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: 2-Swiss Minister; 4-Secret Room
The Sunday opener attracted just five starters for a six furlong claiming sprint restricted to $32,000 sophomores. #4 Secret Room, raised from the $20,000 level by new trainer Jeff Mullins, has won half of his four career starts over the Santa Anita main track and looks tough right back while retaining Rafael Bejarano. He’ll be doing his best work from off the pace. #2 Swiss Minister looked sharp handling a softer group in quick time just nine days ago and is wheeled back quickly by trainer Kristin Mulhall to take advantage of his sharpness and the small fields that are being offered at the tail end of the long season. If he can shake off the inside speedster #1 Nusret he should be tough again, but Secret Room still deserves top preference. Both should be used in rolling exotic play.
SECOND RACE (2:03 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 2-Besides the Point; 5-Tammy’s Window
Maiden $75,000 claiming juvenile fillies sprint five furlongs in the second race. #2 Besides the Point is a debuting daughter of Concord Point from the Bob Baffert barn and has trained well enough to warrant strong consideration in a moderate spot. However, the one we’ll prefer on top is the Doug O’Neill-trained #5 Tammy’s Window, an efficient-moving daughter of Parading who breezed very well in 10 1/5 seconds at the OBS April Sale while displaying a nice, smooth stride. Her workouts at Los Alamitos indicate she’s fit and ready and she lands Flavien Prat. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll have extra tickets on top keying Tammy’s Window.
THIRD RACE (2:36 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 1-Ain’t Misbehavin; 2-Matriculate
The third race is an allowance/optional claimer for first-level California-bred runners. #2 Matriculate has been a beaten favorite three times during his eight race career and isn’t one to trust, but with just four others in the field the Bill Spawr-trained gelding is a major contender once again. He’s most effective when able to lay fairly close to the pace, and the race flow in this event looks comfortable. We like him on top but not strong enough to single him. #1 Ain’t Misbehavin has rising speed figures could produce another forward move in his first start since being claimed by David Jacobson. All four of his career wins have come over the Santa Anita main track and the veteran gelding should be heard from late with the switch to Kent Desormeaux.
FOURTH RACE (3:09 PT) – GRADE: C+
Use: 4-Papaslilprincess; 5-Amberella; 6-Sweet Profit
The fourth race kicks off the Pick-6 sequence; it’s a six runner field of bottom-rung claiming fillies and mares at seven furlongs. With nothing to trust, we’ll pass the race and use three in our rolling exotics. #4 Papaslilprincess always has preferred to run second or third rather than win but she’s in good form for trainer Michael Pender and seems to prefer this extended sprint distance. #5 Amberella, third in the same race Papaslilprincess just finished second in, switches to Prat and should draft into a comfortable pace-stalking position. She won’t have to improve much to win. #6 Sweet Profit nosedives to the bottom after a series of dull races. If she has anything left she’ll be a strong threat, and the switch to Bejarano and the cozy outside post should give her every chance to snap back.
FIFTH RACE (3:42 PT) – GRADE: C+
Use: 3-Latest Craze; 6-Fashionly Handsome
Maiden $30,000 claiming 3-year-olds meet over a mile and one-sixteenth in the fifth race, another lackluster event with just seven entries. #3 Latest Craze drops again for trainer Bob Baffert; he’s been a major disappointment both to his connections (which gave $260,000 for him as a yearling) and to the bettors (he’s been a beaten choice in his last pair). However, the son of Super Saver is a fit on numbers at this level and retains Victor Espinoza, so we’ll consider him a contender by default. #6 Fashionly Handsome is re-equipped with blinkers and switches to Bejarano, so the Richard Baltas-trained son of Old Fashioned has a right to improve, though, like Latest Craze, has been a beaten choice in his last pair. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and hope at least one of them shows up. Tread lightly here.
SIXTH RACE (4:14 PT) – GRADE: C+
Use: 2-Dive Down; 5-Jonny’s Choice; 7-Celebrity Status
The sixth race is a main track miler with a few possibilities to consider in rolling exotic play. #5 Jonny’s Choice was scratched out of an $8,000 claimer yesterday for this $16,000 event in a sign of confidence by trainer Mark Glatt, and with the major switch to Prat this veteran gelding has the look of a live entrant. The son of Unusual Heat is being raised two levels in class after a solid runner-up effort over this track and distance in late May, and on pure numbers he’s a legitimate threat. #2 Dive Down makes his first start since being claimed for $16,000 by Robertino Diodoro, whose stats with this angle is practically off the charts (23%, strong flat-bet profit). A repeat of either one of his last two races makes this son of Broken Vow the one to beat. #7 Celebrity Status looked sharp handling a bottom-rung field gate-to-wire sprinting last month and he’s been known to put good efforts back-back-back. If he can establish the pace without undue pressure this Peter Miller-trained son of Vronsky could get brave once again. We’ll triple the race in our rolling exotics while slightly preferring Jonny’s Choice on top.
SEVENTH RACE (4:45 PT) – GRADE: C+
Use: 1-Soap Box; 4-Zealous Tale
The seventh race is a maiden $30,000 claimer at the abbreviated sprint distance of five furlongs. #4 Zealous Tale finally makes it to the post at age five, so it’s not surprising he shows up in a claimer after being purchased for $220,000 as a yearling. The works look good so we’re expecting a strong effort even though the Ellis barn rarely wins with first-time starters. #1 Soap Box has plenty of zip but not much stick; however, at this five furlong trip he might be the quickest of the quick and be able to hang on. From the rail, the son of Songandaprayer has no option but to gun to the lead and hope to survive. This is another race we have no plans to embrace; however, for rolling exotic purposes we’ll go two-deep and hope to get by.
EIGHTH RACE (5:19 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 1-Basmati; 5-Out of Patience; 7-Airfoil
A competitive field of $25,000 claimers occupy the eighth race. #5 Out of Patience likes this main track (three career wins) and has the proper style for this extended sprint distance, so we’re expecting the Gary Stute-trained veteran to be heard from in the final furlong. He’s reunited with bug boy Lindsay, who won on him three races back, and this return to dirt and shortening to a sprint should help this gelding regain his best form #1 Basmati is stuck on the rail again after being beaten for $20,000 as the favorite last month. It was a decent race for the level, trainer Jeff Metz raises him a notch, and Bejarano rides him back, so perhaps this veteran gelding is primed for a forward move. #7 Airfoil, claimed in his last pair and now in the Pender stable, has been first or second in 10 of 21 career starts over the Santa Anita main track and is back with Santiago Gonzalez, who has won with him in the past. The son of Bernardini should settle in mid-pack outside and have every chance. Let’s use all three in rolling exotic play with perhaps a very slight edge on top going to Out of Patience.
NINTH RACE (5:49 PT) – GRADE: B+
Use: 1-Living the Life; 2-Vale Dori
The featured Southern True Stakes is carded as the nightcap and it brings together a strong group of older fillies and mares at a mile and one-sixteenth. #2 Vale Dori makes her U.S. debut for trainer Bob Baffert and trained like she’s fit to fire right off the bat. The Argentine-bred filly was a Grade-1 winner in South America and a close fourth (beaten less than two lengths) behind Lani in the UAE Derby-G2 in her most recent outing in Dubai in March. She gets Lasix and Bejarano was sharp in a recent gate work June 24, where she drilled six furlongs in 1:12 3/5 when proving best over Mt. Veeder. #1 Living the Life is the logical top pick after beating the boys in the All American S.-G3 over the all-weather surface at Golden Gate Fields in late May. She’s winless in five starts over the Santa Anita main track but was a more than respectable third in the Santa Margarita S.-G1 under these conditions in March, so the change in surface shouldn’t be an issue. She’ll likely be on or near the lead throughout.