Jeff Siegel’s Blog:  Santa Anita Analysis & Wagering Strategies for Saturday, Dec. 29, 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.


Saturday, December 29, 2018

​RACE 1: Post 12:00 PT. Grade: B+

Use: 5-Speedette; 6-Fashion Island

Forecast: Fashion Island wasn’t knocked about when a promising third in her debut over a mile on grass last month at Del Mar and since then has been very impressive in the morning, including an easy half mile drill last week that landed her on our “Primed and Ready” list (see video).  The daughter of Medaglia d’Oro stretches out to nine furlongs today and should appreciate the added ground.  Van Dyke got to know her in her first outing and stays aboard.  Speedette is a big price on the morning line (15-1) but seems better than that and should be included in the exotics on at least a ticket or two.  In her first try on grass, the daughter of Oxbow finished full of run but too late up in a race at Golden Gate Fields and was impressive enough to make our Black Book (see video).  She should step forward again with an extra furlong to bolster her late-running style for the Desormeaux brothers.


​​RACE 2: Post 12:32 PT. Grade: C+

Use: 3-Facts Matter; 4-Blame Joe

Forecast: Facts Matter takes a nosedive in class and may have found his friends in this $12,500 restricted (nw-2) claiming sprint.  The Hollendorfer-trained gelding switches to Rosario, has back numbers that are more than good enough to win in this league, and really doesn’t have too much to beat.  However, class droppers with this type of pattern rarely offer much wagering value.  Blame Joe was pulled up and then walked off in his most recent start last month at Del Mar and has failed as the favorite in his last pair.  However, the Miller-trained gelding has won over this track in the past and is being re-equipped with blinkers, so perhaps he can bounce back.  In a race that might be best avoided, we’ll try to survive and advance in rolling exotic play using just these two.


​​RACE 3: Post 1:04 PT. Grade: C+

Use: 5-Meritocracy; 7-Naomi Fraley; 11-A Dime for Me

Forecast: ​ This maiden $50,000 claiming sprint for state-bred 2-year-old fillies is borderline inscrutable, so best advice is to go as deep as you can afford to in rolling exotic play.  Meritocracy was stuck behind horses most of the way in her debut but kept on gamely to finish a close third vs. similar at Del Mar last month.  She has a right to improve with that race under her belt for a barn that has solid stats with second-time starters.  She may be as good as any.  Naomi Fraley, a decent runner-up in her debut at Los Alamitos three weeks ago, is another that should produce a forward move in her second career start.  She’s faster on numbers that Meritocracy, thus she is listed as the 3-1 morning line choice.  You should also toss in A Dime for Me, a very respectable second after pressing the pace throughout in a maiden $32,000 affair at Del Mar last month.  She certainly won’t have to improve much to win.


​​​RACE 4: Post 1:34 PT. Grade: B-

Use: 2-Escape Clause; 4-Fahan Mura; 8-Excellent Sunset

Forecast: Fahan Mura always must be caught and she gets ideal conditions to regain her winning form in this nine-furlong turf graded stakes for fillies and mares.  This distance is stretching her limit but her amazing record over this turf course – five wins in six starts – is hard to ignore.  We’ll put her on top but also include in our rolling exotics Escape Clause, a win machine with 18 victories in 26 starts and a stakes winner at Del Mar, and Excellent Sunset, a respectable eighth (beaten just over four lengths) in the Matriarch Stakes-G1 and dangerous from off the pace against this lesser field.


​​RACE 5: Post 2:04 PT. Grade: B-

Use: 3-Boy Howdy;4-Papa Turf

Forecast: Boy Howdy plummets to the bottom after flashing speed but fading in a much-stronger starter’s allowance at Los Alamitos earlier this month.  The Mike McCarthy-trained gelding likes this track – all three of his career wins have come at Santa Anita – so if he has one good one left the Southern Image gelding should be hard beat.  We’ll also use Papa Turf, a veteran of 47 career starts and a five-time winner over the local main track.  Second off the claim for Saldana and showing the route-to-sprint angle while retaining Pedroza, the son of Yes It’s True has a strong look with a repeat of his easy win two runs back.  Small ticket players may consider trying to get by using just these two, but if you feel the need to spread deeper, go right ahead.


​​RACE 6: Post 2:34 PT. Grade: B-

Use: 4-George From Tahoe; 8-J T’s A. T. M.; 9-Treasure Hunter

Forecast: ​ This extended sprint for $25,000 claiming 3-year-olds is a bit messy with several possibilities.  Spread, spread, spread.  George From Tahoe had a prep up north in a tougher spot and should be fitter and sharper today.  The son of Sierra Sunset is a versatile sort and had a nice recent work (second fastest of 42) to indicate he’s right on edge.  Treasure Hunter should enjoy a comfortable pace-stalking trip outside and has finished first or second in five of seven career starts over the Santa Anita main track.  His best effort can win.   J T’s A. T. M. removes blinkers (love that angle), drops into a claimer, switches from synthetic to dirt, and has numbers that fit nicely in this league.  Toss him in.


RACE 7: Post 3:04 PT. Grade: B-

Use: 4-Shake N Fries; 9-Silent Alarm; 11-Violent Behavior

Forecast: Maiden $30,000 claiming juveniles sprint six furlongs in first leg of late Pick-4.  Violent Behavior seems as good as any, at least on paper.  Second in his last pair with rising numbers that are better than par for this level, the Blacker-trained ridgeling has a good stalking style and should be well-positioned to pounce when it matters at the head of the lane.  Silent Alarm has been routing and fading late but turns back to a sprint and could improve.  He finished third in both of his prior starts over the local main track.  Shake N Fries failed miserably as the favorite in a similar spot at Los Alamitos but his race before last – a strong runner-up effort at Del Mar – puts him right there, so we’ll include him as well.


​​RACE 8: Post 3:34 PT. Grade: B+

Use: 2-Colonia; 9-Californiagoldrush

Forecast: Californiagoldrush has been freshened since September but has trained spectacularly well for her comeback.  In her most recent outing she ventured to New York to win the Sands Point S.-G2 at Belmont Park and overall is a winner of three of four career starts, with her only defeat a close third in the Del Mar Oaks.  In a field without pace, she can be on or near the lead throughout.  Colonia should appreciate this 10-furlong trip.  She can really turn it on late, as she did when coming against slow fractions to capture the Valley View Stakes-G3 at Keeneland in October.  The projected pace scenario won’t do her any favors, but the Motion-trained filly should enjoy a ground-saving trip and then be heard from in the final furlong.  We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and then press with extra tickets keying Californiagoldrush on top.


​​RACE 9: Post 4:04 PT. Grade: B-

Use: 1-Damiano; 2-Mayan Warrior; 8-Oracle of Omaha

Forecast:Oracle of Omaha got a confidence builder when crushing an out-classed maiden claiming field in his first start for a tag at Los Alamitos.  Away since September but protected in this starter’s allowance sprint, the Miller-trained gelding should settle outside in a stalking position and then have every chance to go on with it from the quarter pole home.  Mayan Warrior won sprinting over this main track in early November and then performed nicely when a runner-up in a two-turn turf affair at Del Mar four weeks ago.  Back sprinting today, the versatile and genuine son of Warrior’s Reward has rising numbers and should be well-placed and ready to pounce behind the leading group.  Damiano, first off the claim for Ruiz following a handy maiden claiming win at Del Mar last month, has plenty of room for further improvement and rates a big look if he can avoid traffic trouble from the rail.


RACE 10: Post 4:34 PT. Grade: C+

Use: 3-Storming Lady;10-Strengthinnumbers; 11-Madaket Sunset

Forecast: This downhill grass grab for older maiden claiming fillies and mares requires a spread; we’ll go three-deep and hope that’s enough.  Storming Lady has run some decent races and this will be her lowest level ever.  She ran very well when third in straight maiden company in her only prior try over the course, and Rosario should have her in the firing line throughout.  Strengthinnumbers, beaten a head over this course vs. maiden claimers last summer, will be dangerous if she runs back to that effort today.  She found five furlongs too sharp in her comeback last month but her closing kick figures to be effective under these conditions.  Madaket Sunset goes from maiden to maiden claiming for the first time and has numbers that are rising.  She’s another that could be dangerous with good racing luck from off the pace.


Jeff Siegel’s Blog: Santa Anita Analysis & Wagering Strategies for Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018

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