Jeff Siegel’s Blog: Santa Anita Analysis & Wagering Strategies for Monday, Dec. 31, 2018

The selections contained within are 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 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, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.

​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 four-deep in his rolling exotic play and on a very rare occasion he will recommend a “buy the race” strategy.

The selections are available every racing day after 9 a.m. (PST).  For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.

Top selection indicated in bold-face.  

A=Highest degree of confidence.

B=Solid Play.

C=Least preferred, or pass.

X=likely winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.


Monday, December 31, 2018

​RACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: C+

Use: 3-Hot American; 8-Ayacara; 10-Offshore

Forecast: The New Year’s Eve opener is a grass grab bag for restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claimers and is borderline inscrutable.  The three we’ve listed should run well, but no result would surprise us, you should use as many as you can afford to in rolling exotic play.  Hot American broke his maiden over this course in his debut last spring and has been chasing tougher foes than he’s facing today ever since.  The class drop, the switch to Baze, the comfortable draw, and a healthy work pattern should produce his best effort.  Offshore is drawn poorly outside and has never hit the board in five prior starts over the local lawn, but he’s another tackling the easiest company he’s ever faced and goes for high percentage connections (Baltas, Rosario).  If he can negotiate a decent trip he should be heard from late.  Ayacara removes blinkers, retains Prat, and is another capable of producing a dangerous late bid off his best effort.  After being claimed for $40,000 by Cerin, he was protected in starter’s allowance company in his next four starts, so at least we know he’s relatively healthy.


​​RACE 2: Post 1:02 PT. Grade: B

Single: 3-Second Fiddle

Forecast: Bottom-rung ($16,000) maiden claiming fillies and mares sprint seven furlongs with Second Fiddle earning top billing by default.  The Mullins-trained filly broke a bit slowly in her most recent outing but still managed to wind up second; if she comes out cleanly today she should draft into a pace-prompting position and then have every chance from there.  Additionally, with just four prior runs, she may have upside the others don’t and on pure numbers she’s fast enough to win.  We’ll use the daughter of Paynter as a single and hope to get close to her morning line of 7/2.


​​RACE 3: Post 1:33 PT. Grade: B

Use: 1-He Will

Forecast: ​ At first glance it appears He Will is off form, but after a non-productive 2018 (unplaced in four starts) the veteran son of Cyclotron has a chance to finish out the year on a good note.  This open allowance affair is restricted to state-bred company and presents a much easier task than the graded stakes races that the Hollendorfer-trained veteran has been competing in of late.  Drawn inside in a smallish field that has plenty of pace to compliment his late-running style, He Will should have every opportunity to settle early and produce the last run.  We wouldn’t take too much less than his morning line of 5/2 but at that price we’ll make him a straight play and rolling exotic single.


​​​RACE 4: Post 2:05 PT. Grade: B+

Use: 2-Justin’s Quest; 7-Persuasive Cat

Forecast: Persuasive Cat was in for the experience sprinting on turf in his debut and never threatened, but today he gets much more favorable conditions, so we’re expecting the well-bred son of Discreet Cat out of Beldame winner Life at Ten to improve considerably.  He’s a leggy, long-striding colt that made our “Primed and Ready” list (see video), and at this trip on the main track he should step forward while offering good wagering value at his morning line of 8-1.  Justin’s Quest clearly is the one to beat and probably should be included in rolling exotic play, at least as a saver.  In the money in his last three, most recently when beaten a nose while almost five clear of the rest, the Baltas-trained colt switches to Prat and is likely to go considerably lower on the tote than his 9/5 morning line.


​​RACE 5: Post 2:37 PT. Grade: B

Use: 3-Count Alexander; 5-Quick Finish; 9-North County Guy

Forecast: North County Guy absolutely freaked in his first try down the Hillside course during the fall meeting, winning by almost six lengths with a career top speed figure.  Freshened since then and working like he’s fit and ready at San Luis Rey Downs for Baltas, the state-bred gelding moves into open company today but certainly can win right back if he can build on his most recent outing.  Count Alexander launches a comeback for Cerin and if ready should be highly-competitive in this first-level allowance affair.  Stakes-placed during his juvenile campaign and a winner of his debut to prove he can fire fresh, the son of Scat Daddy should be rolling in the final furlong.  Quick Finish, bred for turf (Vronsky), finally got a chance to try grass and responded with a solid with in a Cal-bred affair at Del Mar while earning a speed figure that makes him a fit despite the tougher assignment.  He appears to have the proper stalking style for this course and distance, retains Van Dyke, and certainly is worth tossing in at 6-1 on the morning line.


​​RACE 6: Post 3:09 PT. Grade: B-

Use: 4-Diosa; 7-Kate’s Princess

Forecast:Kate’s Princess looked pretty good breaking her maiden last month at Del Mar in gate-to-wire-fashion and did so with a strong speed figure for the level.  Drawn nicely outside in this starter’s allowance sprint, the daughter of Lucky Pulpit could pop and go but likely will employ stalk and pounce tactics due to the presence of need-the-lead Diosa, who seems like the quickest of the quick and should stick better shortening up a half-furlong today.  The Pender-trained daughter of Uncaptured switches to Bejarano, and a repeat of her maiden claiming win two runs back could be good enough.  Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Kate’s Princess.


RACE 7: Post 3:41 PT. Grade: C+

Use: 1-Tell Me More; 2-Screenshot; 4-Super Patriot; 8-Mongolian Window

Forecast: Today’s seventh race is a highly-contentious first-level allowance turf miler for fillies and mares that is loaded with possibilities.  We’ll use four in our rolling exotics and hope to get by.  Tell Me More has finished in the frame in all five of her starts over the Santa Anita turf course and should fire another big shot.  She’ll enjoy a ground-saving trip form the rail and can turn it on late; with good racing luck she’ll be heard from in the final furlong.  Also, she was third to Amardine last month at Del Mar and had the form flattered when that filly returned to win a stakes race here on opening day.  Super Patriot has won three of her last five for Baffert, most recently when earning a career-top speed figure beating state-bred foes at Del Mar last month.  She loses her regular pilot Van Dyke (who opts for Mongolian Window) but picks up Rosario, so no harm done.  Two of her three career wins have come over this turf course.  Screenshot broke her maiden in clever fashion at Del Mar last month, and with just four career outings has plenty of room for further development.  She turned in made an impressive recent workout, so we suspect she’s ready to produce yet another forward move.  At 8-1 on the morning line she’s a “must use.”  Mongolian Window defeated a starter’s allowance field in gate-to-wire style at Del Mar in early November and has trained sharply since for Miller.  She’s a versatile type than can win from off the pace if need be, so Van Dyke can play it by ear.


​​RACE 8: Post 4:17 PT. Grade:

Use: 2-Loud Mouth; 7-Starring John Wain

Forecast: Loud Mouth chased straight maidens in his debut at Los Alamitos earlier this month and while finishing fifth, beaten under four lengths, earned a speed figure that should be more than good enough to beat this field if repeated.  The second-time starter from the Machowsky barn retains Baze and really doesn’t have a whole lot to beat in this maiden $50,000 claiming sprint for state-bred juveniles.  Starring John Wain appears best of the known element following a third-place effort – beaten a neck – in a similar affair at Del Mar in November.  He picks up Rosario, so improvement is likely, but on pure numbers he’s just a so-so sort for Hollendorfer.  We’ll include both in our rolling exotics but then press with extra tickets keying Loud Mouth on top.



Jeff Siegel’s Blog: Santa Anita Analysis & Wagering Strategies for Monday, Dec. 31, 2018

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