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 (12:30 PT) – GRADE: B+
Use: 2-Madam Mousse; 10-Summer Wine
#2 Madam Mousse seems the solid choice in the Mother’s Day opener, a first-level state bred optional claimer for fillies and mares. Both of her races over the Hillside Course were sharp, she’s trained like she’s fit and ready for another forward move in her first outing since mid-March, and she should draft into an ideal second flight, pace-stalking position. Additionally, she’s lightly raced (just four starts) and likely has a higher ceiling than most of the others. #10 Summer Wine vans down from the Bay Area for her first race since last July; the daughter of Lucky Pulpit won her debut so you know she can fire fresh and she has the type of late kick that should be effective over this course. A bullet six furlong workout over the Tapeta surface really catches the eye. Let’s prefer Madame Mousse slightly on top but use both in our rolling exotics.
SECOND RACE (1:00 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 1-Nine Point Nine; 5-Pico Chick
Sophomore $40,000 claiming fillies sprint seven furlongs in the second race. #1 Nine Point Nine has won three of four starts over the Santa Anita main track and appears well-spotted for another big effort; she’s drawn inside but has enough early zip to inherit the role as the controlling speed in a field without a whole lot of it. The Cerin-trained daughter of Tribal Rule was a bit disappointing in a tougher spot at Los Alamitos a couple of weeks ago but this one-level class drop and the return to her favorite track should help her turn things around. # Pico Chick is the one to fear most and a “must use” in rolling exotic play. First off the claim for Baltas, she’s been freshened since early March after a sharp score in a $25,000 claiming miler and returns on the double jump while retaining Bejarano. She’s also shortening up to what may be her ideal trip.
THIRD RACE (1:30 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 1-Pete’s Play Call; 6-Spanish Hombre
Maiden $40,000 claimers sprint six furlongs in the third race; we’ll double the race in our rolling exotics while preferring #6 Spanish Hombre on top. A voided $50,000 claim when a distant fourth as the favorite over a sloppy track last month, he returns on a one-level drop for high percentage trainer D’Amato while continuing to impress in the morning. With a strong ride from seven pound bug Panicucci, this gelded son of Spaniard should be ready to show his best stuff. #1 Pete’s Play Call is a strong fit on speed figures and retains Bejarano. The rail post is of some concern, but the Glatt-trained gelding should have enough early speed to gain a favorable stalking spot.
FOURTH RACE (2:00 PT) – GRADE: B+
Use: 2-Name for the Blame; 4-Bombard; 8-Liam the Charmer
The fourth race is a stronger-than-par maiden special weight turf miler that requires a bit of a spread in rolling exotic play. #2 Name for the Blame is a European import making his U.S. debut for O’Neill (strong with this angle) and seems like a nice prospect after finishing a good second in his only start over the Dundalk all-weather surface late last year. The son of Blame was a troubled third of 15 in that race and we’re expecting he’ll acclimate very well to American racing. The workouts aren’t flashy but they’ve been solid and will have this colt primed for a big run. #8 Liam the Charmer is the likely choice and one to beat. A closing second over nine furlongs on turf in late February, the McCarthy-trained colt earned a big figure in that race and if he can duplicate that performance at this shorter trip, the late-running son of Smart Strike will be hard to contain in the final furlong. We’ll also toss in #4 Bombard, a second-time starter from the Mandella barn that seems sure to improve with distance and experience. A closing third down the hill in his debut, the son of War Front retains Prat and has flashed improvement in a.m. drills since that early April outing.
FIFTH RACE (2:30 PT) – GRADE: B
While #6 Beholder offers no wagering value (she’s 1/9 on the morning line) in the Adoration Stakes, it’s great to see her back and we’re hoping she’ll pick up where she left off last fall when winning the Zenyatta Stakes over this track and distance. It’s almost unprecedented – at least in the past quarter century – for a mare of her quality to be still racing at this advanced age. Let’s just enjoy her.
SIXTH RACE (3:00 PT) – GRADE: B
Use: 1-Navy Hymn; 4-Shiny Nugget
The sixth race is a $25,000 claiming sprint for 3-year-olds, with two main contenders. #1 Navy Hymn, never worse than second in five career starts, is a first-off-the-claim play for Baltas after easily disposing of $16,000 rivals last month in gate-to-wire style. The gelding should be the controlling speed again – rail and all – and Bejarano remains while trying to make it three straight wins aboard this son of Songandaprayer. #4 Shiny Nugget is another seeking his third win in a row. The Knapp-trained son of Indygo Shiner does his best work from off the pace should be heard from again late. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top going to Navy Hymn.
SEVENTH RACE (3:30 PT) – GRADE: B-
Use: 2-To the Bar; 4-Temple Keys; 5-Itsinthepost
We’ve been waiting for #2 To the Bar to show his best stuff and we’ll give him one more chance in the seventh race, a nine-furlong entry-level allowance event on grass. The Ellis-trained gelding broke his maiden here last year in smart fashion before being stopped on, and while he continues to impress in the morning, the son of Kitten’s Joy simply hasn’t run to his workouts in two starts this year. This nine furlong distance should prove much more comfortable, and he’s reunited with Talamo, who won on him last year. The morning line of 6-1 seems reasonable. #4 Temple Keys tries blinkers for the first time, continues to show spark in the morning and could produce a significant forward move in his second start since joining the Baltas stable. Bejarano stays aboard, and we’re expecting to see this colt make his presence felt in the final furlong. #5 Itsinthepost switches to the Mullins barn, so improvement can be expected. Third in his last pair against similar foes, the French-bred gelding should be running on strongly again with this extra furlong to work with. All three should be used in rolling exotic play with preference on top to To the Bar.
EIGHTH RACE (4:00 PT) – GRADE: C+
Use: 4-Senna; 5-Bluegrass Reward; 7-Misdeed
The eighth race is a bottom-rung $8,000 middle distance claimer that attracted six starters, two of which are shipping down from Golden Gate Fields. #7 Misdeed has chased tougher up north in his last pair but could regain his best form at this level; the Wong-trained gelding likes to lag and produce a late run and a repeat of his clever score three races back would be more than good enough to handle this assignment. #4 Senna, a winner of a restricted $8,000 affair two weeks ago up north, is a consistent type with numbers that fit and hails from a winning barn. A bullet blowout earlier this week indicates he remains on edge. #5 Bluegrass Reward is an old-timer with 10 career victories – five of which have come at Santa Anita - and exits a much tougher starter’s allowance event. He can be effective on the front end and if given the role as the controlling speed could take this group a very long way.
NINTH RACE (4:30 PT) – GRADE: B+
Use: 6-Excessive Kid; 8-John’s Success; 10-Film Freak
The finale is a split of the seventh race and may be a tad stronger of the two. #6 Excessive Kid is progressing nicely for Gaines and should be set for his best effort yet in his third start in his current form cycle. The lightly-raced son of Lemon Drop Kid closed with courage when a strong runner-up in a 10 furlong affair in late March and has trained well since. He’s reunited with Talamo, who won on him here last year. #8 John’s Success exits a pair of much stronger races and will appreciate the class relief. He makes his first start since being transferred to the Billy Morey barn and is reunited with Bejarano, who won on him three races back. The son of Colonel John should draft into a comfortable pace-stalking position. #10 Film Freak is a progressive son of Fusaichi Pegasus; the Yakteen-trained colt switches to Prat and acts like he’ll enjoy this nine furlong trip. All three should be included in rolling exotics play; we’ll give a slight edge on top to Excessive Kid.