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 (12:00 PT) – GRADE: B+
Single: 4-Enola Gray
#4 Enola Gray turned in a “Ruffian-type” performance in her debut last month, winning by more than 16 lengths while earning a Grade-1 type speed figure. In the Saturday opener, a first-level allowance sprint for state-bred fillies and mares, she’s listed at 2/5 on the morning line, and that might even be an overlay. Obviously there’s nothing we can do with her except take the free bingo space in rolling exotic play and move on.
SECOND RACE (12:33 PT) – GRADE: B+
Use: 2-Tengas Ransom; 7-Boy Howdy
#2 Tengas Ransom continues to improve with racing and looks ready to graduate. The Mullins-trained colt was a sharp runner-up to Rocket Fuel in a fast, highly-rated sprint here last month and the form was franked when ‘Fuel came back Thursday to win a strong allowance race in dominating fashion. We’ll also toss in the promising first timer #7 Boy Howdy. The son of Southern Image has shown plenty of ability in the a.m. for Spawr and though not really bred to sprint has displayed good speed in the a.m. without really being asked for his best. He could give ‘Ransom something to worry about if he breaks with his field.
THIRD RACE (1:07 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 1-Smokey Image; 5-Tristan’s Trilogy
The third race, the Desert Code Stakes, was originally carded for the Hillside Turf Course. As this is written, it is uncertain if the race will remain on turf due to yesterday’s rains. On any surface, #1 Smokey Image will be hard to beat; he’s unbeaten sprinting and exits two graded stakes races, most recently the Santa Anita Derby-G1 in which he stalked a blazing pace to the turn before giving way. He should bounce back against this group. #5 Tristan’s Trilogy is fresh from a fast, impressive maiden score over this course and distance and should be tough right back. However, we doubt he’ll run if the race is switched to the main track.
FOURTH RACE (1:40 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 2-Late n’ Left; 6-Watch Me Now; 9-Flaming Vixen
Maiden claiming fillies and mares meet at six and one-half furlongs in the fourth race, with #6 Watch Me Now very likely to enjoy this extended sprint distance. The Desormeaux-trained filly doesn’t have a whole lot of gate speed but can do some good work late, and at this trip she seems capable of producing the last run. #2 Late ‘n Left, away since October, makes her first start as a 3-year-old in a modest affair for Puype, who has solid stats with layoff runners. The daughter of Lucky Pulpit chased maiden special weight foes in three starts last year and should appreciate the class drop. #9 Flaming Vixen is worth including in rolling exotic play as well. A closing second in a similar event at six furlongs in late March, the Baltas-trained filly is another that figures to enjoy the extra distance and lands a comfortable outside post while retaining Bejarano. She should have no excuses today.
FIFTH RACE (2:15 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 1-London Legacy; 4-Karma King; 6-Story to Tell
The fifth race is another extended sprint, this one for $25,000 older claimers. #1 London Legacy earned a career stop speed figure in demolishing a restricted (nw-3) $16,000 claiming field over this track and distance in early March and moves up two levels in class (and faces open company) in his first start since for new trainer Spawr (superior stats with first-off-claim plays). With two months off since that fast, taxing race, the veteran gelding should be able to run back to that effort, assuming he can avoid trouble from the rail. #4 Karma King is back sprinting and back on the main track and under similar conditions was an excellent runner-up when facing a tougher field two races back. Never worse than second in three starts over the Santa Anita main track, the Sherlock-trained gelding should settle into a good pace-stalking position and have every chance. #6 Story to Tell, first off the claim for Diodoro (23% with a flat-bet profit with this angle), has been below form in a pair of 2016 outings but showed some of his old spark with a recent sharp five furlong workout in 59 seconds. He’s always liked this track and will have clear sailing outside. We’ll make London Legacy the top pick and one to beat but include all three in our rolling exotics.
SIXTH RACE (2:49 PT) – GRADE: C+
Use: 1-Te Rapa; 3-Macro Access; 4-Comes the Dream
The sixth race was originally carded for turf. As of this writing, it’s a guess whether the race will remain on grass due to yesterday’s rain. # 4 Comes the Dream should be a strong threat no matter what the surface; the Kitchingman-trained gelding just won gate-to-wire over the local lawn in a competitive $16,000 starters allowance miler but also scored over the Santa Anita main track in February from a stalking position. Versatile and genuine, the Lion Heart gelding retains Maldonado, has consistent recent speed figures, and is the one to beat. #3 Macro Access and #1 Te Rapa finished two-three in a $32,000 claiming event over this course and distance last month and both will be dangerous with similar efforts today. However, neither is likely to start if the race is switched to the main track.
SEVENTH RACE (4:20 PT) – GRADE: C+
Use: 2-Seaquet; 7-Mother Flower
The seventh race is a split of the fourth and appears to be the weaker of the two. #7 Mother Flower ran well in her debut at this level when producing a willing late bid to finish second, but was overmatched when stretched out to the maiden $40,000 level in her next outing and was no threat. Back where she belongs today and adding blinkers, the daughter of Flower Alley looks capable of producing the last run. #2 Seaquet plummets to the bottom after being out of her element in straight maiden state-bred company over a mile on turf in her most recent start. Her debut – a third place effort with a nice late bid vs. maiden $50,000 foes – charts quite well here, though the one month gap in works between March 24 and April 23 raises a bit of a red flag. We’ll put Mother Flower on top but this is not a race to get too heavily involved in and rolling exotic players probably should consider using as many as they can afford to.
EIGHTH RACE (4:52 PT) – GRADE: C+
Use: 3-Upbeat Tempo; 5-Where’s Bubba; 7-Zim N the Mailman
The eighth race is a restricted (nw-2) $12,500 claiming miler with nothing, really, to trust. #7 Zim N the Mailman is just one-for-15 lifetime but has been knocking on the door of late, finishing second in his last pair with solid numbers for the level. He prefers to settle early and make a run and there should be enough pace in here to compliment his style. #3 Upbeat Tempo, third in his last – both times finishing just behind Zim N the Mailman – is back for more today and really won’t have to improve much to win. The Ellis-trained colt had been on the front end in his last pair but may employ stalking tactics today with the presence of the sprinter-stretching-out #5 Where’s Bubba in the field. The Spawr-trained gelding is unproven around two turns but he should be quick enough to establish the pace and may get brave if not pressured early. These are the three we’ll include in our rolling exotics but not with a great deal of confidence.
NINTH RACE (5:22 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 1-Fourth Watch; 3-Decked Out; 7-Be Mine; 9-Stays in Vegas
The Senorita Stakes is carded as the ninth on the 11-race program; as of this writing it is uncertain whether it will remain on turf. Most of the entrants are strictly grass specialists so if this race is moved to the main track it could completely fall apart. #7 Be Mine hasn’t beaten anywhere near this quality of competition but she’s been visually very impressive in both of her wins to date, including a starter’s allowance romp over this course and distance in her first start since joining the D’Amato barn after her debut score at Tampa Bay Downs. She’s actually bred for dirt and trains well over it, so it wouldn’t be surprising if she remained in the lineup, no matter what. #9 Stays in Vegas is a two-time stakes winner on dirt so she’ll probably run either way as well. Away since finishing second in the Starlet S.-G1 at Los Alamitos in December, the daughter of City Zip has been given an excellent foundation in a series of long works at Golden Gate Fields for her sophomore debut and if she returns as well as she left, the Hollendorfer-trained filly will be the one to beat. #3 Decked Out and #1 Fourth Watch both have credentials but are less likely to start if the race comes off the lawn. The former produced a devastating late kick to win the recent Providencia S.-G3 while the latter requires a patient ride and some cover and seems much better than her last race in which she was sent unwisely to the front.
TENTH RACE (5:52 PT) – GRADE: B+
Use: 1-Supreme Venture; 5-Westfest
#5 Westfest was a beaten choice in his debut but has continued to impress in the morning and probably deserves another chance. The Baffert-trained colt switches to Bejarano and will take some catching unless there’s a decent first-timer in the field. And there very well may be. #1 Supreme Venture has displayed plenty of quality in the a.m. for Hess and appears to offer excellent value at 6-1 on the morning line. The son of Forestry actually outworked the stakes filly Enchanting Lady in an unscheduled team drill in late March and has done everything right in the a.m. since. The rail always is a concern with a first time starter but if he leaves cleanly under Maldonado this speedy gelding could give the favorite plenty to worry. Both should be used in rolling exotic play; because he’s sure to be the better price we’ll put Supreme Venture on top.
ELEVENTH RACE (6:22 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 5-Dressed to a T; 8-Ambroseli; 9-Kiss at Midnight
The nightcap is a first-level allowance race for fillies and mares slated for a mile on turf; if the race is transferred to the main track major contenders #5 Dressed to a T and #8 Ambroseli most likely will scratch. Dressed to a T was victimized by a wide trip and a premature move and paid for it late when nailed close home by Hiking in a similar event over nine furlongs last month. The daughter of Square Eddie should be just as effective if not more so at this shorter trip and will be tough to contain if she gets the opportunity. Ambroseli was third in same race Dressed to a T exits in her U.S, debut and has every right to produce a forward move. 9-Kiss at Midnight ran very well in her turf debut when runner-up in the Dream of Summer Stakes but wouldn’t be inconvenienced if the race was switched to the main track, as the daughter of Decarchy seems capable of handling any type of surface and likely will run regardless. The Baltas-trained filly retains Bejarano and will be heard from in the final furlong.