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-
Use: 2-Mr Ability; 7-Western Warrior
The Friday program begins with a two-year-old state-bred sprint that appears to have two fit-and-ready entrants. #2 Mr Ability has done some excellent work at Los Alamitos for trainer Mike Harrington and should be live at first asking. #7 Western Warrior also has trained like a win-early type, gets hustling rider Martin Pedroza and seems better than his modest workout times would indicate. Let’s put ‘Warrior on top but include both in rolling exotic play.
SECOND RACE (2:33 PT) – GRADE: B+
The second race drew a short field of six maiden fillies and mares over a mile, with the lightly-raced #2 Shazara appearing well-spotted to earn her diploma. The daughter of El Corredor produced a significant forward move when third in a similar affair in late March and we’re expecting the John Shirreffs-trained four-year-old to continue to improve with experience. She switches to Victor Espinoza and should be capable of producing the last run in what appears to be a below par field for the level. At 5/2 on the morning line she’s a straight play and rolling exotic single.
THIRD RACE (3:06 PT) – GRADE: C+
Use: 1-Te Rapa; 2-Trifecta; 6-Buymeabond
Mid-grade claiming turf milers kick off the Pick-6 sequence in the third race, a spread affair in which the 5/2 morning line favorite, #5 Batti Man, seems vulnerable despite appearing to be the controlling speed. The veteran gelding was a voided claim due to unsoundness in late March. #1 Te Rapa is just one-for-17 over the Santa Anita turf course and has won in a couple of years, but his recent speed figures are strong, he lands the good rail, and retains leading rider Rafael Bejarano. He’s arguably not one to trust, but a strong threat, nonetheless. #2 Trifecta, first off the claim for Ron Ellis, is a fit on numbers and looks dangerous from off the pace with the switch to Joe Talamo. #6 Buymeabond drops a level for good trainer Jonathan Wong, has two prior wins over the Santa Anita lawn, retains Brice Blanc, and is yet another capable of producing a winning late bid with his best effort. In a field with nothing to trust, we suggest you tread lightly.
FOURTH RACE (3:39 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 2-Gust; 3-Mrs. Guty
High-priced ($75,000) maiden claiming sophomore fillies sprint the abbreviated distance of five and one-half furlongs in the fourth race. #3 Mrs. Guty has been impressive in the a.m. for trainer Mike McCarthy, doing everything asked like a filly with some ability. The barn doesn’t win often with first-timers but this daughter of Pomeroy could prove to be the exception to the rule. #2 Gust returns to the maiden claimers ranks (she finished second in her only previous outing when racing for a tag) and today adds blinkers while switching to Tyler Baze. She’s also backing up in trip and sports good recent drills at San Luis Rey Downs. Let’s double the race in rolling exotic play and then press with Mrs. Guty on top.
FIFTH RACE (4:12 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 3-Somethings Unusual; 5-Hay Dude
#5 Hay Dude drops for the money run in the fifth race, a $50,000 claiming dash down the hillside turf course. The Phil D’Amato-trained gelding exits a pair of much tougher graded stakes races and before that was a thoroughly convincing winner at a mile over this course earlier in the year. Away since early April but boasting a healthy work tab in recent weeks, the English-bred six-year-old retains Tyler Baze and is good enough to beat this field with anything close to his best effort. #3 Somethings Unusual is zero-for-15 lifetime over the Santa Anita turf but he ran a winning race when missing in a photo in the California Flag Stakes under these conditions last autumn. Away since late January, he’s training well enough for Mike McCarthy to expect one of his better efforts and should at least land in the frame. We’ll have tickets using both in rolling exotic play but then press with Hay Dude on top.
SIXTH RACE (4:44 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 5-Big Book; 7-Savannah Sky
#5 Big Book launches a comeback for trainer Tim Yakteen, and because she won her debut we know she can fire fresh. Away since winding up fifth in the Zenyatta S.-G1 last September, she returns in a realistic spot and seems ready for a good effort in this first-level allowance race. #7 Savannah Sky earned a career top speed figure when second under these conditions last month and seems capable of producing another forward move for trainer Richard Baltas. She’s reunited with Bejarano, who has won on her in the past, and should be dangerous from off the pace. Both should be used in your rolling exotics; let’s slightly prefer Savannah Sky on top.
SEVENTH RACE (5:15 PT) – GRADE: B+
Use: 1-Lady Valeur; 7-Sutton’s Smile
#1 Lady Valeur was a tad disappointing when fifth as the favorite in the Providencia S.-G3 in her most recent outing but she’s more than capable of returning to winning form with this drop back into a first-level allowance affair. She won over this course and distance when breaking her maiden in February and today switches to Bejarano, so we’re expecting the Paddy Gallagher-trained Irish-bred to run a blinder. There’s value at 2-1 on the morning line if you can get it. #7 Sutton’s Smile probably is worth a ticket or two in rolling exotic play as well. The daughter of Paddy O’Prado broke her maiden on this turf course as a two-year-old and is other that should benefit from the drop in class from stakes to allowance. Talamo will have her running on late.
EIGHTH RACE (5:39 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 4-Surfing the Menu; 5-Conquest So True; 10-Wish I Understood
The finale is a better-than-average starter’s allowance sprint for fillies and mares that seems to have three major contenders. #10 Wish I Understood flopped in her comeback at Los Alamitos in a similar starter’s allowance event but has trained very well since for Bob Baffert and remains protected, a positive sign. Pedroza stays aboard, so we’ll give her another chance. #4 Surfing the Menu has had more than her share of physical ailments and at age five she’ll be making just her third career start, and her first since breaking her maiden in mid-March. She’s more than capable winning at this level if she’s feeling up to it. #5 Conquest So True, in the money in her last two starts at this level, makes a major switch to Bejarano and should fire her best shot. A repeat of her race-before-last, a highly-rated runner-up effort, puts her in the thick of it.