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+
The 11-race Saturday program begins with a bottom-rung maiden claiming sprint for fillies and mares at five and one-half furlongs. #7 Fiftypercentcotton has broken slowly in both of her career starts, so her true form is tough to gauge. She certainly has good speed once in motion, so if she can leave with her field today, the daughter of High Cotton might improve dramatically. A recent gate work – she was wearing the blinkers that she’ll be adding for the first time today – was actually quite good, so we’re willing to string along one more time and make the Dan Blacker-trained filly a straight play and rolling exotic single.
SECOND RACE (2:33 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 2-Mr. Roary; 7-Bombard
Older straight maidens meet over nine furlongs on turf in the second race. #2 Mr. Roary is the logical top pick after the son of Scat Daddy finished fourth (beaten just over two lengths) in the Singletary Stakes last month and prior to that was a distant though respectable second to possible Belmont Stakes entrant Wild About Deb. Obviously, this is a much softer group and on pure numbers he should be able to dominate. However, as a seven-race maiden and one who has never actually gained ground from the furlong pole to the wire, he’s really not one to entirely trust. #7 Bombard has only started twice – a pair of third place finishes, one sprinting, one routing - so he has plenty of room to improve. The Richard Mandella-trained son of War Front retains top turf rider Flavien Prat and should be prominent throughout and have every chance.
THIRD RACE (3:06 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 3-Brother Soldier; 4-Prince Valiant; 6-Adair
The third race is a six furlong restricted (nw-3) $16,000 claiming affair that appears fairly wide open. #6 Adair was overmatched in first-level allowance state-bred company but is realistically spotted today and should get back on track. The Phil D’Amato-trained colt earned numbers in his two prior outings (both wins) that are better than par for this level. #4 Prince Valiant achieved a career-top figure winning a starter’s allowance race sprint here last month, though he did so over a wet-fast track that might have moved him up a bit. We’ll see if he can duplicate that effort under normal conditions today. #3 Brother Soldier, a solid third against similar foes last month, will be part of the pace and is worth using, at least as a back-up.
FOURTH RACE (3:39 PT) – GRADE: C+
Single: 8-Angel Lane
The fourth race is a split of the opener, a maiden claimer for fillies and mares. #8 Angel Lane drops to the bottom, and if she hasn’t found her winning level by now, she may never find it. The daughter of Congrats faltered badly at 30 cents on the dollar vs. M40000 competition last month, though even in defeat she earned a speed figure that would be good enough to beat this group. Of course, she’s not one to trust. Use her as a rolling exotic single or simply pass the race.
FIFTH RACE (4:12 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 1-Basmati; 4-Too Fast to Pass; 5-Coyote Fly
The fifth race brings together $20,000 claimers at six and one-half furlongs and offers three legitimate possibilities. #1 Basmati drops for the money run and if he can avoid trouble from the rail the hard-knocking veteran should be in the thick of things throughout. With the major switch to Rafael Bejarano, the Jeff Metz-trained gelding will get plenty of play, and after taking the month of May off, he should be fresh and ready. #4 Too Fast to Pass has worked sharply for his first start since mid-April and is another that appears ready to return to good form. The John Sadler-trained gelding loves to win (11-for-42 lifetime) and is a strong fit on speed figures, so he’s a “must use” in rolling exotic play. #5 Coyote Fly crushed a $12,500 field in his last appearance and is double jumped in class by trainer Ron Ellis in a sign of confidence. Today we’ll find out if he really has improved or is simply a Los Alamitos specialist.
SIXTH RACE (4:44 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 1-Heart to Heart; 3-Tourist
This year’s edition of the Shoemaker Mile-G1 drew only six entrants, two of which are shippers from the East, and they comprise the main contention. #3 Tourist will be making his third start of the year and it should be his best. The Bill Mott-trained horse figures to draft into a comfortable second flight, stalking position and have every chance when it counts. He’s without a turn of foot, but this is a field his best can beat. #1 Heart to Heart looks like the controlling speed, though #6 Midnight Storm is more than capable of insuring a fast pace if he’s asked to do it. It’s clear than Hear to Heart is a need-the-lead type and if he can secure that kind of trip today he should be trough to run down. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics but press in the straight pool with Tourist.
SEVENTH RACE (5:15 PT) – GRADE: B
#2 Beholder has won 12 races from 13 starts over the Santa Anita main track, most recently taking the Adoration Stakes while barely having to take a deep breath. She’ll have to work a little harder today – when last seen #1 Stellar Wind came within a neck of winning the Breeders’ Cup Distaff-G1 – but that filly might be a race away from being at her very best. This is a non-playable race other than to use Beholder as a free bingo space in rolling exotic play.
EIGHTH RACE (5:39 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 2-Nat’s Nation; 3-Dream Police; 11-Schillairess
The late Pick-4 begins with a starter’s allowance downhill turf sprint. #11 Schillairess returns protected in his first start since being claimed for $50,000 out of his maiden win as a 2-year-old last summer; he’s also a first-time gelding for trainer Peter Miller and shows a series of strong workouts at San Luis Rey Downs to have him fit and ready. The son of Artie Schiller flashed impressive early speed in his only outing and should come out firing again today. #2 Nat’s Nation broke his maiden over this course and distance in his most recent outing and if his improving pattern continues, the Decarchy gelding should be formidable right back. His numbers have risen with each outing, so we’re expecting another forward move. #3 Dream Policy is unproven on turf but his main track form is solid and he’s back with Prat, who has won on him in the past. The Richard Baltas-trained gelding should be a late threat.
NINTH RACE (6:09 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 2-Americanize; 9-Westest; 10-Jaw Dropper
Trainer Bob Baffert has three entrants in the ninth race, a five and one-half furlong maiden special weight sprint, and all three have a right to run well. #2 Americanize has shown ability in recent workouts, gets Mike Smith (who has been on him in the morning) and seems plenty fit for a big effort first crack out of the box. #9 Westfest has an improving pattern – he finished third in his debut and then was second in a fast race last month – and deserves consideration despite having been beaten as the favorite in both of those outings. #10 Jaw Dropper ran a bit better than the line will show from the rail in his debut, displaying speed and then gradually weakening, but should stick much better today from a comfortable outside post and with the benefit of a prior run. The son of Tapit earned a surprisingly good speed figure in defeat and really won’t have to improve much to be right there with these. Toss him in.
TENTH RACE (6:39 PT) – GRADE: B+
Single: 7-Dreaming of Gold
Though he’s only 1-for-13 lifetime, #7 Dreaming of Gold has much in his favor in the 10th race, a nine furlong main track first-level optional claimer, and really should take full advantage of the opportunity. The Jerry Hollendorfer-trained gelding is fast on figures, was more than five lengths clear of the rest when runner-up in a recent highly-rated race, projects to enjoy a good stalking trip in a race without a whole lot of pace, and continues to look sharp in the morning. Today should be his day, so let’s make him a straight play and rolling exotic single.
ELEVENTH RACE (7:09 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 1-Tristan’s Trilogy; 8-Hobbits Hero
The finale is a one mile turf affair for first-level allowance older horses. The two that stand out – and both should be used in rolling exotic play – are #1 Tristan’s Trilogy and #8 Hobbits Hero, with the latter receiving a slight edge on top. A winner of his last three starts in gate-to-wire fashion, the Richard Baltas-trained gelding clearly prefers the front end but can win from a stalking position if required, and based strictly one numbers he appears well-spotted to continue his winning ways. However, if ‘Hero gets cooked in a speed duel, Tristan’s Trilogy figures to be the one to pick up the pieces. He’s a 3-year-old tackling older for the first time but his numbers continue to accelerate, his inside post assures a ground-saving trip, and his stalking style should have him in an ideal position to pounce when the pressure gets turned on at the head of the lane.