“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 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: 1:00 PT Grade: B-
Use (in order of preference): 3-Mamba Cool; 6-Just About Enough
Forecast: Mamba Cool has been away for 14 months and the barn has average stats with the layoff angle, so this top selection in this maiden state-bred turf miler for older horses isn’t made with a high degree of confidence. That said, his best efforts from the last two years would be good enough to beat this field, and the workouts at Los Alamitos look decent enough, so if he returns as well as he left, the P. D’Amato-trained gelding may finally be able to earn his diploma. Just About Enough is a seven-race maiden with speed figures that have stagnated, though he did finish second over this course and distance earlier this month in a similar affair. With the positive jockey switch to Johnny V., the M. Glatt-trained son of Twirling Candy should draft into a comfortable pace stalking position and then have every chance from there.
RACE 2: Post: 1:33 PT Grade: B-
Use (in order of preference): 6-Alleva; 1-Black Storm
Forecast: This six-runner $16,000 claiming sprint for older horses came up light, with the Los Alamitos-based Alleva (TOC=5/2; ML=8-1) finding a good spot to regain his winning form. The veteran son of Goldencents was 80-1 in a recent turf sprint vs. much tougher starter $25,000 foes 13 days ago and actually didn’t run badly when fifth after leaving a step slowly, and against this group from his cozy outside draw he projects to enjoy an ideal pace-stalking trip. In a race without much speed, he should find himself right where he needs to be. Black Storm (TOC=9/2; ML=5/2) is a strong fit on speed figures and is the likely choice and one to beat. A seven-time winner over the Santa Anita dirt strip, the J. Metz-trained gelding must overcome the rail but with clear sailing should make his presence felt late. These are the two we’ll be using in rolling exotic play, with a very slight edge on top to Alleva.
RACE 3: Post: 2:06 PT Grade: B
Use (in order of preference): 7-Square Cat; 4-Straus’s Place
Forecast: This is a split of the first race, with maiden California-bred older horses meeting over a mile on grass. Square Cat stretches out for the first time and projects to be the controlling speed. If the son of Square Eddie will ever be able to get the distance, it most likely will be in his first try, and under these conditions he seems likely to take his field gate to wire. Staus’s Place has a race two runs back at Los Alamitos that charts well here, and with his pedigree (Champ Pegasus from a Giant’s Causeway mare) the P. D’Amato-trained gelding is very likely to produce a significant forward move in his first try on turf. He’s a “must use” in rolling exotic play.
RACE 4: Post: 2:42 PT Grade: B-
Use (in order of preference: 4-Half Right; 5-Mr. Lovejoy
Forecast: Half Right (TOC=6/5; ML=5/2) has won three of his last four starts, the most recent win in a mixed-breed race at Los Alamitos when dominating gate-to-wire. A smart score two races back over the local main track produced a career top speed figure, so in his present form the S. Knapp-trained son of Alpha seems likely to continue his winning form in this starter’s allowance $16,000 sprint. Mr. Lovejoy (TOC=5-1; ML=2-1) is the quickest of the quick and should stick better at this level with the return to the main track. He’s clearly a need-the-lead type, so if he can outrun Half Right in the opening furlong without undue pressure he could be very hard to run down late. These are the two we’ll be using in rolling exotic play with slight preference on top to Half Right
RACE 5: Post: 3:16 PT Grade: B
Use (in order of preference): 2-Masteroffoxhounds; 5-Ecrivain
Forecast: Masteroffoxhounds (TOC=Evens; ML=5/2) went stale last summer after displaying excellent ability in the first few races after being imported for Ireland and we suspect the time off will have done him some good. The R. Baltas-trained son of War Front shows a relatively light work tab but he could be the type that doesn’t need a whole lot to get fit. Winner of the San Marcos S.-G3 over the local lawn last year, he returns in a rarely carded third-level allowance race that appears well within his scope. Ecrivain (TOC=3-1; ML=6/5), is a French import making his U.S. debut for R. Mandella (superior stats with layoffs). A Group-3 stakes winner at Chantilly last summer, he’s a first-time Lasix user who has won off a layoff in the past, but with all of his local works accomplished on dirt (which he seems to struggle over), it’s tough to gauge his readiness. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Masteroffoxhounds.
Masteroffoxhounds (March 19, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:01.1h TT). Grade: B
Asked a bit late and looked solid on the comeback trail, splits of :24.3, :36.3 and 1:01 flat in solo training track drill for R. Baltas. Seems fit, was a stakes winner over the local lawn last year before tailing off in a series of tough Graded stakes company.
View Workout Video
Ecrivain (March 19, Santa Anita, 7f, 1:27.2h). Grade: B-
In company inside Laforgia (6f, 1:14h) for R. Mandella and was best while being ridden hard through the lane, failing to change leads (as usual), splits on our watches from the five furlong pole to the seven furlong pole in :23.2, :36.1, 1:01.3 and 1:14 for the final six furlongs. Not visually pleasing but is clearly a turf horse but should get fit quickly working on the main track.
View Workout Video
RACE 6: Post: 3:46 PT Grade: B
Use (in order of preference): 2-Good Vibes Only; 3-Dixie’s Two Stents
Forecast: Here’s a starter optional claiming extended sprint that appears to feature two main players. Good Vibes Only (TOC=4/5; ML=5/2) broke his maiden at first asking last fall, was claimed for $50,000 by trainer J. Sadler out of the race, then missed by a neck when third at this level in December at Los Alamitos. The son of Maclean’s Music returns protected after a 14 week vacation with a series of workouts that includes a bullet half mile drill in :47 3/5 six days ago, so we’ll assume he’s fit. Additionally, the barn is strong with layoff runners (22% with a powerful ROI). Dixie’s Two Stents (TOC=7/2; ML=2-1) actually is faster on speed figures than Good Vibes Only and broke his maiden last month with complete authority, drawing away nicely after pressing the pace throughout. A similar performance today could easily be good enough.
Good Vibes Only (March 6, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:02.1h). Grade: C+
Maybe a tad the best inside Violent Runner (same time) for J. Sadler though failing to change leads, final half mile in :24 flat and :49.1, ridden a bit through the stretch. Away since December, seems about the same while gearing up for his return.
View Workout Video
RACE 7: Post: 4:16 PT Grade: B
Use (in order of preference): 4-Gregorian Chant; 2-Bran
Forecast: Gregorian Chant (TOC=4/5; ML=8/5), is a prototype late-running turf sprinter, and a four-time winner over the Santa Anita lawn, although all of those victories were accomplished on the flat course. Freshened since the fall after a series of hard races in graded stakes company, the P. D’Amato-trained gelding returns in a conditioned allowance downhill dash with regular rider J. Hernandez, who can be counted on to give the veteran gelding the patient ride that he prefers. His recent works have been okay, not great, but should have him fit enough. Bran (TOC=7/2; ML=9/5) adds Lasix, switches to Johnny V., and can improve a ton if taken back and allowed to produce one late run (his preferred style). This drop in class from a pair of graded stakes races won’t hurt, either.
Overdue (March 5, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:00.4h TT). Grade: B
See Gregorian Chant (below)
View Workout Video
Gregorian Chant (March 19, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:01.4h TT). Grade: B
Broke off five lengths in front of Overdue (5f, 1:00.4h TT) and wound up about a half-length the best at the wire, never asked at any stage and finishing under a nice hold, splits of :25.3, :37.3 and 1:02 flat on our watches. Looks to be returning in good shape after being away since the fall. Workmate went well, too, closing the gap on breezing workmate and finishing without need of pressure.
View Workout Video
RACE 8: Post: 4:46 PT Grade: B+
Use (in order of preference): 6-Song of Fire; 4-Whistler’s Style
Forecast: The finale is a mile turf event for restricted (nw-2) $25,000 fillies and mares. Song of Fire (TOC=8/5; ML=7/5) finished a willing second under similar conditions last month and not much more will be needed to beat this field. The J. Sadler-trained filly shows four solid workouts since raced, so she could be set for significant forward move. Whistler’s Style (TOC=2-1; ML=9/5) shortens to her preferred one mile distance, should get the waiting ride she requires with the switch to D. Van Dyke, and looks on paper to be the most dangerous of the closing types. We’ll have tickets using both in our rolling exotics while reserving the main punch for Song of Fire.