Jeff Siegel’s Santa Anita Analysis & Wagering Strategies
Saturday, March 6, 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: 12:00 PT Grade: B
Use: 5-Going Global; 8-Quattroelle
Forecast: Two recent stakes winning fillies top this year’s renewal of the China Doll Stakes, a listed affair over one mile on turf that came up fairly strong on paper. Quattroelle, victorious in the Blue Norther S. over this course and distance in late December, shows a steady and healthy series of the works during her two month hiatus and should be primed for another major performance in what will be just her fifth career start. The Irish-bred filly likes to lag and then blast home, and in a race that should produce an ample amount of early speed to compliment her style the J. Mullins-trained import will have every chance to make the winning the last run. It should be noted that the the filly she out-kicked in the Blue Norther, Javanica, returned to run a close second against the colts in the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields last month. Going Global produced an intense turn of foot to capture the Sweet Life S.-G3 in her U. S. debut three weeks ago and this stretch out in trip shouldn’t be an issue at all. The only concern is the relatively quick turn around with just three weeks rest, though it was nice to see the P D’Amato-trained filly appearing eager and willing in a recent training track breeze since raced. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with the preference on top to Quattroelle.
RACE 2: Post: 12:32 PT Grade: B
Use: 2-Kershaw; 4-Shooters Shoot; 6-Bold Endeavor
Forecast: Bold Endeavor crushed a similar field over the local main track last month and if he can turn in two alike he’ll be tough right back. Making just his third start since being claimed by M. Glatt for $50,000 last November, the Bernardini gelding retains J. Rosario and projects to settle into a comfortable second flight trip and then have his chance to kick on with it from the top of the lane to the wire. Kershaw, a good third in a tough race at this level in early January, returns off a two month vacation and is another that should enjoy an ideal stalking trip from a good inside post position. In the frame in each of his five most recent outings, the V. Garcia-trained gelding, a two-time winner over the local main track, is quite strong in the speed figure department and always has been thoroughly genuine and consistent. Shoooters Shot makes his first start since being gelded and has every right to improve, especially if he can secure his preferred role as the controlling speed. Overmatched in the Palos Verdes S.-G3 sprinting in late January in his most recent appearance, the P. Eurton-trained 4-year-old makes a positive jockey switch to U. Rispoli and sports a bullet recent five furlong workout (5f, :59h, fastest of 30) to have him right on edge. We’ll prefer Bold Endeavor on top but include all three in our rolling exotics.
RACE 3: Post: 1:06 PT Grade: B
Use: 2-Annangel; 5-Beguiled; 7-Guitty
Forecast: Annangel, a clever winner over this course and distance in a $50,000 seller last month, moves into the second-level allowance ranks today in her first-off-the-claim for new trainer S. Knapp (strong stats with this angle) and should easily inherit her preferred front-running trip in a field that lacks her type early speed types. She’s a fit on numbers, and as a winner of three of just six career starts the Irish-bred filly likely has further room for improvement. J. J. Hernandez rode her to perfection last time out and stays aboard. Beguiled has the route-to-sprint angle that always catches our eye, and after being freshened since Dec. 26 and switching to U. Rispoli the P. D’Amato-trained daughter of Orb seems likely to pose a serious threat from off the pace. Closers have done quite well over this course and distance this year; on the other hand, the projected race flow may work against her. We’ll use her along with another late-runner, Guitty, who made no impact against much tougher rivals in the Wishing Well S. at this trip over this course last month but has speed figures that fit and is reunited with “win rider” F. Prat, who surely will employ the patient tactics that this French-bred filly requires. In a tough, competitive affair, all three should be included in rolling exotic play.
RACE 4: Post: 1:39 PT Grade: B-
Use: 5-Ensley’s Dream; 6-Pitsachio Princess
Forecast: We’ll go two-deep in this maiden $50,000 claiming sprint for state-bred sophomore fillies. Pistachio Princess, finished a distant fourth (beaten eight lengths) when debuting against Cal-bred straight maidens on grass in mid-January, but probably is better than the line shows after breaking slowly and then finishing with a bit of interest without being knocked about. The D. Blacker-trained filly shows a nice gate drill (5f, :59.4hg, fourth fastest of 27) two weeks ago that tells us she’s doing well and based strictly on speed figures the daughter of Vronsky won’t really need a whole lot of improvement to be a major player against this group. Ensley’s Dream, in the money in all four career starts but a well-beaten runner-up at 4/5 last time out, drops into a claimer for the first time and seems likely to stick better against this modest group. With just average speed figures that haven’t really progressed, the daughter of Smiling Tiger may not be one to trust but certainly has to be considered the filly our top pick has to fear most.
RACE 5: Post: 2:13 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1-Brilliant Cut; 6-Nimbostratus; 7-Dancing Cane; 8-Plum Sexy
Forecast: Here’s a spread race over six furlongs on grass for first-level allowance 3-year-olds fillies. Logically, Nimbostratus is the one to beat after finishing an excellent third in the Sweet Life S. over this course and distance last month. Apparently most effective around one turn, the French-bred filly, shows rising speed figures, switches back to F. Prat, and will be dangerous from the quarter pole home with good racing luck. Dancing Cane, perhaps the quickest in the field, is a Tampa Bay Downs invader now in the M. Glatt barn fresh from a gate-to-wire score over five furlongs in late January that produced a speed figure comparable to our top pick’s best number. She’ll take them as far as she can, but today’s extra furlong could prove problematic. Plum Sexy projects to enjoy a comfortable pace-stalking journey from her outside draw and will have every chance to produce a career top effort after finishing behind Nimbostratus in her most recent two outings. Toss her in at a bit of a price, along with her D. O’Neill-trained stable mate Brilliant Cut, a first-time Lasix user attracting J. Rosario and guaranteed a ground-saving trip from her rail post position.
RACE 6: Post: 2:45 PT Grade: A-
Use: 1-Life Is Good; 2-Dream Shake
Forecast: Life Is Good, listed as the 4/5 favorite, ran below expectations even in victory when taking the Sham S.-G3 here in early January from stable mate Medina Spirit by a diminishing three-quarters of a length, and in doing so produced some doubt as to just how far this brilliantly-fast Triple Crown prospect really wants to go. Based on his superior morning workouts that evoke memories of American Pharoah and Justify, the B. Baffert-trained colt should stay at least this far and given his rail position and the lack of other committed front-running types in the field he’s certain to once again enjoy his role as the controlling speed. We’re expecting to learn a lot about what the future lies for the barn’s top ranked 3-year-old. As a saver in rolling exotic play; we’ll include a few tickets using Dream Shake. A superior, no fluke first-out maiden winner at 20-1 last month, the son of Twirling Candy earned a giant speed figure in the process and has looked the part and then some in workouts since that race. We’re expecting the M. Glatt-trained colt to employ similar deep closing tactics at this two-turn trip, and while he may not be seasoned enough to handle a colt as gifted as Life Is Good he could easily produce a strong enough late kick to make the exacta worthwhile.
RACE 7: Post: 3:20 PT Grade: X
Single: 2-Whisper Not
Forecast: Whisper Not didn’t really have an excuse when worn down in the final stages as the heavy odds-on favorite vs. similar last time out in a nine furlong turf affair but perhaps this return to a flat will bring out his best effort and help the English import make amends. The R. Baltas-trained colt continues to impress in the a.m., lands a comfortable inside draw, and switches to F. Prat, so he’ll likely be a short priced favorite yet again. On pure numbers, she’s a standout, so in a race that we’ll otherwise pass we can use the Poet’s Voice colt as a rolling exotic single.
RACE 8: Post: 3:52 PT Grade: B+
Use: 6-Brickyard Ride; 9-Tigre Di Slugo
Forecast: Tigre Di Slugo has the ideal mid-pack closing style for this extended seven furlong trip and a cozy outside draw that will keep him in the clear and free of trouble, so the lightly-raced six-year-old son of Smiling Tiger rates top billing in this year’s renewal of the San Carlos S.-G2 for older sprinters. A closing second with a career top speed figure in the Cal Cup Sprint in mid-January, the M. Puype-trained gelding has had only six career starts, so despite his advanced age he certainly has room for further improvement. Brickyard Ride defeated ‘Slugo last time out when simply proving to be too quick, will employ gate-to-wire tactics again in a race that he surely will control during the early stages without having to burn much energy. If the son of Clubhouse Ride can carry his speed today’s extra furlong – and based on pedigree he should be able to – the C. Lewis will prove quite troublesome once again. Both should be included in your rolling exotics; we’ll have a few extra tickets keying Tigre Di Slugo on top.
RACE 9: Post: 4:26 PT Grade: B
Use: 1-Smooth Like Strait; 4-Royal Ship; 6-Flavius; 8-Count Again
Forecast: Big ticket players seriously may consider buying this race. Each if the 10 entrants in this year’s loaded Kilroe Mile-G1 have a right to be in the field and most have races that are good enough to make them serious challengers depending up trips, pace, and good old fashion racing luck. Best advice is to include as many as your budget allows. Count Again could not have been more impressive than he was winning the Seabiscuit H.-G2 at Del Mar in November, rallying against slow fractions to be up in time while displaying an intense amount of late speed. With that eye-opening performance fresh in mind, the punters made him even money in the subsequent San Gabriel S.-G2, but the veteran gelding lagged early and then was virtually eased midway on the far turn when something apparently went amiss. Let’s just toss that race out, especially since the son of Awesome Again recently worked a spectacular five furlongs in :58 3/5 seconds on the training track, providing evidence that he’s back on the beam. He’ll need luck to negotiate a good trip, but J. J. Hernandez knows him well and will push the bottom at the proper time. Smooth Like Strait is at his best going a mile and will be on or near the lead throughout while saving ground from his good rail post position. This will be his first try against older horses but based on pure numbers the son of Midnight Lute should be highly competitive. It may be of some significance that U. Rispoli, who could have ridden either, jumps off recent Thunder Road S.-G3 winner Hit the Road to stay aboard ‘Strait. Flavius, a close second to Count Again the Seabiscuit, makes his first start since for C. Brown and recent works in Florida indicate he’s fit and ready to pick up where he left off. The son of War Front can really turn it on late and with the presence of F. Prat in the saddle he’s certain to get the patient ride he requires. Finally, at a big price, we’ll toss in the Brazilian-bred Royal Ship, who on pure form looks in deep water, but is a first-time gelding breezing better in the a.m. than we’ve ever seen him for R. Mandella. A Grade-One winner in South America, the son of Midshipman has taken time to acclimate but if he performs to his works, he’ll most likely outrun his odds, at the very least.
RACE 10: Post: 5:00 PT Grade: B
Use: 2-Maxfield; 5-Express Train; 6-Idol
Forecast: Maxfield puts his undefeated-in-five-starts record on the line in this year’s Santa Anita Handicap-G1 and will have to bring his best stuff to remain perfect. Having proven his ability to win from a stalking position or as a deep closer, the son of Street Sense has the perfect style for this 10-furlong and could easily be up to the task, albeit at a very short price. Still, this is his toughest test yet, with several lightly-raced rising stars in the field to provide plenty of competition. Express Train flashed big improvement when an excellent runner-up to Charlatan in the Malibu S-G1 in late December and earned a triple digit Beyer figure (something Maxfield has yet to do) when an overpowering winner of the San Pasqual S.-G2 a month later. His recent workouts indicate he’s nowhere near done with his improvement, so we have to make the Union Rags a serious player and the one to fear most. Idol, victimized by a poor ride/trip when third as the favorite in the San Pasqual, will have every chance to show his best form at a distance he’s bred to excel at, especially with the switch to J. Rosario. The son of Curlin has had only five career starts so his ceiling has yet to be determined. But it’s up there.
RACE 11: Post: 5:30 PT Grade: X
Use: 3-Patron d’Oro; 6-Vantage Point; 10-Following Sea
Forecast: Following Sea makes his debut for B. Baffert with win-early breeding (Runhappy) and a work tab containing several blazing workouts for all to see. He’s a surefire odds-on favorite, but then again, so was Bezos, and we all know how he ran a few weeks back. Suffice to say, we have more confidence in this one. There are two others to consider, “just in case.” Vantage Point is a San Luis Rey Shipper by Uncle Mo with a string of good if not as flashy series of drills. Whether or not he’s up to beating a colt like Following Sea is questionable but we suspect he can run. Patron d’Oro has done some good work in the a.m. and looks the part of a real good prospect. He’s 7/2 on the morning line but if he drifts a bit higher you may want to toss him in somewhere.