Jeff Siegel’s Blog: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies for Thursday, March 8, 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 4-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 will be too short to play.


Thursday, March 8, 2018


RACE 1: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: C

Use: 3-Kopitar; 8-Impression

Forecast: Impression returns to the maiden claiming ranks and seems ideally placed to earn his diploma.  However, he’s been knocking on the door for awhile – he’s finished second in each of his last four starts – and at 8/5 on the morning line certainly won’t offer much in the way of wagering value.  Kopitar makes his first start since being claimed for $50,000 by Sadler and may improve, though based strictly on speed figures he’s going to need to.  He’s another that’s not really one to trust, having been beaten as the favorite in three of his five career starts.  The winner probably will be one of these two, but this is a good race to sit out.


​​RACE 2: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: X

Use: 1-Cure Beliefs; 4-Longden; 5-American All Star

Forecast:  There are just five runners in this maiden special weight middle distance main track affair and at least three have a right to win, so this is another race we’ll watch.  Longden finished a good second to stable mate Restoring Hope in a similar event last month after setting the pace and hanging on well; we suppose gate-to-wire tactics will be employed again.  The son of Bernardini owns a distinct edge in the speed figure department and may go lower than his 9/5 morning line.  Core Beliefs has the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern for Eurton in addition to the seemingly always-effective blinkers off angle, and is likely to produce a forward move in his first start over a distance of ground.  He was, however, disappointing in his most recent outing when third at even money without mishap.  American All Star closed a gap to be third in a nice sprint debut last month and is another eligible to improve, although we would have preferred to see another sprint under his belt.  The barn has good stats with the sprint-to-route angle, but not so good numbers with second-time starters.


​​RACE 3: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: X

Use: 1-Second Gear; 8-Sawbuck

Forecast: The Pick-6 begins with a weak bottom-rung maiden claimer for older horses.  Tread lightly.  Second Gear is an 11-race maiden but just finished second against a similar group last month and not much more will be needed to graduate today.  From the rail, the son of Calimonco likely will try to take his foes wire to wire.  Sawbuck stretches out for the first time and has the pedigree to enjoy two-turns.  The type of early speed he’s shown in his sprint races should have him near the lead throughout, and in a field with no real closers he may stick around for a long time.  Let’s try to get by using just these two in rolling exotic play but otherwise pass the race.


​​​RACE 4: Post: 2:30 PT. Grade: B+

Use: 3-Two Thirty Five; 4-Super Duper Cooper

Forecast: This starter allowance route affair on the main track should boil down to two main contenders.  Two Thirty Five is a first-off-the-claim play for Baltas (31% with a strong flat-bet profit with this angle) and seems sure to improve a ton for his new connections.  The Stay Thirsty gelding is protected today in a sign of confidence, gets a break in the weights with the switch to bug boy Ceballos, and stretches out for the first time.  We’re anticipating a gate-to-wire performance, and at 7/2 on morning line he’ll offer value if you can get that price.  Super Duper Cooper is fast on figures, though he may be most effective around one turn.  We’ll include him as well, though the main punch goes to Two Thirty Five.


​​RACE 5: Post 3:00 PT. Grade:

Use: 1-Pantsonfire; 2-Fizzy Friday; 3-Cordiality

Forecast: The fifth race is a mile turf affair for second-level allowance fillies and mares and requires a bit of a spread.  We’ll use the inside three runners and hope to get by.  Fizzy Friday, in her first start since joining the D’Amato barn, battled bravely through the lane over this course and distance vs. similar rivals and held on gamely to be second, beaten a half length, while earning a career top speed figure.  Prat stays aboard and should have this English-bred filly in an ideal pace-stalking position.  Pantsonfire just won from a lesser field at nine furlongs but should be competitive right back despite the shortened trip to a mile and the step up in class.  She’s improving with each outing, clearly likes this turf course, and looks very much like the most dangerous of the true closers.  Cordiality is most effective on the front end and always has been genuine and consistent, having finished first or second in 12 of 18 career starts (toss out her last try due to a poor start).  Baze stays aboard and knows her well.  We’ll give slight preference on top to Fizzy Friday in a better than par race for the level.


​​​​RACE 6: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: C+

Use: 1-Is Trevor Clever; 7-Lucky Staxx; 8-Defense Minister

Forecast: This race is a split of the third, a maiden claimer for older horses around two-turns.  Lucky Staxx has two recent sprints and is stretching out today for the first time with a pedigree that okay’s the extra ground.  His numbers are good and, unexposed as he is, the son of Lookin At Lucky looks like the one to beat.  Is Trevor Clever has been a beaten choice in two of his last four starts against similar competition, yet may go favored again.  He’ll have every chance to secure a good ground-saving trip from the rail and really won’t have to improve much at all to win.  Defense Minister closed a gap sprinting in his debut and should improve with distance and experience, though the race he exits wasn’t much of a heat.  The son of Smart Strike was cut out to be much better than this, and Hollendorfer’s stats with second-timers is strong, so we’ll include him as well.


​​​RACE 7: Post 4:00 PT.  Grade: B-

Use: 4-Preacher Roe; 6-Desert General

Forecast: Preacher Roe drops for the money run and returns to the main track.  It’s been awhile since he’s won but at this level he should get back on the beam.  Elliott likely will have him on the lead or in a comfortable stalking spot.  Desert General has won at this trip but might be a bit more effective around one-turn.  However, he’s fast on figure and is another that is overdue for a win, so we’ll include him in our rolling exotics as well.


​​​​​RACE 8: Post 3:30 PT.  Grade: B-

Use: 2-Duranga; 5-Road Test

Forecast: Road Test ran well at this level last month while earning her typical solid figure in a runner-up effort and seems good enough to handle this task if she performs similarly today.  Duranga adds blinkers while trying turf for the first time and is reunited with Prat, who has won on her in the past.  The lightly-raced daughter of Bellamy Road doesn’t really have a grass pedigree, but – who knows – maybe she’ll like it.  We’ll double the race in our rolling exotics using just these two.



Jeff Siegel’s Blog: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies for Thursday, March 8, 2018

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