“What You Need to Know” – Santa Anita
By Jeff Siegel, 1stbet.com Handicapper & Analyst
Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s Daily Santa Anita Handicapping Analysis, Wagering Strategies, Workout Commentary, and True Odds Calculations (“TOC”) identify those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.
The “TOC” quantifies the findings of a personal thoroughbred analytics program that contains in its database the results of every race contested at Santa Anita since 2004. More than 75 critical factors in the fields of class, distance, surface, age, and sex have created 227 algorithms that are highly specific to the race being handicapped. The result is a probability line that reflects each contender’s true odds based on a pure 100-point takeout.
The “TOC” applies its mathematical formula only to non-maiden races and displays a maximum of four runners considered the most likely contenders to win. Also listed is the specific algorithm’s sample size plus the top-rated horse’s win percentage and return on investment (ROI). It is suggested that the player utilize the program’s findings to compare each contender’s “true odds” with the morning line and/or actual wagering odds to identify potential overlays and underlays.
Also-eligible runners are not included in any of the calculations until verified as actual starters. When possible, adjustments to the “TOC” will be updated after late scratches.
For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.
Grade A=Highest degree of confidence
Grade B=Solid Play.
Grade C=Least preferred or pass
Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play
RACE 1: Post: 12:30 PT Grade: B-
Use (in order of preference): 4-Barristan The Bold; 10-Psycho Dar; 2-Mr. Lovejoy
Forecast: Barristan The Bold (TOC=3-1: ML=3-1) is wheeled back on short rest (six days) after winning a $40,000 seller over this course and distance from off the pace. This $25,000 starter’s allowance dash is well within his scope, but the quick turnaround is clearly a concern. We’ll use him but certainly not single him. Psycho Dar (TOC=2-1; ML=5/2) returns from the Bay Area after a series of sharp all-weather races with numbers that make him a solid fit at this level. First or second in six of 12 career starts over the Santa Anita turf course, the veteran gelding has changed his style from a speed type to a closer and surely will see plenty of heat today that will compliment his style. The far outside draw, however, is a major concern. Price players should consider tossing in Mr. Lovejoy (TOC=10-1; ML=81) somewhere on their ticket. He’s run well sprinting on turf in the past, remains protected in a sign of confidence after being claimed for $25,000 two races back, and hails from the hot V. Cerin barn. He’s a lifetime winner of 14 races with the kind of early zip that makes him dangerous at this five-furlong trip.
RACE 2: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: X
Use (in order of preference): 5-Work to Live; 2-Nang Singha
Forecast: This maiden $75,000 sprint for sophomore fillies drew just five entrants, so there’s not much we can do with it. Work to Live was overmatched in a straight maiden turf sprint last time out but returns to the maiden claiming ranks and ran well enough in her debut at Los Alamitos (in a maiden $50,000 event) to warrant top billing by default. Drawn comfortably outside, switching to F. Prat, and removing blinkers, the T. Yakteen-trained daughter of Outwork projects to inherit the role as the controlling speed and have every chance to lead throughout. Nang Singha closed a gap to be a distant second in her debut vs. slightly softer foes, gets an extra half-furlong to work with today, and is the one to fear most. A recent sharp half mile drill (:47 2/5, third fastest of 40) may be significant. Both should be included in rolling exotic play in a race that we’ll otherwise leave alone.
RACE 3: Post: 1:30 PT Grade: B+
Single: 6-Carroll Girl
Forecast: Carroll Girl shows two strong recent races over the Santa Anita turf course, most recently when finishing a solid second at this same one-mile distance in a race that earned a sharp speed figure. A repeat of that performance today should be good enough, and with F. Prat staying aboard, the R. Baltas-trained filly looks all set to graduate. A healthy recent series of works at San Luis Rey Downs is another positive factor. At 5/2 on the morning line, the daughter of First Samurai offers good value both in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics.
RACE 4: Post: 2:02 PT Grade: B+
Single: 4-Scary Fast Smile
Forecast: Scary Fast Smile (TOC=6/5; ML=8/5) is listed at 8/5 on the morning line and may go lower following a fast, highly rated win vs. state-bred foes here last month. He will tackle open company today, but in his present form the D. O’Neill-trained gelding should have no issues scoring right back while facing just four rivals. It seems significant that F. Prat stays aboard and clearly has preferred this son of Smiling Tiger over the race’s other main contender and a colt he’s ridden in his last two starts, Escape Route (TOC=5/2; ML=9/5).
RACE 5: Post: 2:34 PT Grade: B
Use (in order of preference): 2-Harbored Memories; 1-Vantastic; 3-Gregdar
Forecast: The main contention in this second-level turf sprint is drawn inside, with the prototype turf sprinter Harbored Memories (TOC=5/2; ML=5/2) getting the edge on top despite being away since August. A two-time winner over the local lawn, the M. Puype-trained colt has worked well enough to be fit and ready for a stable that has superior stats with layoff runners, so at 5/2 on the morning line the Washington-bred colt looks well-spotted to fire his best shot. Vantastic (TOC=3-1; ML=3-1) and Gregdar (TOC=6-1; ML=4-1) finished third and fifth, respectively, in a Hillside event at this level last month, both finishing well but a tad too late. Neither will have any issue with the switch to the flat course, and with some help up front both should be heard from close home. All three should be included in rolling exotic play with the main push going to Harbored Memories.
RACE 6: Post: 3:07 PT Grade: B+
Single: 3-Street Ruckus
Forecast: Street Ruckus (TOC=8/5; ML=5/2) suffered a tough beat at this level last month over nine furlongs on turf when cutting out fast fractions, leading the way into the lane but then getting tagged right near the wire while earning a career top number. Today, the V. Cerin-trained gelding shortens to a mile, returns to the main track, and projects to be the controlling speed in a field in which the closing types – such as 1-for-22 Bud Knight – look suspect. If he can continue his improving pattern, or merely duplicate his last race under these conditions, the son of Street Boss should be hard to beat, so at 5/2 on the morning line let’s take a stand and make him a win play and rolling exotic single.
RACE 7: Post: 3:37 PT Grade: B+
Single: 5-Travel Smart
Forecast: Travel Smart (TOC=7/5; ML=5/2) has much in her favor in this starter’s allowance turf miler for sophomore fillies. The daughter of Gormley exits a couple of stakes races (didn’t run badly in either) and is eligible for this race for having broken her maiden for $50,000 over this course and distance last fall. She removes blinkers, adds Lasix, picks up Johnny V., and should benefit from faster-than-par early fractions to compliment her late-running style. At 5/2 on the morning line, she’s a win play and rolling exotic single.
RACE 8: Post: 4:18 PT Grade: C+
Use (in order of preference): 7-Take a Leap; 5-Busy Paynter; 1-A New Peace
Forecast: Tough race. We’ll go three deep in rolling exotic play in this $12,500 claiming sprint for fillies and mares without any real conviction. Take a Leap (TOC=9/5; ML=7/2) is a first-off-the-claim play for S. Miyadi following two strong efforts over a mile and if she has one good one left the veteran mare may be hard to beat. Effective at any distance when she’s on her game, the 7-year-old mare looks capable of producing a winning late kick. Busy Paynter, (TOC=7/2; ML=3-1) claimed in her last pair, projects to have a strong pace presence, is a three-time winner over the Santa Anita main track, and is exiting a productive race, so the K. Mulhall-trained mare is a major player and a “must use.” A New Peace, (TOC=8-1; ML=4-1) like our top pick, shows the route-to-sprint angle and from an inside draw seems likely to be asked for early speed. The transfer from turf to dirt won’t be an issue, so if she can shake loose early under hot bug boy D. Herrera, she could get brave late.
RACE 9: Post: 4:41 PT Grade: B-
Use (in order of preference): 1-Say the Word; 6-Acclimate
Forecast: Simply stated, we were underwhelmed by the performance of Say The Word (TOC=9/5; ML=5/2) in the San Marcos S.-G2 in late January. Impressive winner of the Hollywood Turf Cup-G2 at Del Mar in his previous outing, the veteran gelding was cold on the board and didn’t really fire when a non-threatening third of five despite getting hot fractions to run at. That race, however, was at a mile and one-quarter and today the son of More Than Ready gets his preferred marathon trip while picking up F. Prat, so even though he’s winless in three starts over the local lawn, we’ll give the P. D’Amato-trained veteran a good chance to regain his winning form. His stablemate Acclimate (TOC=7/2; ML=4-1) once again projects as the controlling speed, and though he’s a glaring zero-for-five at this 12-furlong journey, he did win the mile and three-quarters San Juan Capistrano S.-G2 here last summer, so we know he can handle the distance. A five-time winner at Santa Anita, the eight-year-old son of Acclamation always must be respected.