“What You Need to Know” – Santa Anita
By Jeff Siegel, 1stbet.com Handicapper & Analyst
Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s Daily Santa Anita Handicapping Analysis, Wagering Strategies, Workout Commentary, and True Odds Calculations (“TOC”) identify those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.
The “TOC” quantifies the findings of a personal thoroughbred analytics program that contains in its database the results of every race contested at Santa Anita since 2004. More than 75 critical factors in the fields of class, distance, surface, age, and sex have created 227 individual
algorithms that are highly specific to the race being handicapped. The result is a probability line that reflects each contender’s true odds based on a pure 100 point takeout.
The “TOC” applies its mathematical formula only to non-maiden races and displays a maximum of four runners considered the most likely contenders to win. Also listed is the specific algorithm’s sample size plus the top-rated horse’s win percentage and return on investment (ROI). It is suggested that the player utilize the program’s findings to compare each contender’s “true odds” with the morning line and/or actual wagering odds to identify potential overlays and underlays.
Also-eligible runners are not included in any of the calculations until verified as actual starters. When possible, adjustments to the “TOC” will be updated after late scratches.
For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.
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: B
Use (in order of preference): 1-Kazuhiko; 2-Sai Con
Forecast: The two logical contenders are drawn inside in this maiden claiming $62,500 turf sprint for older horses. Kazuhiko, freshened since November, returns in a sprint after failing to punch it in when tried over a distance of ground vs. much stronger straight maiden foes last time out. Clearly most effective as a late-running sprinter, the Australian-bred son of Deep Intact shows up for a tag, lands the rail, and has a recent series of workouts that should have him plenty fit. Over a course that generally favors the closers, the R. Mandella-trained horse should be along in time. Sai Con is the best of the speed types but always seems to give it up un pressure in the closing stages. Second after establishing a clear lead over this course and distance last time out, the R. Baltas-trained will take them as far as he can. The main push goes to Kazuhiko, but we’ll have tickets using both in rolling exotic play.
Kazuhiko (February 16, Santa Anita, 6f, 1:13h). Grade: B
In blinkers, broke off a couple of lengths in front of Soothsay (6f, 1:12.3h) and wound up head-and-head at the wire, ridden through the lane (workmate asked, too) in solid drill for R. Mandella, splits of :24.1, :36.1, :48 flat and 1:13.1 on our watches. Plenty fit, prefers to sprint and should fire a big shot following a three month vacation.
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RACE 2: Post: 1:01 PT Grade: B-
Use (in order of preference): 4-Big Bell; 3-Glory of Chrome
Forecast: The only main track appearance by Big Bell came in her first race, a good runner-up effort in a sprint over the Santa Anita main track last summer. She returns dirt after being freshened since November and the T. Yakteen-trained daughter of Mr. Big has very little to beat in this bottom-rung maiden claimer over a mile. The work pattern is healthy, and she’s shown she can run well fresh (her debut), so in a modest affair we’ll put her on top. Glory of Chrome is a “must use” as well. She adds blinkers for the first time and may show a bit more speed than usual. If she can shake loose early, she make take this field a long way.
RACE 3: Post: 1:37 PT Grade: B-
Use (in order of preference): 1-Sommer Daisy; 6-Whistler’s Style
Forecast: We’ll double the third race, a starter’s allowance/optional claiming turf miler for fillies and mares. Sommer Daisy (TOC=4/5; ML=9/5) has a maiden win on grass last summer at Del Mar that charts very well with these, and from the rail she is guaranteed an ideal ground-saving, stalking trip. She is reunited with “win rider” U Rispoli and beats this field if she can reproduce her best effort. Whistler’s Style (TOC=8/5; ML=20-1) is winless in five starts over the Santa Anita turf course but she’s a fit with these based strictly on speed figures and exits a much tougher race. Worth noting is that the analytics strongly disagree with the morning line’s assessment of her chances; indeed, a repeat of her strong runner-up performance over this course and distance two runs gives her a reasonable look.
RACE 4: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: B+
Use (in order of preference): 5-Midnight Jamboree; 4-Clockstrikestwelve
Forecast: Only five were entered in this starter’s allowance main track miler for fillies and mares, so there’s not a whole lot to work with. Midnight Jamboree (TOC=4/5; ML=8/5) makes her second her second start off a long layoff and appears primed and ready for a major performance. A prior winner over the Santa Anita dirt strip and always genuine and consistent, the W. Spawr-trained mare didn’t break well and lost early position in a slightly tougher race over this track and distance last month but stayed on nicely to be second behind Bye Bye Bertie, who is considerably tougher than anything she’ll see in this affair. Purely on numbers, she deserves to be a short price. Clockstrikestwelve (TOC=3-1; ML=2-1) lacks tactical speed but is capable of making an impression late with some help up front. She, too, shows winning form at Santa Anita and also has been facing tougher foes, so the J. Wong-trained mare should be included on a ticket or two as a back-up or a saver.
RACE 5: Post: 2:42 PT Grade: B
Use (in order of preference): 2-Abhita; 7-Exactly Wendy
Forecast: Abhita and Exactly Wendy finished second and third, respectively, in a similar California-bred maiden special weight turf miler for 3-year-old fillies earlier this month and are the two main players in this below average affair. Abhita awaited room in traffic to the head of the lane, swung wide, and finished with good energy in an excellent effort while rallying into slow fractions in first start since the fall. If she can turn in two alike, the daughter of Clubhouse Ride should be along in plenty of time. Meanwhile, Exactly Wendy clunked home for third in her first try around two turns and may improve, though on pure numbers she’s got some work to do. We’ll have tickets using both in rolling exotic play with the main push going to Abhita.
Abhita (February 14, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:02.2h). Grade: C
Struggled through the lane under mild urging, final three furlongs in :12.3 and :39 flat. Clearly not a dirt runner, desperately needs grass to show her best.
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RACE 6: Post: 3:15 PT Grade: B-
Use (in order of preference): 1-Conundrum; 4-HGead for Business
Forecast: Conundrum, away since last April and Midwest invader with numbers that can win at this level, seems well-placed to graduate in this bottom-rung maiden $20,000 abbreviated sprint for older horses. The recent workouts at his home base at Golden Gate Fields look pretty solid for capable trainer E. Moger, Jr., so we’ll put him on top despite his disadvantageous rail post position and his apparent lack of gate speed. Head for Business is a nine-race maiden and not one to trust, but against this group the son of Boat Trip looks to be the one to fear most. Freshened since November and with a solid prior race over the local main track last summer, the R. Hess, Jr.-trained gelding projects be on or near the lead throughout and then have every chance from the quarter pole home. Preference on top goes to Conundrum but both should be included in rolling exotic play.
Head for Business (February 16, Santa Anita, 4f, :48hg). Grade: B
Stumbled badly at the start, then was let run and did well in solo gate drill for R. Hess, Jr., splits of :24.2, :35.4 and :47.4 on our watches, solid drill by modest maiden claimer. Freshened, in good shape, ready to go.
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RACE 7: Post: 3:46 PT Grade: B+
Use (in order of preference): 5-Unbridled Mary; 1-Big Switch; 3-Demona
Forecast: This is a strong Hillside Turf Course sprint for first-level allowance sophomore fillies that could easily be a listed stakes. Unbridled Mary (TOC=6-1; ML=8-1) was a visually pleasing winner sprinting over five furlongs on grass in her debut in November but bled in the race and went on the vet’s list. She returns showing an excellent series of recent workouts, and with a closing style that looks ideal for this tricky course, the daughter Maclean’s Music looks quite capable of remaining unbeaten. Trainer J. Sadler’s other entrant has a huge look as well. Big Switch (TOC=3/2; ML=3-1), winner of a $175,00 Cal-bred added money event in November at Del Mar but a disappointment when well-backed in the Santa Ynez S.-G2 last time out in January, gets her first chance on grass and, as a daughter of Mr. Big, certainly is bred for it. She is a first-time Lasix user with sharp recent drills, so while her rail post is less than ideal, she should be capable of settling behind the leaders and then making her presence felt when it counts. We’ll also toss in the X-factor for Ireland, Delmona (TOC=5/2: ML=6-1), , multiple listed stakes placed in excellent company last year during her juvenile campaign in England and France. She shows a series of training track drills for trainer J. Mullins that look solid and should have her fit, and since she won her debut last summer, we know she can fire fresh.
Big Switch (February 19, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:00h). Grade: B
Went off quickly and was ridden through the lane, final half mile in :11.2, :23 flat and :47.4, strong move for J. Sadler. Didn’t fire in the Santa Ynez S.-G3 but is better than that, will be interested to see how she performs on grass (bred for it). Can bounce back.
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Unbridled Mary (February 14, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:01.1h). Grade: B+
Cruising through the lane without ever being asked, a ton left in the tank, final three furlongs in :11.4 and :37 flat. Was impressive winning her debut in the fall land should return at least as good if not better. Plenty fit.
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RACE 8: Post: 4:17 PT Grade: B+
Use (in order of preference): 2-Devil Moon; 1-Mo Gold
Forecast: Devil Moon has trained like a monster for R. Mandella and will be tough to beat if he breaks with field. The son of Malibu Moon certainly was sharp leaving the barrier in a recent :46 flat gate work (see below) while displaying intense speed despite being under a pull most of the way. As a full-brother to ill-fated Arkansas Derby-G1 winner Magnum Moon, he has the potential of being a high quality colt, but how he’ll perform on turf is anybody’s guess. Mo Gold is plenty quick himself and the benefit of two prior outings over the local lawn. The son of Uncle Mo had no excuse when worn down late at 40 cents on the dollar last time out, but he did finish 12 lengths clear of the rest while obviously running a winning race in defeat. The blinkers come off today in an effort to slow him down a bit during the early stages. We’ll be quite surprised if the winner isn’t one or the other, with Devil Moon getting a slight preference on top.
Devil Moon (February 19, Santa Anita, 4f, :46hg). Grade: A-
Full brother to 2018 Arkansas Derby-G1 winner Magnum Moon worked from gate with Lasso Special (4f, :49.1hg)and left that one far behind with an eye-opening display of raw speed, splits of :23.1, :34.2 and :46.1 while mostly under a hold. Strong, powerful colt with plenty of scope has an unusual amount of natural talent and is plenty fit, not sure how he’ll perform on grass but if he handles it, he’ll be tough vs. maidens.
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Hopper (February 5, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:00.4hg). Grade: B
Best in a gate drill outside Mauritius (5f, 1:01.1hg) for B. Baffert, splits of :23.2, :34.4, :47.1 and 1:00.4, mild coaxing to be head-and-head to the top and then edging clear in the final furlong though appearing somewhat green and losing his punch late. Looks to have some ability and is bred for turf (Declaration of War), may not be quite there yet.
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