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: C
Use: 2-Fruity-Ire; 3-Miss Bliss; 6-L. A. Magic
The Saturday opener offers a six-runner restricted (nw-3) extended sprint for $25,000 claiming fillies and mares. With no solid opinion, we’ll use three in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass the race. #6 L. A. Magic exits a fast, highly-rated race in which she was flashed excellent speed before weakening late to wind up third, earning a career top speed figure in the process. She should be the controlling speed in this affair and if she can slow it down just a little during the early stages she may be able to roll all the way to the wire. #3 Miss Bliss takes her third consecutive class drop despite being a decent runner-up (while almost four clear of the rest) in a $25,000 open affair last time out. First or second in four of six career starts over the Santa Anita main track, she has low profile connections but seems pretty solid in this league. #2 Fruit-Ire is another taking a class plummet; this will be her first try in a claimer and her first on dirt, but she retains Flavien Prat and removes blinkers, so if she handles the surface she should be a strong late factor.
SECOND RACE (2:03 PT) – GRADE: C+
Use: 1-He’s a Knockout; 3-Lantzman
The second race is a bottom-rung ($20,000) maiden claiming miler, and with just six entrants there’s not a whole lot to work with. #1 He’s a Knockout has improving form, is re-equipped with blinkers, switches to Prat, and looks quick enough to inherit the role as the controlling speed. #3 Lantzman drops to his lowest level ever in his first start as a gelding and also tries dirt for the first time. The John Sadler-trained son of Candy Ride has been a major disappointment but against this group he might wake up big time. Let’s slightly prefer He’s a Knockout on top while including both in rolling exotic play.
THIRD RACE (2:36 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 1-Shysheisnot; 3-Lob City
#1 Shysheisnot has plenty in her favor in the third race, a starter’s allowance ($25,000) mile affair for fillies and mares. After two consecutive heart-stopping defeats down the Hillside course, the veteran mare stretches out, lands the rail, drops to a proper level and should be able to establish a comfortable pace in her first ever try on dirt in her 20th career starts. Her pedigree suggests this surface might be what she’s always wanted. #3 Lob City, genuine and consistent for trainer Craig Dollase, has hit the board in all four prior starts over the Santa Anita main track. Her regular rider, Edwin Maldonado, opts for Shysheisnot, but she gains Martin Garcia should have no trouble drafting into a perfect pace-prompting position. We’ll double the race in our rolling exotics and then have an extra ticket or two keying Shysheisnot.
FOURTH RACE (3:09 PT) – GRADE: C
Use: 1-Firing Line; 6-Kristo
#1 Firing Line clearly out classes this second-level allowance race – he finished second to American Pharoah in the 2015 Kentucky Derby – but the Simon Callaghan-trained colt hasn’t been out in 14 months and the work tab is noticeably light. He might be able to beat this field without being dead fit, but if you’re taking the 4/5 that he’s listed on the morning line, you’d prefer not to have to answer that question. #6 Kristo is racing in sharp form and has rising speed figures; this will be his third start in his current form cycle so another forward move can be expected. However, the Sadler-trained horse always has preferred to run second rather than win, and may not be one to completely trust. In a race offering little to no wagering value, we’ll use both in our rolling exotics but otherwise sit out the race.
FIFTH RACE (3:42 PT) – GRADE: B+
Use: 3-Miss Southern Miss; 7-Chalon
The Landaluce Stakes should boil down to two recent very impressive debut winners. #3 Miss Southern Miss settled behind the leaders, found room to accelerate into the lane and took control quickly to win with plenty left in a thoroughly professional performance for trainer Keith Desormeaux. She gets an extra half-furlong to work with today in a field with plenty of zip, so we’re expecting the daughter of More Than Ready to be bearing down late. #7 Chalon looked like a future stakes star in her maiden tally; the Peter Miller-trained daughter of Dialed In was able to establish a moderate early pace and then responded when set down to hold sway with a strong number and a sharp final furlong (11 4/5 seconds). She’s hooking more zip today and the quick turnaround (16 days) is far from ideal, but she seems to be made of the right stuff. Both should be included in your rolling exotics; we’ll press a bit with Miss Southern Miss on top.
SIXTH RACE (4:14 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 3-Too Fast to Pass; 6-Navy Hymn
The sixth race is a starter’s handicap at the shortened sprint trip of five furlongs for horses that have started for $16,000 since March 1. #6 Navy Hymn tackles older horses for the first time while seeking his sixth straight score and probably will get tested a bit more during the early stages of this race than he’s accustomed to. On pure numbers he’s good enough to win but will have to spot weight all around, a tough task for a 3-year-old. #3 Too Fast to Pass crushed a $20,000 claiming field with a strong figure last month and was claimed by Peter Miller, who protects the gelding after giving him five weeks off. The son of With Distinction loves to win – he’s 12 for 43 lifetime – and is most effective when allowed to settle early and blast home. We’ll prefer Navy Hymn on top but use both in rolling exotic play.
SEVENTH RACE (4:45 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 3-Minister’sadventure; 4-Savannah Sky
Entry-level allowance fillies and mares square off at a flat mile in the seventh race. #3 Minister’sadventure has rising numbers and excellent recent form; this is her favorite trip and Garcia can either put her on the lead or settle in a stalking position. She’ll fire either way. #4 Savannah Sky, freshened for a couple of months, is a strong fit on speed figures, retains Rafael Bejararno, and shows a bullet 58 4/5 seconds workout 10 days ago. She’s the most dangerous of the closing types. We’ll give the edge on top to Minister’sadventure but use both in our rolling exotics.
EIGHTH RACE (5:19 PT) – GRADE: C+
Use: 2-Green With Eddie; 3-Secret House; 4-Silver Assault
This year’s Santa Anita Juvenile Stakes drew six contestants, five of which broke their maiden in their most recent start. It’s a highly contentious affair requiring a spread; we’ll use three and hope to get by. #2 Green With Eddie was visually impressive in his debut, winning with a ton left while being geared down late. He’s facing much more early zip today and may have to come from slightly off the pace; we’re curious to see if he has it in him to stalk and pounce. #3 Secret House is another very likely to be outrun during the first part even though he won his debut in gate-to-wire style. The son of Tiznow looks to have some quality and if there’s a pace meltdown he could easily be the beneficiary. #4 Silver Assault looks like the quickest of the quick but is returning off short rest (two weeks) following a smart maiden tally with a strong number. The Jerry Hollendorfer-trained colt surely will be sent hard from the bell and if he can clear early he may never look back.
NINTH RACE (5:49 PT) – GRADE: B+
Though he was beaten at odds-on in a similar spot last month, #5 Chasinwithaces gets a lovely opportunity to make amends in the nightcap, a restricted (nw-2) extended sprint for $25,000 claimers. The son of Indian Charlie exits a fast affair, and against this group should easily establish the pace without undue pressure in a race without much early zip. At 2-1 on the morning line he’s a straight play and rolling exotic single.