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
Single: 1-Forest Chatter
An 11-race Saturday program featuring California-bred runners begins with the Lennyfrommalibu Stakes down the hillside turf course. #1 Forest Chatter lands an ideal spot to get back on the beam after finishing third in the Sensational Star Stakes in his most recent outing last February. A winner of five of seven career starts over this course and distance, the Richard Mandella-trained gelding should be comfortably placed on or near a moderate pace and then have every chance to go on with it. However, at 6/5 on the morning line he offers no value, so we’ll simply use him as a rolling exotic single and await better wagering opportunities later in the day.
SECOND RACE (2:33 PT) – GRADE: B+
Use: 4-Scavenger Hunt; 8-Californiasummer
Maiden state-bred juvenile fillies sprint four and one-half furlongs in the second half of the early daily double. #4 Scavenger Hunt was fairly impressive previewing at the Barretts March Sale, where she breezed a furlong in 10 1/5 seconds, and as a daughter of Into Mischief from a mare by Indian Charlie most certainly is bred to win early. She rates top billing among the newcomers. #8 Californiasummer has the benefit of a prior run, having finished a game second in her debut earlier this month while more than eight lengths clear of the third horse. It was a decent race for the level – not great – but the experience she gained makes her the one to fear most. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and then press with Scavenger Hunt on top.
THIRD RACE (3:06 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 2-Almost Reality; 5-How Unusual
#5 How Unusual finished an excellent second in the Campanile Stakes up north in her most recent outing and drops to the conditioned allowance ranks in today’s third race, a one mile turf event for state-bred fillies and mares. The daughter of Unusual Heat can turn it on late and in a field of only six she should have clear sailing and every chance when it matters the most. At 8/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower, the Tim Yakteen-trained filly will be hard to beat. #2 Almost Reality, in-the-money in four of five career starts over the local lawn and a winner over this course and distance when breaking her maiden in February should also be considered in rolling exotic play as a back-up or a saver.
FOURTH RACE (3:39 PT) – GRADE: B
Single: 1-Enola Gray
The Melair Stakes drew a field of six sophomore fillies at a mile and one-sixteenth, three of which are trained by Phil D’Amato. All eyes will be on the 2/5 morning line favorite, #1 Enola Gray, who won her only outing by more than 16 lengths while earning a Grade-1 quality speed figure. Today she’ll try to duplicate that performance over a distance of ground, and while she’s not necessarily bred to improve routing, she trains in a relaxed manner and should have no trouble handling the trip against this group. In an unplayable race, you can use the daughter of Grenzen as a free bingo space in rolling exotic play and then just enjoy the show.
FIFTH RACE (4:12 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 5-Tough It Out; 6-Gold Rush Dancer
Four of the six starters in today’s fifth race, the Snow Chief Stakes for 3-year-olds on turf, exit the Silky Sullivan Stakes, which was run at Golden Gate Fields earlier this month. This time they’ll be meeting over nine furlongs rather than a mile, so things could change a bit. #6 Gold Rush Dancer looked good winning that race in his first career start on grass, retains top turf rider Flavien Prat, and should enjoy a pace-stalking trip in a race that figures to produce slow early fractions. #5 Tough It Out, second to ‘Dancer in the Silky Sullivan as the 4/5 favorite, gets a chance to make amends and may be best suited by this longer trip. He’ll be running on strongly late. We’ll give a very slight edge on top to ‘Dancer but use both in rolling exotic play.
SIXTH RACE (4:44 PT) – GRADE: C+
Use: 1-Mighty Brown; 2-Finallygotabentley; 4-I B Mike; 6-Justonemorething
The Pick-6 begins in the sixth race, a difficult $12,500 claiming sprint that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll go four deep but you could just as easily buy the race. #6 Justonemorething is comfortably drawn outside, exits a much tougher race, has worked well since his last outing and has been first or second in six of 10 career starts over the Santa Anita main track. Martin Pedroza stays aboard and should have this Kelly Casteneda-trained gelding in an ideal pace-stalking position. #4 I B Mike has plenty of early speed and could stick around for a long time in a field lacking in effective closers. He has two previous victories over the Santa Anita main track, and is reunited with Santiago Gonzalez, who won on him three races back. #2 Finallygotabently, second in the same race I B Mike just finished fourth in, really won’t have to improve much to win, though he’s zero-for-nine lifetime on this main track and always has preferred to run second or third rather than win. #1 Mighty Brown has won two of his last three for low profile connections and rates a look once again despite the rail post. He has a nice stalking style and a solid five furlong workout since raced.
SEVENTH RACE (5:15 PT) – GRADE: B+
Use: 2-He Could; 3-Infinite Loop
Older state-bred maidens meet over a mile on turf in the seventh race; we’ll use two while preferring #2 He Could on top. The son of Vronsky has been victimized by poor racing luck of late, most notably in his last start up north when he was blocked and forced to alter course sharply at a critical stage of the race in mid-stretch. The Kenny Black-trained gelding finished fastest when clear but too late; today, with clear sailing, he should be along in time. #3 Infinite Loop was disappointing in a recent downhill turf sprint, failing to land a blow as the favorite, but trainer Neil Drysdale wheels him back in nine days and stretches him out to a much more favorable trip. A repeat of his race before last – a strong runner-up over this course and distance – puts him in the picture.
EIGHTH RACE (5:39 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 1-Howdy; 3-Songforjohnmichael; 7-Rocko’s Wheel
The Tiznow Stakes at a mile on the main track is a highly-competitive race with several possibilities. #1 Howdy has moved through the conditioned allowance ranks, gets tested for class, and the rapidly improving son of Sundarban just might be up to the task. The Peter Eurton-trained colt has a nifty stalking style, and a comfortable inside draw, and should draft into a good, second flight, stalking position. With another forward move today, he’ll be right there. #7 Rocko’s Wheel exits a very fast, highly-rated sprint, and appears primed for a major effort stretching out. The son of Grazen gets his preferred trip and will be running on strongly late. The 2-1 morning line favorite, #3 Songforjohmichael, tackles Calbred foes today after earning a career top speed figure when third behind Cat Burglar in the Santana Mile over this track and distance in early April. The son of Songandaprayer is likely the controlling speed, and if he’s allowed to coast up front he may never look back.
NINTH RACE (6:09 PT) – GRADE: B-
Single: 7-Tengas Ransom
State-bred maidens at six and one-half furlongs occupy the ninth race, with #7 Tengas Ransom listed as the 6/5 morning line choice. He’s the kind of favorite you’d normally try to beat – he just failed as the chalk without an excuse – but in rather shallow field the Jeff Mullins-trained colt will really have to regress to get beat. The first timers don’t inspire and those with prior experience don’t appear formidable, so this may be a good race to simply pass while using the favorite as a no-value rolling exotic single.
TENTH RACE (6:39 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 4-Madam Mousse; 5-Lily Kai; 6-Bert’s Melody
The Fran’s Valentine Stakes for fillies and mare at a mile on turf is deep and contentious and loaded with speed. Trainer Michael Machowsky has a pair of improving entrants and both are excellent prices on the morning line. #4 Madame Mousse (10-1) is bred to run long and gets her chance; a recent sharp winner down the hill with numbers that are rising, the lightly-raced 4-year-old could spring an upset due in part to a race flow that should favor her late-running style. Her uncoupled stablemate #5 Lily Kai was a clever winner up north from off the pace over course that typically favors speed; the daughter of Unusual Heat earned a career top speed figure in victory and is another progressive sort that hasn’t yet reached her ceiling. Also worth using is #6 Bert’s Melody, a genuine and consistent daughter of Bertrando who may be the best reliable of the pace types. She’s a fit on figures and can be tough on the front end or from a stalking position. Brice Blanc stays aboard and knows her well. We’ll try to get by using just these three and hope that one of the Machowsky entrants can pull off an upset.
ELEVENTH RACE (7:10 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 4-Emmy and I; 7-Marriedtotheminister; 8-Don’t Tell Judy
The nightcap is a maiden claiming abbreviated sprint for state-bred fillies and mares. #7 Marriedtotheminister earned a career top speed figure when second vs. similar here earlier this month and if she can run back to that effort today she’ll be tough to beat. The switch to Rafael Bejarano won’t go unnoticed by punters. #4 Emmy and I and #8 Don’t Tell Judy both are dropping out of straight maiden races and both are likely to improve considerably at this level. The former switches to Prat, continues to work well for Yakteen, and should be part of the early pace, while the latter, making her second start since joining the Mullins barn, has rising speed figures and was more than five clear of the rest when runner-up in her first start since December last month at Los Alamitos.