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 Siren Lure Stakes for older sprinters down the hill kicks off the 9-race program, with course specialist #1 Hunt-Ire the logical favorite and one to beat. In a race with very little early speed in it, the talented and versatile gelding could find himself on the lead or very close to it, and have every chance to extend his winning streak to three. Flavien Pratt knows him well and fits him perfectly. At 9/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower, the Phil D’Amato-trained Irish-bred probably won’t offer much in the way of wagering value but he can serve a purpose as a rolling exotic single.
SECOND RACE (2:33 PT) – GRADE: B+
Use: 2-Ziconic; 6-Giant Expectations
Maidens meet over a mile and one-sixteenth on the main track in the second race and the two main contenders both exit the same race, a May 14 affair won by The Lieutenant. #2 Ziconic, Zenyatta’s baby, finally seems to be waking up and turned in an excellent performance and rallying from far back to finish a close third while earning a very good number for the level. Let’s assume he’ll continue to move forward with additional experience, and even in a race that likely will be slowly run early, long-winded son of Tapit should be heard from late. #6 Giant Expectations was fourth in that same race but had a legitimate excuse; the Peter Eurton-trained sophomore stumbled badly at the start to lose position, raced wide while moving within range midway, and then kept on bravely in the final stages to be beaten just over two lengths. Today he’ll race with blinkers for the first time, and if he breaks cleanly he could inherit the role as the controlling speed. We’ll give Ziconic a very slight edge on top but use both in rolling exotic play.
THIRD RACE (3:06 PT) – GRADE: C+
Use: 1-Little Mustard; 2-Bistro Lights
The main contention in the third race, a seven furlong maiden $20,000 claimer, is drawn inside with both #1 Little Mustard and #2 Bistro Lights well-spotted in a weak race. Little Mustard has the proper style for this extended sprint trip, retains Prat, and probably wins with a repeat of his race before last. However, at 8/5 on the morning line he offers little to work with. #2 Bistro Lights has the blinkers off angle that we always embrace and should have enough early speed to be perfectly placed on or near the lead. Both should be used in rolling exotic play in a race that may be best left alone.
FOURTH RACE (3:39 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 2-Shysheisnot; 3-With a Twist; 6-Doodetta
The fourth race is a rare handicap, this one a starter’s affair for $40,000 fillies and mares down the hill. #2 Shysheisnot is racing good form, likes this turf course, and earned a career top speed figure when just missing in a photo in a strong race for the level last month. She has good tactical speed and jockey Edwin Maldonado should have her in a nice second flight, stalking position. #3 With a Twist is a real pro (10 wins from 28 career starts) and can really turn it on late. She’s the high weight (125 lbs.) in the field and probably deserves to be. This will be a rare sprint attempt for her but this eight-year-old Illinois-bred can do just about anything. #6 Doodetta is a prototype late-running sprinter with excellent form under these conditions; she just won a salty claimer over this course and distance under Rafael Bejarano and looks like the most dangerous of the deep closers once again. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics while slightly preferring Shysheisnot on top.
FIFTH RACE (4:12 PT) – GRADE: C+
Use: 4-Jason X L; 6-Bundesliga
The fifth race is a split of the third, a bottom-rung maiden claimer over seven furlongs. #4 Jason X L was beaten as the choice at Los Alamitos in April but today he’ll remove blinkers and switch to Bejarano, so improvement is likely. The Peter Eurton-trained son of Dixie Chatter probably will respond best to patient tactics and could produce the last run with a properly-timed ride. #6 Bundesliga is a first-timer from the Bob Baffert barn that brought $112,000 as a yearling but shows up for $20,000 in his debut, not exactly a ringing endorsement. But his workouts aren’t too bad, so the son of Concord Point must be considered a strong contender by default. Both should be used in your rolling exotics.
SIXTH RACE (4:44 PT) – GRADE: B+
#6 Scuderia was more than four lengths clear of the rest when missing in a tough photo over this course and distance last month; the son of Gio Ponti earned a strong speed figure in doing so and really won’t have to improve much at all to earn his diploma against similar opposition in today’s sixth race. Bejarano stays aboard and should have this gelding on or near the lead throughout. He’s listed at 2-1 on the morning line but we suspect he’ll go considerably lower than that. We’ll use him as a rolling exotic single.
SEVENTH RACE (5:15 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 1-Misdeed; 6-Celebrity Status; 10-Dustin’s Passion
Bottom-rung sprinters meet at the extended sprint trip of seven furlongs in the seventh race. #1 Misdeed isn’t one to trust; the veteran Rock Hard Ten gelding has failed four straight times as the favorite dating back to last fall, though we do like the route-to-sprint angle and a strong recent breezing workout for a high percentage outfit. We’ll use him but not necessarily prefer him. #6 Celebrity Status, another shortening from a route, returns to his winning level for Peter Miller and is back with Tyler Baze, who rode him to a pair of wins earlier this year. The caution is that this son of Vronsky always has preferred to run second or third rather than win, but he does have speed figures that fit, so we’ll toss him in. The one to beat – and our top selection – is #10 Dustin’s Passion. The Mark Glatt-trained gelding gets his easiest chance yet while dropping down to the $8,000 level, exits a hot race, and should be comfortably placed outside prompting the pace under Martin Pedroza. In the money in nine of 11 career starts and with back numbers that are much better than par, the son of Northern Afleet shouldn’t make any mistakes at this elongated sprint trip that seems perfect for his style.
EIGHTH RACE (5:39 PT) – GRADE: B+
Use: 3-Navy Hymn; 6-Who’s Out
The eighth race is a first-level allowance six furlong sprint that matches the razor sharp ex-claimer #3 Navy Hymn with the highly-regarded comebacker #6 Who’s Out. Navy Hymn has reeled off fourth straight win, the most recent two with powerful speed figures, and was just re-claimed (always a good sign) by trainer Richard Baltas. The son of Songandaprayer is fast and genuine and surely will fire his best shot once again. However, Who’s Out might be in a different league. A maiden winner by nearly eight lengths last summer at Del Mar, the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained son colt was turned out and missed the remainder of the year, but returns today with a series of very impressive workouts to indicate he’s retained all of his speed and may even added some. Drawn comfortably outside with Mike Smith staying aboard, the speedy colt looks ready to pick up where he left off. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics but then press with extra tickets using Who’s Out on top.
NINTH RACE (6:09 PT) – GRADE: C+
Use: 3-Image of Joplin; 4-Rangi; 5-Incline Village; 8-Infinite Magic
The nightcap is another rare starter’s handicap down the hill, this one for $25,000 level older horses, and is a typical grass grab bag. We’ll go four deep in our rolling exotics but you should include as many as you can afford to. #3 Image of Joplin is high weighted at 125 lbs. in his first start since late February; the Matt Chew-trained gelding has won two of four career outings over this turf course and seems to be training quite well for his return. He’s a tough, genuine and consistent gelding when he’s right, and if he’s right today he’ll be the one to beat. #4 Rangi appears to be rounding to form and in his fourth start following a 15 month break the Baltas-trained gelding should be set for a major effort. Look for Bejarano to have him on or near the lead throughout. #5 Incline Village always has liked this course and should be a strong pace factor, while #8 Infinite Magic switches to Prat, and on that factor alone probably is worth tossing in.