jeff’s selections and analysis be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the exact rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, the reader is encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.
A horse’s final (closing) odds are irrelevant to Jeff’s rolling exotic wagering strategies; In fact, the morning line often provides a better indication as to how strongly a horse may be played in the rolling exotics pools than a horse’s actual closing odds. Jeff’s top selection always appears in bold-faced type.
Unless otherwise noted, all horses listed in the analysis should be used in rolling exotic play. Usually there will no more than three horses listed; occasionally, Jeff will go 4-deep in his rolling exotic play and on a very rare occasion he will recommend a “buy the race” strategy.
A=Highest degree of confidence. B=Solid Play. C=Least preferred, or pass. Top selection indicated in bold-face.
FIRST RACE (1:30 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 1-Street Goddess; 2-Myheartsinthecity
The Independence Day opener is carded for restricted (nw-2) $12,500 claiming fillies and mares at five and one-half furlongs. With just five entrants, there’s not much to work with. #2 Myheartsinthecity, in the money in her last three, just earned a career top speed figure when second vs. similar last month; she shortens up a furlong today and it’s worth noting that her only career victory (from 17 starts) came at this abbreviated distance. #1 Street Goddess, third in the same race Myheartinsthecity exits, finished 2 ¼ lengths behind her rival with a modest from off the pace. Her task will be more difficult today with the shortening in trip but with only 10 lifetime starts she may have a bit more improving to do than does ‘City. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics with Myheartinsthecity the logical short priced favorite.
SECOND RACE (2:03 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 1-Tribal Jewel; 6-Ike Walker
The second race is rare starter’s handicap, this one at a flat mile for horses that have run for $25,000 in the past two years. #1 Tribal Jewel is a rock-solid gelding with strong, consistent speed figures and should appreciate this softer spot, although his 127 lbs. impost may even things out a bit. He’s reunited with Rafael Bejarano, who won on him two races back, and should enjoy an ideal, second flight, ground-saving trip. #6 Ike Walker earned a career top number when winning a nine furlong first-level allowance race last month, but he can be just as effective at this one mile trip and should inherit a cozy, pace-prompting trip outside. When this Bellamy Road gelding gets good, he tends to stay that way for a while, so we’re expecting another big run from this Doug O’Neill-trained pro. We’ll give a very slight edge on top to Tribal Jewel but use both in rolling exotic play.
THIRD RACE (2:36 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 1-Lost Bus; 2-Sunday Rules
The third race is the Spring Fever Handicap for sprinting fillies and mares. #1 Lost Bus and #2 Sunday Rules both carry the same high weight of 125 lbs., with the former having the benefit of recent racing and graded stakes winning form, while the latter a true horse-for-course (perfect in five starts at Santa Anita) and with a clear pace advantage as the projected controlling speed. Sunday Rules deserves the edge on top – she’s the 3/5 morning line favorite – but Lost Bus is back sprinting where she belongs and doesn’t have to worry about Beholder today. In a race that offers no wagering value, we’ll use both in rolling exotic play.
FOURTH RACE (3:09 PT) – GRADE: B+
#3 Drefong made his first start of 2016 in a rugged allowance sprint vs. older horses in late May and shrugged it off like water off his back. The extremely talented son of Gio Ponti earned a giant speed figure in victory and did it with plenty left; today he moves up a level and catches another small but tough field. The main concern is the possibility of a speed duel with #5 Guy Code, and since Drefong is drawn inside there’s a chance he’ll be forced into fractions that are quicker than ideal. It’ll be interesting to see if Mike Smith sends from the bell or takes back and tries stalking tactics. In any case, at 4/5 on the morning line, the Bob Baffert-trained colt will be too short to play other than as a likely rolling exotic single.
FIFTH RACE (3:42 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 3-Leveler; 4-C. C. Zipp; 8-Lunar Empress
The fifth race is a stronger-than-par maiden special weight sprint for fillies and mares. #3 Leveler and #4 C. C. Zipp finished second and third, respectively, behind Bendable in a fast, highly-rated race last month and were flattered after Bendable followed up with a sharp allowance win last week. Today’s extra furlong seems sure to benefit Leveler, who was finishing quite well but too late, and a bullet five furlong workout since that race adds fuel to her fire. C. C. Zipp was making her first start since October and paid the price after setting torrid early fractions; she will be fitter today, shouldn’t have to go as fast early on, and could take this group a very long way. #8 Lunar Empress, second in both of her starts in strong maiden races last year, returns for trainer Richard Baltas with a work tab that should have her fit and ready. She could easily be a better type this time around. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics and then press a bit with Leveler on top.
SIXTH RACE (4:14 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 2-Dynamite Charge; 3-Adorable; 4-Line
A field of 10 first-time starting juvenile fillies – many of them highly-regarded – meet at five and one-half furlongs in the first leg of the late Pick-4. #3 Adorable could not have been more impressive when breezing a furlong in 10 seconds flat at the Barrertts March preview session and then brought $450,000 at auction. The daughter of Smart Strike has done everything right since joining the Bob Baffert barn and it will take something pretty decent to beat her today. #2 Dynamite Charge has worked like a good thing for Doug O’Neill and appears to be one of the better two-year-olds in a stable that has plenty of them. The daughter of Super Saver is a “must use” in rolling exotic play. #4 Line has winning connections and a work tab that indicates considerable quality. She’s plenty fit, for sure, and may be better than her 6-1 morning line indicates. Let’s use all three in our rolling exotics while preferring Adorable on top.
SEVENTH RACE (4:45 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 1-Discatsonthesquare; 4-Revenue Virginius
Entry-level allowance fillies and mares sprint six and one-half furlongs in the seventh race, a tougher-than-normal affair for the class. #1 Discatsonthesquare finished third as the favorite vs. similar last month but didn’t get the best of trips and today will be equipped with blinkers for the first time. This extended sprint trip should complement her mid-pack, closing style, and with good racing luck the daughter of Square Eddie can be along in time. #4 Revenue Virginius was no match for subsequent stakes winner Shh She’s Ours last time out but because she’s entered for the $40,000 of today’s optional claiming price she’s eligible to face this easier gang. First or second in four of six starts over the Santa Anita main track, the Doug O’Neill-trained filly should be doing her best work late. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics while giving Discatsonthesquare a very slight edge on top.
EIGHTH RACE (5:19 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 1-Raised a Secret; 3-Forest Chatter
The Thor’s Echo Stakes is the featured race on the day and is carded for older state-bred sprinters. #3 Forest Chatter makes just his second career start over conventional dirt and just his second start at this traditional six furlong distance, but should be primed for a major effort and looks capable of returning to winning form. The son of Dixie Chatter lost his best chance with a slow break as the odds-on favorite in a recent Lennyfrommalibu Stakes and did as well as he could to finish second; hopefully, he’ll come out cleanly today. The Richard Mandella-trained gelding continues to impress in the morning and should find himself in an ideal pace stalking position, ready to pounce when ready. #1 Raised a Secret is just 1-for-14 over the Santa Anita main track and always has preferred to run second or third rather than win, but the veteran gelding is a fit on figures and always should be within range of what promises to be a moderate pace.
NINTH RACE (5:49 PT) – GRADE: B+
Use: 6-Elkhorn Crown; 9-Worldwide
The finale is a maiden $50,000 claiming state-bred sprint that finds #9 Worldwide the 9/5 morning line favorite and likely to go lower. The Ron Ellis-trained gelding ran a winning race last month when beaten just over a length while more than eight lengths clear of the rest, and a similar effort today should be good enough to earn his diploma. From his cozy outside post, the son of Big Brown can pop and go or stalk and pounce depending upon on how jockey Joe Talamo sizes up the race flow. #6 Elkhorn Crown finished second in his debut over this track and distance in late December and then disappeared; the David Bernstein-trained colt has trained smartly for his comeback and is the one to fear most. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Worldwide.