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 (12:00 PT) – GRADE: C
Use: 3-Fly Lexis Fly; 5-Midnight Hawk
The opener on this 11-race program drew five runners entered for a $32,000 claiming tag over a mile on the main track. Big class dropper #5 Midnight Hawk is being culled by the stable now that it’s obvious he’s no longer capable of cutting it in good company, but at this level he certainly could win on past class alone. However, at 7/5 on the morning line the Bob Baffert-trained horse offers no value. #3 Fly Lexis Fly didn’t repeat his sharp starter’s allowance tally when raised to the $40,000 level in his last start but this one-level drop in class should get him back on track. The Doug O’Neill-trained veteran may be the most reliable in the field. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass the race.
SECOND RACE (12:30 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 3-Ashleyluvssugar; 5-Alert Bay
The Crystal Water Stakes over a mile on turf for older state-bred runners attracted a salty field of six. #5 Alert Bay returned to winning form with a clever score in the San Francisco Mile-G3 up north in late April, has trained very well since, and always has loved the Santa Anita lawn (four wins in eight starts). He likes to settle and then produce a run and in a field that should offer at least a legitimate pace the Blaine Wright-trained gelding should have every chance to win right back. #3 Ashleyluvssugar, away since last August but training like he’s fit and ready for Peter Eurton, gets Rafael Bejarano and will be dangerous if he returns as well as he left. He’s another with an obvious preference the Santa Anita turf course (three wins in five starts) and his late-running style should play well in a small field that promises a trouble-free run. We’ll give Alert Bay the edge on top but double the race in rolling exotic play.
THIRD RACE (1:00 PT) – GRADE: C
Use: 3-Magical Touch; 5-Audra
#3 Magical Touch is unbeaten in two starts and just won a restricted (nw-2) $12,500 claimer for fun with a huge speed figure in her comeback last month, but the fact she returns in the third race for only $16,000 in this nw-3 sprint for fillies and mares clearly indicates that trainer Hector Palma is more than willing to lose her. Whatever problems she may have (and however many races she may have left) may not prevent her from winning again, but who really needs to take her at 4/5 on the morning line? #5 Audra, off the board at 4/5 against similar foes last month, switches to Bejarano and has a right to snap back to good form. She won’t beat Magical Touch if that one shows up, but this Jack Carava-trained filly clearly looks best of the rest. This is an obvious pass race, but if you’re playing rolling exotics you have the option of singling Magical Touch or doubling the race using Audra, at least as a saver or a back-up.
FOURTH RACE (1:30 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 1-Hoosier Road; 5-Back Sheared Anvil
Bottom-rung maiden claimers sprint six furlongs in the fourth race, with huge class dropper #5 Back Sheared Anvil rating the edge after chasing an infinitely tougher group of straight maidens in his only prior outing. The Richard Mandella-trained gelding earned a speed figure that charts very well in this league despite his 13-length margin of a defeat, and a healthy work pattern in recent week should have him fit and ready to show his best stuff. #1 Hoosier Road has plenty of early speed and if he breaks running from the rail the Doug O’Neill-trained gelding may never look back. Let‘s use both in our rolling exotics and then press in the straight pool using Back Sheared Anvil.
FIFTH RACE (1:59 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 2-Rockport Babe; 3-La Boheme; 6-Zip Bayou
The fifth race matches first-level allowance fillies and mares at a mile on turf and appears fairly wide open. #2 Rockport Babe is unproven routing, and both of her career starts have come on the main track, but the daughter of Rockport Harbor looked quite good when earning a sharp number breaking her maiden last out and seems likely to be the controlling speed stretching out for trainer Shelby Ruis. A smart recent five furlong workout in a minute flat catches the eye, so another significant forward move is possibility. At 9/2 on the morning line she’s worth a gamble. #3 La Boheme is progressive German-bred filly in the Mandella barn; she earned a career top speed figure when graduating over this course and distance last month and has looked good in the morning since. Tyler Baze will have her rolling late. #6 Zip Bayou backs up from nine furlongs to a mile today and should appreciate the shorter trip. The Jerry Hollendorfer-trained daughter of City Zip figures to draft into an ideal pace-stalking position and have every chance from there.
SIXTH RACE (2:28 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 1-Worldwide; 3-Sugaratmidnight; 5-Royal Privacy; 6-Look Me in the Eye
Maiden $50,000 claiming state-bred older runners make the sixth race a difficult proposition, so we’ll go four-deep in our rolling exotics and hope to land a good priced winner. #6 Look Me in the Eye shows up in a seller for the first time after failing in all three lifetime starts vs. maiden special weight foes as the betting favorite. The Mike Puype-trained gelding retains Bejarano, removes blinkers, and should improve at this lower level, but while we’ll include him in our rolling exotic play, the son of Marino Marini is hardly one to trust. #1 Worldwide also has burned money during his career, most recently missing in a photo at even money against similar maiden-claiming foes last month. The son of Big Brown has enough speed to avoid trouble from the rail (assuming he breaks) but remains suspect under pressure in the final furlong. We’ll use him as well while recognizing his lack of value at 5/2 on the morning line. #5 Royal Privacy, a solid runner-up in his debut in a race he had a right to need, should produce a forward move for trainer Kory Owens with Kayla Stra riding him back. The Rocky Bar gelding has good early speed and figures to make his presence felt from start to finish. #3 Sugaratmidnight, a closing fourth vs. bottom-rung foes in his debut, is raised all the way up to the maiden $50,000 level in a sign of confidence by trainer Blake Heap, and seems certain to improve with that effort behind him and with an extra half-furlong to work with. At 5-1 on the morning line, the Dixie Chatter gelding gets the edge on top and is worth consideration in the straight pool.
SEVENTH RACE (2:57 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 1-Guy Code; 2-Clever Royal; 7-Story to Tell
The seventh race is an optional claimer/second level allowance sprint that didn’t come up particularly strong. In fact, the one to beat may be trainer David Jacobson’s recent $32,000 claim, #7 Story to Tell. Drawn comfortably outside and switching to Baze, the son of Bluegrass Cat should settle into a good, second flight, stalking spot and have every chance to pounce on the leaders at the head of the lane. He clearly loves this main track – he’s been first or second in five of eight career starts here – and on pure speed figures he’s fast enough to handle this class hike. #1 Guy Code may be the quickest in the field and if he leaves cleanly from the rail he could be in front for a long time. A repeat of his game score two races back puts him right there. #2 Clever Royal is a dangerous closer when he’s feeling up to it and with the switch to Bejarano this Kristin Mulhall-trained gelding figures to be heard from late. Let’s put Story to Tell slightly on top but use all three in our rolling exotics.
EIGHTH RACE (4:05 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 3-Brave Act; 7-Macro Access
The eighth race is written for $25,000 claimers at a mile on turf and looks fairly wide open; we’ll try to survive using just two but feel free to spread if you can afford to. #7 Macro Access just won at this level at nine furlongs on turf but was a voided claim, so he returns to trainer Paulo Lobo’s barn and tries to repeat while shortening up a furlong. He’s plenty fast on speed figures so if he’s feeling up to his normal self the Argentine-bred gelding should be tough to beat. #3 Brave Act launches a comeback for trainer Eddie Truman and attracts Bejarano, a strong indication that he’s fit and ready off the bench. In the money in seven of nine career starts over the Santa Anita turf course, the veteran gelding has back figures that put him in the hunt and the versatility to be dangerous as a pace pressure or a deep closer.
NINTH RACE (4:35 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 1-Chaseintheaces; 10-Odin
Restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming sprinters meet over six furlongs in the ninth race that should boil down to two main contenders. #1 Chaseintheaces is a strong fit on numbers and is dropping from open $32,000, so this is significantly softer group that he’s facing today. The rail post does him no favors but if he can leave with his field the Baffert-trained son of Indian Charlie should have every chance to regain his winning form. #10 Odin is a dangerous Northern California invader with par figures for the level, and this drop from conditioned allowance company into a restricted claimer probably is what this Stormin Fever gelding always has wanted.
TENTH RACE (5:05 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 2-Spirit World; 4-Night Badger; 6-Redneck Crazy
The penultimate race on the program is a five and one-half furlong sprint for restricted (nw-2) $12,500 claimers. #6 Redneck Crazy exits a series of much tougher open claiming sprints and with this drop in price coupled with the non-winners restriction the Gary Sherlock-trained colt appears to have found his friends. The weight break he receives with the switch to bug boy Lindsay is another plus. #2 Spirit World just broke his maiden vs. bottom-rung competition in fairly decent style; however, the number wasn’t all that much so trainer Jeff Mullins is doing the right thing and running this Ghostzapper gelding back cheap. Baze stays aboard and knows him well. #4 Night Badger, beaten a nose in a similar spot last month, adds blinkers for the first time while retaining bug boy Pena, and if he can turn in two alike he’ll be right there again.
ELEVENTH RACE (5:35 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 1-Onzaway; 3-Kihei Sunset; 4-Sassy Ashley
The nightcap is a straight maiden filly and mare turf miler and a typical grass grab bag for superfecta players. #3 Kihei Sunset showed promise last fall, finishing second to a very good filly (Jeremy’s Legacy) in a strong affair at Del Mar before being turned out. She sports a series of an impressive workouts for trainer Michael McCarthy and seems likely to return a stronger and better version of what she was as a juvenile. #1 Onzaway flashed ability in her debut over this course and distance in early March, winding up fifth but beaten less than two lengths. The John Shirreffs-trained daughter of Arch hasn’t been out in three months and the recent workouts hardly inspire, but if she runs back to her first start she’ll be factor with these. #4 Sassy Ashley has good tactical speed and should be prominent throughout. She’s has the good second-off-a-layoff angle for Baltas and retains Bejarano, so this daughter of English Channel seems certain to produce a forward move. Let’s put Kihei Sunset on top but use all three in our rolling exotics.