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 (2:00 PT) – GRADE: B+
Use: 1-Awaken Hope; 3-Wild Cause
The spring/summer season kicks off with a baby race featuring six first-time starters. Bonde has a history of winning early with juveniles and appears to have #1Awaken Hope cranked up for a major effort. The daughter of Kafwain began her training at Pleasanton but clearly was considered good enough to compete on the “A” circuit, so rather than debut at Golden Gate Fields she’s vanned down to Santa Anita where the purses are significantly higher. A sharp four furlong gate work in 47 2/5 seconds catches the eye and go-to jockey Maldonado takes the call. #3 Wild Cause, from the first crop of the outstanding juvenile Creative Cause, sports two consecutive bullet workouts at Los Alamitos to indicate she’s fit and ready. The winner likely will be one of these two, and we’ll use both in our rolling exotics while slightly preferring Awaken Hope on top.
SECOND RACE (2:30 PT) – GRADE: B+
Use: 5-Hiking; 6-Bert’s Melody
The second race finds second-level allowance fillies and mares competing over nine furlongs on turf. #6 Bert’s Melody, a course specialist with three wins from six starts to her credit, moves up a notch after a strong win at a mile in her most recent outing in late February. She’s been working extremely well on a steady pattern since, is a perfect one-for-one at this longer distance, and retains Blanc, who knows her well. The only concern is the presence of #4 Big Break – she’s adding blinkers and may provide unwanted pace pressure – but if ‘Melody can settle into a stalking positon and relax should the situation dictate, the McCarthy-trained mare will most likely go about her business. We’ll also include in our rolling exotics #5 Hiking, arguably the most dangerous of the closers. The Callaghan trained mare produced a strong late run to beat a softer field in her most recent start and could be heard from again late if ‘Melody gets caught up in a speed duel.
THIRD RACE (3:00 PT) – GRADE: C
Use: 2-Gavination; 3-Materialistic; 6-First to the Wire
A little will go a long way in the third race, a bottom-rung maiden claiming middle distance affair that drew only six entrants. #6 First to the Wire drops to the bottom in his first start in blinkers and his first start since being gelded, so considerable improvement can be expected. The son of Southern Image deserves the edge on top but he’s certainly no single. #3 Materialistic and #2 Gavination finished two-three in a similar event at Los Alamitos last month; the latter came from out of it while the former was part of the pace throughout. Both earned career-top speed figures, though numbers from that track aren’t guaranteed to be repeated at Santa Anita. Both should be included in rolling exotic play in a race that otherwise probably is best left alone.
FOURTH RACE (3:30 PT) – GRADE: C+
Use: 2-Commander Lute; 5-Saint Dermot; 6-Native Ride
The fourth race is another six-runner event, this one for restricted (nw-3) $16,000 claimers at a mile. #6 Native Ride won a maiden $50,000 event in good style a year ago in an off-the-turf affair over a wet-fast track but then disappeared. The son of Candy Ride returns cheap, so he must still have some issues, but the work tab in sharp and Van Dyke, who was aboard in his win, returns. He’s fast enough on numbers to beat this field, so if he returns as well as he left, the Hofmans-trained horse should beat this field. #2 Commander Lute moves up from $12,500 (nw-2) following a facile score at Los Alamitos with a career-top figure while on the pace throughout. The son of Midnight Lute looks very much like the controlling speed again, so we’re expecting the Yakteen-trained gelding to dangerous right back under Talamo. We’ll also toss in #5 Saint Dermot, who flashed big improvement in his first start since joining the Glatt barn. Both of his wins have come over the Santa Anita main track.
FIFTH RACE (4:00 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 1-Summer Lady; 8-Gypsy’s Rule
#1 Summer Lady was more than four clear of the rest when a runner-up at this level over this course at a mile last month, earning a career-top speed figure in doing so. In the sixth race, a starter’s allowance downhill turf sprint, she switches to Prat, turns back in trip, has three solid workouts since raced, and should be forwardly placed in a race without a whole lot of early speed. She gets top billing but we’ll also use in our rolling exotics #8 Gypsy’s Rule, a troubled fifth (broke slowly, steadied and altered course crossing dirt) in a much tougher $75,000 claimer last month in her first outing since August. With that effort behind her coupled with the class drop and cozy outside draw, the daughter of Tribal Rule seems sure to improve enough to be a strong factor.
SIXTH RACE (4:30 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 3-Emmzy; 8-Waltzing; 10-Distinguishable
Maiden special weight fillies and mares sprint six furlongs in the sixth race. #3 Emmzy looks the best of the known element and has plenty of room to improving after just missing in a similar spot in late March. She didn’t break well from the rail in that race, but if she leavens cleanly today the Baffert-trained daughter of Eskendereya should have every chance, especially shortening up a half-furlong. #8 Waltzing has been working well for a couple of months and finally makes it to the post for Mandella. The daughter of Candy Ride has displayed considerably speed in the a.m. and if she breaks running under Prat she figures to be on or near the lead throughout. #10 Distinguishable failed to run to her strong backing (5-1) in her debut but continues to impress in the a.m. for Hollendorfer (29% with second-time starters) and deserves another chance. Let’s use all three in our rolling exotics while slightly preferring Emmzy on top.
SEVENTH RACE (5:00 PT) – GRADE: B+
Use: 5-Rocket Fuel; 7-He Will
The seventh race is a stronger-than-par six furlong entry-level state-bred sprint. #5 Rocket Fuel was quite impressive breaking his maiden in his second career start last month; he’s a strong fit on numbers and should be tough right back despite the tougher assignment. He’s likely to draft into a comfortable second flight, stalking spot and be ready to pounce when it matters. #7 He Will returned from an eight month vacation in top form, winning a starter’s allowance event with huge figure in a visually pleasing performance over this track and distance in late March. The Hollendorfer-trained colt has maintained his edge in the a.m. since that race so the son of Cyclotron should produce a forward move in a race that will require one. There’s plenty of speed drawn inside, so Garcia probably will opt for stalking or second flight trip and it will be interesting to see if this colt can be effective using that strategy.
EIGHTH RACE (5:30 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 3-Nancy From Nairobi; 7-Keri Belle; 10-Havanna Belle; 11-Glory
The Royal Heroine Stakes, a Grade-2 turf miler for older fillies and mares, drew 14 entrants and certainly requires a spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll go our four-deep and hope to get by. #10 Havanna Belle beat a softer field by six widening lengths with a giant figure last month and may be ready to take on this tougher gang. She has winning connections (D’Amato/Prat) and the kind of tactical speed that will put in the fray from the start. #7 Keri Belle won the Megahertz S.-G3 over this course and distance in February and then was a strong third in the Buena Vista under these conditions. Freshened since February, she packs a powerful late kick and will be dangerous if she can avoid traffic trouble. #11 Glory keeps firing big shots and is overdue for another win. In a race with only a modest amount of early speed signed on, she should have every chance while on or near the lead throughout. #3 Nancy from Nairobi has put together two excellent winning efforts vs. conditioned allowance types and deserves consideration despite the class hike. She’ll be rolling in the final furlong.