Jeff Siegel’s Santa Anita Analysis & Wagering Strategies
Saturday, April 17, 2021
Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.
The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.
Grade Descriptions: 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: 1:00 PT Grade: B
Use: 6-Goldini; 7-Swift as I Am
Forecast: Trainer P. D’Amato’s Swift as I Am and Goldini square off again in this starter optional claiming turf miler restricted to 3-year-olds, with preference on top to the former after a nightmarish trip last month that was primarily caused by his stable mate. In that race, Swift as I Am launched what appeared to be a winning move along the rail entering the stretch but then had to check sharply and lose all chance when the carelessly ridden Goldini came over and shut him off. With F. Prat staying aboard Swift as I Am along with the always-popular blinkers off angle, the son of Danza seems destined for a better fate today, especially in a race that has sufficient early speed signed on to compliment the proper patient ride he is certain to enjoy. Goldini makes a monumental jockey switch to U. Rispoli, has trained extremely well since his last outing, and is another that appears likely to improve. The son of Goldencents was favored over this group last time out after winning over this course and distance when breaking his maiden two runs back, and not much more will be needed today to get back on the winning track. We will include both in rolling exotic play and then have an extra ticket or two keying Swift as I Am on top.
RACE 2: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: B
Use: 5-Kennebec; 6-Me Likey
Forecast: Me Likey takes a significant class drop, removes blinkers, and lands the cozy outside post in this modest $16,000 claiming sprint for 3-year-olds. The son of Square Eddie looked good in a recent five-furlong workout, so we are expecting the D. O’Neill-trained colt to return to his best form. Kennebec is the likely choice and one to beat. The R. Hanson-trained sophomore plummets in class, switches to F. Prat, shows the route-to-sprint angle that we like and is solid in the speed figure department. There may not a lot of value to be found at his morning line of 8/5 but in a soft field he is a “must use” in rolling exotic play.
RACE 3: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: B
Use: 2-Joe Don Looney; 4-Theluteismine
Forecast: Theluteismine returns to the main track, tries an easier gang and probably beats this starter optional claiming field with a repeat of his maiden-claiming win two runs back. The P. Miller/F. Prat trainer-jockey combo is lethal (35%), and the gelding’s recent San Luis Rey Downs work tab appears steady and healthy. Joe Don Looney is solid in the speed figure department and may be quick enough to establish the pace in this abbreviated sprint. The son of Boisterous exits a better-than-par race for the level and with any kind of forward move should be the one to fear most. Both should be used in rolling exotic play.
RACE 4: Post: 2:41 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1-Western Smoke; 6-Betito
Forecast: Western Smoke projects as the controlling speed from his inside draw in this main track miler for restricted (nw-2) $16,000 claiming older horses. The C. Dollase-trained gelding ran well when second under these conditions three races back, and in a race with suspect late speed he may be able to grab control early and hang on late. Betito is wheeled back quickly after graduating over this track and distance two weeks ago with a speed figure that makes him a strong fit right back. The K. Mulhall-trained gelding picks up F. Prat and projects to draft into a soft pace-stalking position and then have every chance to seal the deal from the quarter pole home.
RACE 5: Post: 3:15 PT Grade: B
Use: 2-Superstition; 5-Leggs Galore
Forecast: Leggs Galore moves into open company after a pair of impressive turf sprint stakes wins vs. state-bred foes. Based strictly on speed figures, the daughter of Bayern should be capable of handling this tougher assignment. Extremely quick but capable of stalking and pouncing if the race flow dictates, the P. D’Amato-trained filly may have to deal with the one-dimensional front-runner Annangel during the early stages but her outside draw will allow regular rider R. Gonzalez to assess the situation and then decide whether to open up or take hold. Superstition, winner of the Wishing Well S. over the local lawn two months ago, likely will settle in the second flight and then have dead aim and every chance when then pressure is turned on. The lightly raced daughter of Ghostzpper retains regular pilot F. Prat and has speed figures that make her the one to fear most. We will give the edge on top to Leggs Galore but include both in rolling exotic play.
RACE 6: Post: 3:47 PT Grade: C+
Use: 3-Achilleus; 4-Big Well; 7-Mount Pelliar
Forecast: Here’s a messy $30,000 maiden claiming main track miler with nothing to trust, so the best advice is to use as many as your budget allows. We will try to survive and advance using just three, with a very slight edge on top to Achilleus. A first-time gelding from the J. Sadler barn, he was well-beaten in both of his starts to date but is facing an infinitely easier group today while trying dirt for the first time and adding blinkers. The work tab looks decent, so if the son of Super Saver can run at all, this would be a good place to show it. Big Well is another tackling easier with every right to improve in his first start since early January (he was a late scratch in late February). The son of Mr. Big gets a significant break in the weights with the switch to bug boy A. Centeno and has numbers that make him a strong fit. Mount Pelliar is an eight-race maiden dropping to his lowest level. This will be his first start on the main track; however, his pedigree is grass-on-grass, so the surface switch might not do him any favors. He is the 9/5 morning line favorite and appears shaky at that price, so we will toss him in on a ticket or two for protection but that’s all.
RACE 7: Post: 4:19 PT Grade: B
Use: 1-Ce Ce; 4-Happier
Forecast: Ce Ce, freshened since finishing a respectable fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff-G1 in November, returns in this second-level allowance extended sprint for fillies and mares against a group of fillies and mares that she should be able to outclass. Back with regular rider V. Espinoza, the daughter of Elusive Quality has trained like she is fit and ready, has fired huge off layoffs in the past, and can sprint just as well as she can route. If she can negotiate a decent trip from the rail, the M. McCarthy-trained mare can be along in time. Happier, unbeaten in two starts and extremely fast on speed figures, surely will get plenty of play as the 8/5 morning line favorite. The daughter of Street Sense, freshened since mid-February but training in superb fashion in the interim, projects as the controlling speed, with only stable mate Himiko drawn outside appearing capable of applying early pressure. We doubt trainer B. Baffert wants to see them go head-and-head, so it will be interesting to see how the pace flow is choreographed.
RACE 8: Post: 4:51 PT Grade: X
Use: 3-Country Grammar; 4-Royal Ship; 5-Independence Hall
Forecast: This year’s edition of the Californian-G3 over nine furlongs on the main track attracted just five starters, with at least three (and maybe all five) capable of winning. We will pass the race but use the three main players in our rolling exotics. Independence Hall probably does not want to run this far but projects as the controlling speed and if not pressured early could dominate gate-to-wire. The son of Constitution was unable to see out the Big ‘Cap’s 10-furlong trip when weakening late to finish fourth, but at this shorter journey against this slightly lesser group he seems the logical top pick. Additionally, the M. McCarthy-trained colt has never looked better in the morning leading up to this race. Country Grammar, winner of the Peter Pan S.-G3 last summer at Saratoga, makes his first start for new trainer B, Baffert while wearing blinkers for the first time, and like Independence Hall has trained superbly in recent weeks to appear fit and ready. The son of Tonalist may display more tactical speed with the hood on and could prove troublesome if he has ‘Hall within range at the head of the lane. Also worth including is Royal Ship, a fast-finishing fifth (beaten one length) in the Kilroe Mile-G1 over a mile on grass last time out. The Brazilian-bred gelding gets an extra furlong to work with, and if he can transfer his grass form to the main track (and his workouts suggest he can) the R. Mandella-trained import may make some noise in closing stages at a nice price.
RACE 9: Post: 5:23 PT Grade: C
Use: 1-Bay Witch; 3-Sweet Sonny; 5-Rowangoeshollywood; 11-La Vie
Forecast: The finale is an inscrutable maiden claiming $25,000 abbreviated sprint for fillies and mares. Anything goes. Rowangoeshollywood, away since last summer and with just two previous starts against tougher foes, has worked well enough to be fit for a good effort in her comeback. She is fast enough on numbers to win, but this will be her first start on dirt so we are not sure if the figures will hold up. She represents stranger danger, so you have to use her. Sweet Sonny is an eight-race maiden and probably not one to trust but she has numbers that fit, will appreciate the shortened trip, and could get brave on the front end if she is able to make the lead. The same can be said for La Vie, who has plenty of zip but so far has not shown much stamina. This five and one-half furlong distance may help her stick around a bit longer and if so, she should be able to act with these. Bay Witch has the always-dangerous straight maiden-to-maiden claiming class drop on her resume and could improve enough to be a factor, rail and all. Her speed figures are weak, but she continues to train like a filly with at least some ability.