Jeff Siegel’s Blog: “Whaat You Need to Know for Santa Anita – Saturday, May 25, 2024

Jeff Siegel’s Santa Anita “What You Need to Know
Saturday, May 25, 2024

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “What You Need to Know” 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.

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RACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: B-
Main Ticket: Really Thirsty; 7-Stop Digging; 4-Quick Kate.
Backups/savers: 2-Clubhouse Bride; 3-Bella Vienna.

Forecast: Really Thirsty displayed some moxie when graduating over this course earlier this month, and while the step up in class might pose a challenge the shortening in trip to five furlongs should be highly agreeable. The Stay Thirsty filly projects to enjoy a pace pressing trip and then have her chance from the quarter pole home. Stop Digging is another coming off a nice maiden score over the local lawn and if it weren’t for her ice cold barn we give her strong consideration as a top pick. Quick Kate shows the popular route-to-sprint angle, and over a course that has been quite kind to the second flight closers the daughter of Clubhouse Ride looks very much like the most dangerous of the late runners.

RACE 2: Post: 1:32 PT Grade: B+
Main Ticket: 5-Smoken If U Gottem; 2-Smiling Beast.
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: This state-bred maiden special weight affair has two players, one with a pivotal race under his belt and the other training like he’ll be a definite threat. Smokem If U Gottem finished a strong runner-up in a fast, highly rated race in his debut last month while earning a speed figure that would win this type of race eight times out of 10. It took a good colt to outrun him, so anything close to that sharp effort today will make him hard to beat. Smiling Beast has done everything right in the a.m. for B. Koriner and if he performs close to a.m. drills the son of Smiling Tiger should give his chief rival a real run for his money. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.

RACE 3: Post: 2:03 PT Grade: X
Main Ticket: 1-The Chosen Vron.
Backups/savers: 3-Big City Lights.

Forecast: The Chosen Vron has won 12 of his last 13 races, his only defeat coming in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint-G1 last fall behind Elite Power and Gunite, certainly no disgrace with that glitch on his resume. The California-bred gelding has captured 17 of 22 overall and 10 of 12 over the Santa Anita main track. ‘Nuff said.

RACE 4: Post: 2:35 PT Grade: X
Main Ticket: Kings River Knight.
Backups/savers: 5-Old Pal.

Forecast: Kings River Knight isn’t quite the turf version of The Chosen Vron, but it’s close. The son of Acclamation has won six of his last seven, mostly recently in an open (non-state bred) allowance race over this course and distance with the first triple digit Beyer speed figure of his career. Back with California-bred runners, the type of which he has toyed with throughout much of his career, the J. Sadler-trained gelding is a devout front runner in a field without much speed, as if he needed any more help.

RACE 5: Post: 3:07 PT Grade: B+
Main Ticket: 5-Willow Cove.
Backups/savers: 9-Hot Danzing.

Forecast: Willow Cove flashed good speed in her debut before weakening late to wind up fourth (beaten three lengths) over this track and distance but has returned to breeze quite well (:47 flat, second fastest of 48), so we’re expecting a forward move today from the daughter of Ministers Wild Cat. Additionally, the M. Puype-trained 4-year-old makes the significant class drop from an already productive straight maiden affair to the maiden $50,000 level, so at 4-1 on the morning line she should be a strong play at anywhere near that price, though we suspect she’ll go lower.

RACE 6: Post: 3:39 PT Grade: B
Main Ticket: 1-Carmen Miranda; 11-Stay and Scam; 8-Madiha.
Backups/savers: 6-Tam’s Little Angel.

Forecast: This year’s edition of the Fran’s Valentine Stakes for state-bred fillies and mares is a complete grass grab bag requiring a spread in rolling exotic play. Stay and Scam deserves to be favored based on the company she’s been keeping but the extreme outside 11-post does her no favors, and as a committed front runner with speed drawn inside her the daughter of Square Eddie will be forced to employ stalk-and-pounce tactics. She’s won that way in the past, but never around two turns. On the other hand, Carmen Miranda, first off an $80,000 claim by J. Sadler, gets the coveted rail and is guaranteed a cozy ground-saving trip. She should be extra sharp following a series of quick recent sprints and she’s run well around two turns in the past. Also, she gets a major jockey switch to J. Hernandez, is a two-time winner over the local lawn, and should be set for a career top performance, so after going back and forth she’ll be our top pick. Madiha, first or second in eight of 15 career starts over the local lawn, projects as a late threat and with some help up front could make some noise in the final furlong.

RACE 7: Post: 4:11 PT Grade: A-
Main Ticket: 6-Whimsical Heir.
Backups/savers: 1-Irish Wahine; 2-Tizzy Twister.

Forecast: Whimsical Heir has won her last two outings like a vastly improve mare, most recently blowing away a field of $16,000 restricted claimers with a career top speed figure that makes her quite competitive in this tougher allowance optional claimer. The M. Glatt-trained daughter of Orb isn’t particularly quick during the early stages but can really turn it on from the quarter pole home, so we’re expecting her to tag the speed close home while hoping to get close to her morning line of 4-1. We’ll include her two toughest rivals on a backup ticket, but the main push goes to ‘Heir in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics.

RACE 8: Post: 4:43 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket: 1-Shady Tiger; 8-Final Storm; 5-Curlin’s Kaos.
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: Shady Tiger is a very good California-bred sophomore but he’s bred to go a mile (or shorter) so this stretch out to nine furlongs for this year’s renewal of the Snow Chief Stakes could be problematic. His recent victory sprinting on dirt in the Echo Eddie Stakes was visually quite pleasing but this trip is a whole different game, so we’ll put him on top without singling him. Final Storm has won his last pair sprinting in very good style, and as a son of Blame from a mare by Pioneer of the Nile the rapidly developing 3-year-old gelding could move up a ton at this trip. He’s a stable mate of our top pick in the P. D’Amato-barn and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them finish one-two in whatever order. Curlin’s Kaos just handled a solid allowance field over this course at a mile and is another that should benefit from today’s longer journey. He’s right there with the D’Amato pair based on numbers and is unbeaten in two starts on grass.

RACE 9: Post: 5:15 PT Grade: B
Main ticket: 4-Grand Slam Smile; 7-Roberta’s Love.
Backups/savers: 1-Safa; 3-Loretta Lynn.

Forecast: Grand Slam Smile has won sprinting on dirt, sprinting on all-weather, two turning on grass, and on the front end or from off the pace, so she can pretty much do it all. A clever winner of the California Cups Oaks routing over the local lawn back in January, she returns following a series of exceptional recent workouts at her Golden Gate Fields home base that should have her fit and ready for another major effort over a group she’s proven she can handle. Roberta’s Love is the one she should fear the most. The Calbred daughter of Collected stretches out for the first time (should love it) after winning her previous two races sprinting in sharp style, most recently the Evening Jewel S. over this dirt strip last month while cutting out fast splits that make her the likely controlling speed if her connections employ that strategy. On pure numbers she’s right there with ‘Smile, though without her rival’s impressive resume.

RACE 10: Post: 5:40 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket: 1-Our Bucky Charm
Backups/savers: 10-Left Hand Man; 9-Eddie’s Last.

Forecast: Our Bucky Charm was bet like he couldn’t lose in his debut, and he didn’t, dominating gate to wire in a main track sprint that produced a strong speed figure. The son of Munnings moves up to the first level allowance ranks today and will try his luck down the Hillside Course but from his favorable outside the draw the M. Puype-trained gelding projects as the quickest of the quick. With a sharp recent breezed to tick him over and with top rider J. Hernandez staying aboard, he’s likely to score right back.

Jeff Siegel’s Blog: “Whaat You Need to Know for Santa Anita – Saturday, May 25, 2024

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