Jeff Siegel’s Santa Anita Analysis & Wagering Strategies
Saturday, March 13, 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: 12:30 PT Grade: C+
Use: 1-Gerlach’s; 5-Call Nine One One; 11-Chasing Fame
Forecast: The opener is the true definition of a “grass grab bag,” a wide-open maiden claiming sprint for 3-year-olds offering unknowns, question marks, and lightly-raced runners who may (or may not) be better than shown. We’ll go three-deep but the best advice is to include as many as your budget allows. Gerlach’s was given a race in his troubled debut and seems likely to move forward with that bit of experience behind him combined the drop from a straight maiden affair along with the addition of blinkers and Lasix. If he can leave cleanly today, the V. Cerin-trained son of Grazen should be prominent throughout with a ground-saving trip and have every chance to show what he can do. Chasing Fame has been a big disappointment in a series of straight maiden races in which he’s been fairly well bet. Today, against this considerably softer group, the son of Tapiture should be competitive and if held up and allowed to produce a late run he may be able to tag the suspect speed. Call Nine One One has displayed some early speed in a.m. preps and may be the most dangerous of the newcomers. He has low profile connections and should be a decent price so he’s probably worth tossing in somewhere on your ticket.
RACE 2: Post: 1:03 PT Grade: X
Single: 5-Triple Tap
Forecast: Triple Tap, a half-brother to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, makes his debut following a string of very good workouts that should have him plenty fit and ready for this five-runner maiden sprint over seven furlongs. The son of Tapit doesn’t strikes us as being blazingly quick, but he’s been finishing in his drills to indicate this extended sprint distance should be perfect for his style. Drawn comfortably outside and therefore able to dictate his trip, the B. Baffert-trained sophomore projects to track stable mate Barraza during the early stages and then go with it when ready. There’s no gamble here (he’s 4/5 on the morning line) so we can use him as a no-value rolling exotic single or simply pass the race.
RACE 3: Post: 1:33 PT Grade: C+
Use: 1-Good With People; 3-Gator Shining; 6-Coulthard
Forecast: This six furlong turf dash for 3-year-olds has two committed speed types and two devout stretch runners, so the pace flow may dictate the outcome. If Good With People and Mac Daddy Too hook up early, the closers certainly will have an edge, and Coulthard, an impressive maiden winner over this course and distance in his U.S. debut last month, will have every chance to score right back. The Irish-bred colt loses U. Rispoli today due to suspension but the P. D’Amato-trained colt hopefully will get the patient ride he requires from substitute rider T. Pereira. A bullet training track workout since raced indicates the European import is holding his form. Gator Shining, the other dangerous deep closer, was never a factor in the Baffle S. while being victimized by a slow early pace but a repeat of his nose defeat at this level two runs back puts him in the picture today if the race shape is favorable. G. Franco doesn’t get many live mounts on this circuit but he’s done very well in a limited sample for the R. Baltas barn. Among the two committed speed types, Good With People might be the more dangerous. He’s a first-time Lasix user returning to grass while shortening up from a two-turn state-bred stakes race and could fire a big shot following a two-month layoff for the P. Miller barn. From the rail he has only one way to go, and if the son of Curlin to Mischief can shake free of Mac Daddy Too early he could prove to be an elusive target.
RACE 4: Post: 2:06 PT Grade: B
Single: 5-Mr. Lovejoy
Forecast: Let’s take a stand in this starter’s allowance ($25,000) sprint and single Mr. Lovejoy, claimed in his last pair and protected today by new trainer V. Cerin (a strong 23% with this angle). A win machine (14 victories in 36 starts with 10 seconds/thirds, the son of Discreetly Mine has only one way to go, on the lead, gate to wire, and in a field lacking in effective closers he could realistically win this race in the opening quarter mile by outfooting the other front-runners. Freshened since mid-December but sporting a steady, healthy recent series of workouts, the veteran gelding is fast on speed figures and attracts one of the barn’s “go to” riders, J. J. Hernandez, so at 5/2 on the morning line let’s make him a win play and rolling exotic single.
RACE 5: Post: 2:39 PT Grade: B-
Use: 2-Big Buzz; 4-Tropical Terror
Forecast: This first-level allowance affair over 10 furlongs on grass drew just five runners, so there’s not really much to work with. Big Buzz, away since August but with a series of stamina-building drills at San Luis Rey Downs to have him fit and ready, may be most effective on the front end. And in a pace flow that projects him as the controlling speed the veteran gelding may be able to take control early and keep on going. The main concern is his overall record (2 wins in 24 starts) but he returns protected and lands F. Prat so we suspect the A. Kitchinghman-trained son of Mr. Big is extremely live and well-meant. For protection, we’ll also toss in Tropical Terror, not exactly a win machine himself (one-for-15 with eight seconds/thirds) but at least on paper the most dangerous of the closing types.
RACE 6: Post: 3:13 PT Grade: X
Single: 5-Oil Can Knight
Forecast: Oil Can Knight drops sharply in class from $32,000 to $12,500 after winning in a $25,000 seller two races back, so his condition is a question, but if he has one good one left he should be able to outrun this group. This extended sprint distance will allow the son of Can the Man to settle into a comfortable stalking position without having to be used, and with a record that shows five wins from 10 career starts over the Santa Anita main track the S. Knapp-trained veteran certainly knows where the wire is. There’s probably not a lot of value to be found at his morning line of 2-1, so we can use ‘Knight as a rolling exotic single or simply pass the race.
RACE 7: Post: 3:45 PT Grade: B
Use: 2-Gregorian Chant; 7-Jolie Olimpica
Forecast: Jolie Olimpica faces the boys today in this year’s edition of the San Simeon S.-G3 but for whatever it’s worth the classy Brazilian mare won two graded stakes facing males in South America before being imported and has local speed figures (including three triple-digit Beyer numbers) that are more than good enough to handle this assignment. The R. Mandella-trained daughter of Drosselmeyer projects to enjoy a good stalking trip and then have her chance to kick home from the top of the lane to the wire. Gregorian Chant seems to have found his niche as a late-running turf sprinter, and a repeat of his clever score in the restricted Clocker’s Corner Stakes over this course and distance in late January puts him in the hunt. Not nearly as fast on pure numbers as our top pick, the English-bred gelding nevertheless is worth including as a back-up or a saver just in case there’s a pace meltdown or if Jolie Olimpica, for whatever reason, fails to fire her best shot.
RACE 8: Post: 4:17 PT Grade: B
Use: 1-Swiss Skydiver; 3-Harvest Moon
Forecast: This year’s renewal of the Beholder S.-G1 came up salty, with champion Swiss Skydiver making her seasonable debut along with the potentially top class Harvest Moon, both of whom competed in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff-G1 when last seen in November. ‘Skydiver, the Preakness winner at the expense of Horse of the Year Authentic, blew out in 58 seconds flat at Gulfstream Park last week prior to being flown to California so we’ll assume the K. McPeek-trained filly is fit and ready. Last year she ventured West to capture the Santa Anita Oaks-G1 so we know she likes the track, so if she brings her “A” game the daughter of Daredevil will be hard to beat. Harvest Moon, an excellent fourth in the BC Distaff after cutting out rapid fractions, probably will receive her preferred patient ride today and has looked terrific in the a.m. leading up to this race, indicating the J. Shirreffs-trained daughter of Uncle Mo could easily be a better type now than she was doing her outstanding fall campaign that produced two graded stakes victories. In a deep field that also includes the likes of La Canada S.-G3 Sanenus and the rapidly-developing B. Baffert-trained As Time Goes By, we’ll try to survive and advance using just Swiss Skydiver and Harvest Moon in rolling exotic play.
RACE 9: Post: 4:52 PT Grade: B-
Use: 3-Bang for Your Buck; 5-Bench Judge; 7-Beaudacious
Forecast: The finale is a fairly competitive state-bred first-level allowance sprint on turf requiring a spread in rolling exotic play. Bang for Your Buck broke his maiden over this course and distance in mid-January with a visually pleasing performance that produced a career top speed figure, one that makes him dangerous right back despite the class hike. The son of Unusual Heat was making his first start on grass and the surface switch moved him up a ton, so let’s try him right back with V. Espinoza, who hasn’t ridden many lately, staying aboard. Beaudacious, runner-up to Bang for Your Buck in that race and therefore still a maiden, nevertheless must be considered a contender due to the seven pound shift in the weights with the switch to bug girl J. Pyfer. Furthermore, the son of Karakontie catches a field without pace, and if he leaves cleanly today the B. Koriner-trained colt may find himself on or near soft early fractions. If you like Bang for Your Buck (as we do), you have to use Beaudacious as well. Bench Judge, a two-time winner over the local lawn, is the morning line favorite at 3-1 and deservedly so. A two-time winner over the local lawn, the P. Miller-trained gelding has the edge in the speed figure department and good stalking style that should have him within striking range throughout.