Jeff Siegel’s Blog: Santa Anita Analysis & Wagering Strategies for Sunday, Dec. 30, 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.


Sunday, December 30, 2018


RACE 1: Post 12:00 PT. Grade: C+

Use: 2-Raven Creek; 5-Flip the Coin Jan; 6-Shadow Sphinx; 9-Moon Over

Forecast: The Sunday opener is a typical downhill turf course raffle, this one for $50,000 claiming 3-year-olds.  Flip the Coin Jan has a few angles that we like and probably deserves top billing.  He’s a first-off-the-claim for the capable Marquez outfit, has proven he can win over the course, and has an excellent pace-pressing/stalking style that keeps him free of trouble.  Shadow Sphinx returns to the claiming ranks for the first time since being haltered for $40,000 in Kentucky last April.  The Baltas-trained gelding has routed most of his career, but this shortened trip should be quite agreeable to the son of Pioneerof the Nile, who hasn’t sprinted since breaking his maiden at Fair Grounds more than a year ago.  He’ll be running on strongly late under Prat.  Moon Over tries claimers for the first time and also sports the always-dangerous route to sprint angle.   He won an allowance race down the hill last spring and picks up Rosario, making him a “must use.”  Raven Creek has won over this course in the past and could fire a big shot off a brief freshening for Mullins, so we’ll toss him in as well.


​​RACE 2: Post 12:31 PT. Grade: B-

Use: 5-Portal Creek; 6-Secret Maneuver

Forecast: Juvenile fillies entered to be claimed for $20,000 sprint six furlongs in the second race; there are two main contenders in the six-runner lineup and both should be included in rolling exotic play.  Secret Maneuver returns to the claiming ranks for the first time since she won a maiden $32,000 event in her debut.  Drawn comfortably outside with the route-to-sprint angle for the Desormeaux brothers, the daughter of Trappe Shot looks capable of settling early and then producing the last run.  Portal Creek was in a bit too steep vs. starter’s allowance foes at Del Mar last month but is a fit on numbers with this group and will be tough with a repeat of her race before last, a five-length romp vs. maiden claimers over this track and distance during the fall meeting.


​​RACE 3: Post 1:02 PT. Grade: B-

Use: 2-Red Shelby; 7-Sturdy One

Forecast: ​ We’ll try to get past this $25,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares using just two, with preference on top to Sturdy One based in part on her highly-rated win over this main track last April.  She was a voided claim that day and then turned out.  Her two comeback races in Phoenix came against tougher, so let’s give her a chance to regain her winning form from her comfortable outside draw.  With four wins and two seconds in seven career starts at Santa Anita, she certainly qualifies as a “horse for course.”  Red Shelby returns to dirt, which we suspect is her preferred surface even though 11 of her 13 career starts have been on grass.  She was extra sharp in winning over the Los Alamitos main track last summer, returns to that same $25,000 level today and sports a bullet workout at San Luis Rey Downs 10 days ago.  Miller has excellent stats with layoff runners as well.


​​​RACE 4: Post 1:32 PT. Grade: B+

Single: 8-Thriving

Forecast: Thriving was locked and loaded at the mid-point of the far turn in the Jimmy Durante Stakes-G2 in her U.S. debut in late November but was completely shut off and eliminated, eventually winding last of 12, beaten 26 lengths.  Toss the race out.  The English-bred filly in the Mullins barn absolutely can run with this group, especially if the pace is fair to quick, which it figures to be.  Since that debacle the daughter of Kodiak has worked well over the Santa Anita training track, so with clear sailing today she’ll have every chance to show her stuff.  At 8-1 on the morning line we’ll make her a strong straight play and rolling exotic single.


​​RACE 5: Post 2:03 PT. Grade: C

Use: 2-Psychedelicat; 4-Super Duper Cooper; 5-Elwood J; 6-Gain Ground

Forecast: This $16,000 main track miler for older horses is a messy affair, and nothing would surprise.  We’ll go four-deep but not with any degree of confidence.  Psychedelicat exits a fast, productive race and is stretching out for Hollendorfer after a series of sprints.  He retains his “win” rider Gutierrez and both of his career victories have come at Santa Anita.  Gain Ground plummets in class for D’Amato and may have found his friends.  Out of his element in his most recent start against infinitely tougher in a mini-marathon at Del Mar, the son of Tapit should appreciate this turn back trip and could be the most dangerous of the closers.  Elwood J drops to his lowest level ever, should be prominent throughout, and has won over this track in the past.  The Truman-trained gelding has been freshened and should fire his best shot.  Super Duper Cooper has the blinkers-off angle that always catches our eye, and the Mike McCarthy-trained gelding takes a realistic class drop to a level that he should fit very nicely at.  He’s winless in nine career starts over the local main track but he’s a fit on numbers, so we’ll use him as at least a saver or a back-up.


​​RACE 6: Post 2:33 PT. Grade: B-

Use: 3-Blue Moonrise; 7-Bizwhacks; 8-Anuket

Forecast: ​ Baffert appears to have two live runners in this maiden special weight sprint for juvenile fillies and we’ll use both in our rolling exotics along with the best of the known element.  Blue Moonrise is a tail-swishing filly with ability and should be plenty fit for a big effort first crack out of the box.  The daughter of Malibu Moon gets Talamo, while Van Dyke picks up the mount on Anuket, who also has trained well but is bred to run a bit farther than six furlongs.  Bizwhacks probably can’t beat a good filly – she’s already had six chances – but her experience makes her a threat, especially if she run back to her best figure.  These are the three we’ll be using, but if you find the need to go a bit deeper, go right ahead.


RACE 7: Post 3:03 PT. Grade: C+

Use: 6-On the Right; 9-Emotional Ride

Forecast: This bottom-rung ($16,000) maiden-claiming extended sprint has two main contenders, though neither can be considered trustworthy.  However, somebody will win, and we suspect it will be one or the other.  Emotional Ride has numbers that fit, exits a much tougher race, and with only two career starts has room for improvement that most of the others don’t.  A healthy work pattern for Mullins is another plus and his troubled debut over this track and distance during the fall meeting charts well here.  On the Right has been away since November of last year but returns for Miller (good stats with layoff runners) with a reasonable series of drills, and he earned numbers during his juvenile campaign that match up nicely with these.


​​RACE 8: Post 3:33 PT. Grade: B

Use: 2-Cordiality; 3-Pulpit Rider; 4-English Dancer

Forecast: Cordiality is a stakes winner showing up in a high-priced optional claimer after being freshened since October. The Glatt barn has an excellent record with layoff runners, and this soon-to-be 6-year-old daughter of Papa Clem will beat this field with anything close to her winning effort in the Solana Beach Stakes at Del Mar two runs back.  She likes the front end but doesn’t need it; Baze can pick his spot from his good 2-hole post.  Pulpit Rider and English Dancer finished two-three in a similar second-level allowance affair last month at Del Mar and both have a right to produce a forward move.  The former has won five of 15 during her career and will be heard from late, while the latter switches to Prat (but picks up 5 lbs.) and has looked especially sharp in the morning of late for Baltas.  We’ll prefer Cordiality on top but include all three in our rolling exotics.


​​RACE 9: Post 4:03 PT. Grade: B

Use: 7-Amuse; 8-Oozle; 10-Dulce Ride

Forecast: ​ This is a contentious entry-level allowance sprint for fillies and mares.  Let’s try a price horse on top, Oozle, listed at 8-1 on the morning line.  She looks ready to produce a forward move for Mullins following a sharp recent workout, and the number she earned when breaking her maiden at Monmouth Park two races back makes her a solid fit.  With Prat staying aboard the lightly-raced daughter of Dialed in there’s value to be had both in the straight pool and in rolling exotic play.  We’ll also include Amuse and Dulce Ride.  The former has the proper closing style for this extended sprint trip and has plenty of room for improvement, while the latter is dawn comfortably outside and should draft into an ideal pace-stalking position.  Her Midwest numbers make her a fit and Rosario takes the mount.


RACE 10: Post 4:33 PT. Grade: B+

Use: 3-Apache Princess; 6-Mind for Mischief

Forecast: Apache Princess appears to have found a home on turf.  She failed to show much in a pair of dirt sprints, but the daughter of Unusual Heat improved dramatically as expected when sent long the lawn last time out, winding up second (beaten a neck) while almost five lengths clear of the rest in a highly-rated race for the level.  This turn back to a sprint shouldn’t be an issue, so unless there’s a good think among the newcomers, the Desormeaux-trained filly should be able to earn her diploma.  Mind for Mischief may be the most dangerous of the first-timers, so we’ll use her as a back-up.  The daughter of Into Mischief has done some good work in the morning for Eurton and with Dynaformer on the bottom side of her pedigree she should have no difficulties with grass.



Jeff Siegel’s Blog: Santa Anita Analysis & Wagering Strategies for Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018

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