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: 1-Ish; 5-Silver Starlight
The Sunday opener is a seven furlong bottom-rung maiden claimer for fillies and mares with very little in it. #1 Ish, a Bay Area shipper showing up in a claimer for the first time, switches surfaces, turns back in trip, and catches a field she should be able to handle. She has the proper style for this extended sprint trip and numbers that are good enough to win. #5 Silver Starlet likewise is making her first start for a tag, has a bullet three furlong blowout just four days ago, and lands Rafael Bejarano. She also has back figures that are much better than par for this level. The winner very likely will be one of these two – their closing odds certainly will reflect this – so we’ll double the race in our rolling exotics while slightly preferring Ish on top.
SECOND RACE (2:33 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 5-Lethal Legacy; 7-Lynne’s Legacy; 8-Starlite Style
Maiden state-bred fillies and mares meet over a mile on grass in the second race. #7 Lynne’s Legacy, second in her last pair over this course vs. similar opposition, gets an extra furlong to work with today and should thoroughly enjoy the added distance. The daughter of Unusual Heat has rising speed figures that are better than par for this level and looks capable of producing the last run. #5 Lethal Legacy made a trainer switch to Tim Yakteen prior to her most recent start and improved considerably, rallying with interest to be a closing second in a solid event up north. She requires patient handling and giving the proper ride should be head from late. #8 Starlite Style didn’t run badly at all for a maiden in the Campanile Stakes at Golden Gate Fields last time out, finishing fifth, beaten three lengths, with trouble. Lightly-raced and eligible to produce another forward while dropping back into the maiden ranks, the Kenny Black-trained filly makes a major jockey switch to Flavien Prat and will be bearing down the late. Let’s use all three in our rolling exotics, with Starlite Style getting a very slight edge on top.
THIRD RACE (3:06 PT) – GRADE: B
Single: 2-Rare Candy
#2 Rare Candy is the 4/5 morning line favorite in the third race, a first-level middle distance main track allowance race restricted to 3-year-olds. Narrowly beaten when second to Uncle Lino in the California Chrome Stakes at Los Alamitos last month, the son of Twirling Candy is race with blinkers today and looks likely to be the controlling speed in the five runner field. He’ll offer no value in the straight pool but seems like a logical, short-priced rolling exotic single.
FOURTH RACE (3:39 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 3-Run for Retts; 4-Lucky Student; 5-Tuscany Beauty
#5 Tuscany Beauty should be a short priced favorite (she’s 8/5 on the morning line) in the fourth race, an extended sprint for first-level allowance/optional claiming state-bred fillies and mares. A clever winner in her debut in mid-March, the Bruce Headley-trained daughter of Cyclotron shows a solid series of workouts in the interim and should be tough right back, though this isn’t exactly a slam dunk for her. We’ll use her, but not single her. #4 Lucky Student just won a bottom-rung ($8,000) claimer and is being jumped considerably in class, but she’s a fit on figures and has been first or second in eight of 10 career starts over the Santa Anita main track. She’ll be a strong pace factor throughout and shouldn’t be taken lightly. #3 Run for Retts seems most comfortable as a late running sprinter and should fire her best shot at this extended sprint distance. She has figures that fit and with a little help up front could be hard to contain late. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass the race.
FIFTH RACE (4:12 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 1-Tough But Nice; 2-Mr. Opportunist
The fifth race is a strong starter’s allowance sprint for 3-year-olds with the main contention drawn inside. #1 Tough But Nice will appreciate this turn back in trip and a fast track, conditions that produced a career top speed figure over this track earlier this year. The son of Good Journey should be quick enough to overcome his rail post, and a nice half mile work last week will have this Hector Palma-trained sophomore right on edge. #2 Mr. Opportunist is strictly the one to beat, having just won the Desert Code Stakes earlier this month over this track and distance in an off-the-turf event. All three of his career sprints have been excellent, and like Tough But Nice he recorded a very sharp four furlong workout just a few days ago. We’ll slightly prefer Mr. Opportunist on top but use both in our rolling exotics.
SIXTH RACE (4:44 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 3-Boone Docks; 4-Royalist; 11-Blue Law
The sixth race is a grass grab bag for restricted (nw-2) $25,000 older claimers. We’ll go three deep in our rolling exotics but feel free to spread deeper if you feel the need. #11 Blue Law must overcome the extreme outside post but if he can somehow negotiate a good trip he can beat this field at a nice price (he’s 8-1 on the morning line). The Bob Hess-trained gelding has back numbers over this course that are better than par and enough early speed to gain a favorable pace-prompting position. #3 Boone Docks has won on this turf course in the past and exits a series of decent sprints. It wouldn’t be surprising to see this Smart Strike gelding on the front end. #4 Royalist is a lightly-raced six-year-old showing up in a claimer for the first time; he’s a fit on numbers, lands Bejarano, and broke his maiden over this course and distance in his debut last year. There’s some value here at 6-1 on the morning line if you can get it.
SEVENTH RACE (5:15 PT) – GRADE: B+
Single: 5-Swiss Silver
The seventh race is a restricted (nw-2) $12,500 middle distance claimer that seems made to order for #5 Swiss Silver. First off the claim for Palma (31% with this angle), the son of Ministers Wildcat is winless in two years and just 1-for-18 lifetime, but against this group he appears to have a decided advantage in tactical speed and current form. He’ll also get a significant break in the weights with the switch to bug boy Pena. Exiting a good sprint, he should be comfortably placed on or near the lead and have every chance to produce his best effort. At 5/2 on the morning line he’s a straight play and rolling exotic single.
EIGHTH RACE (5:39 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 4-Montego Bay; 5-Bal a Bali; 9-Finnegans Wake
The featured Charles Whittingham Stakes-G2 brings together the best West Coast older turf runners at 10 furlongs, with several contenders to consider. #5 Bal a Bali should enjoy this longer distance, having been a multi-Grade 1 winner at marathon trips in his native Brazil. He doesn’t quite have the necessary turn of foot to be at his best at a flat mile – a distance he’s been asked to compete in six of his eight North American outings – but at a mile and one-quarter he should be right at home. He’s the logical top selection at 5/2 on the morning line for the always-potent Mandella/Prat team. #9 Finnegans Wake found a flat mile too sharp when a strong closing but much-too-late sixth (beaten five lengths) in the Thunder Road Stakes in his seasonal bow last month; he’ll move forward today with that effort behind him at a distance that suits him just fine. #4 Montego Bay was given too much to do when sixth, beaten less than four lengths, in the San Francisco Mile up north last month; he’s another that should benefit from today’s added distance and based on numbers he’s not that far removed from the major players in this field. At 10-1 on the morning line, the veteran Neil Drysdale-trained gelding is worth tossing in.
NINTH RACE (6:09 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 3-Blyde River; 7-Carulli; 9-Big Discovery
The finale is a bottom-rung maiden claimer over a mile, and is a better than par race for the level. #7 Carulli is improving with racing and earned a strong number when second (while 12 lengths clear of the rest) in a similar event at Los Alamitos last month. The Richard Baltas-trained gelding switches to Bejarano and with another forward move should earn his diploma. #9 Big Discovery is a 13-race maiden and perhaps not one to trust, but he’s hit the board on eight occasions and should at least land in the frame again today. He drops to his lowest level ever and has recent speed figures that fit very well with this group. #3 Blyde River is lightly-raced and drops to his lowest level ever while retaining Kent Desormeaux. His most recent outing was race-shape aided (when beaten a head at Los Alamitos) and may have flattered him, but at least it was a step in the right direction. With another forward move today could be heard from in the final furlong.