Jeff Siegel’s Blog: “What You Need to Know for Santa Anita – Friday, May 17, 2024

May 17, 2024

Jeff Siegel’s Santa Anita “What You Need to Know
Friday, May 17, 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: 3-Luther Pass; 2-Big Drinker.
Backups/savers: 1-Citadino.

Forecast: Luther Pass got caught in a speed duel and paid the price late when third in a similar maiden $20,000 two-turn affair last month but with a little less pace pressure and drawn outside the other main speed the T. Yakteen-trained gelding should improve enough to earn his diploma. A strong five furlong breeze (1:00.2) since that race should have him right on edge. Big Drinker, a solid runner-up in the same race our top pick exits, likely will improve with patient tactics again and is the one to fear most close home.

RACE 2: Post: 1:30 PT Grade: C+
Main Ticket: 3-Big Mama Sue; 1-Miss Ives; 2-Yolo Calls.
Backups/savers: 5-She’s Got a Way.

Forecast: Here’s a tough $40,000 claiming turf sprint for fillies and mares that requires some coverage in rolling exotic play. <bhas been away since November and might be prepping for a stretch out – she’s always been a route-type – but she has a history of firing fresh and this turn back in trip might suit her well. On pure numbers, she’s fast enough to win if cranked up and the work tab looks reasonably strong. Worth noting is that she earned her diploma around one turn a few years back. Miss Ives lands the rail and has no choice but to pop and go. She looks like the quickest of the quick and could take some catching if not policed up front. This will be her first try on grass and if she likes it, look out. Yolo Calls was in too tough in a competitive starter’s allowance last month, but scored over this course and distance two runs back with an okay speed figure that makes her a contender. She employs an effective second flight, stalking style that should provide her a chance to tag the leaders close home.

RACE 3: Post: 2:00 PT Grade: B+
Main Ticket: 5-Sunday Sun
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: Sunday Sun has the perquisite two sprint preps on his resume – one last September and the other earlier this month – to stretch out successfully in this maiden claiming main track miler for $50,000 state-bred runners. The son of Yoshida adds blinkers and likely will display more tactical speed than he has so far going short, and if he can secure a decent early position the S. Knapp-trained sophomore should be good enough to handle this task. In a race that offers no viable alternative – Dark Marcus is a 21-race maiden – he’s our top pick by default and looks on paper to be a logical win play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 4: Post: 2:34 PT Grade: B
Main Ticket: 7-I’m a Lucky Man; Johnny Drama.
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: I’m a Lucky Man is drawn outside of his chief pace rival and most likely will employ stalking tactics. He’s won with that strategy in the past and his recent form facing slightly tougher competition suggests he’s ready to regain his winning form.
Johnny Drama weakened late to finish third in a similar restricted (nw-3) $30,000 claiming turf sprint after establishing a clear early lead last month in a race that earned a solid speed figure. He’ll face more heat today but in a field lacking in effective closers the son of Goldencents should remain a strong factor throughout. We’ll try to survive and advance using just these two with preference on top to I’m a Lucky Man.

RACE 5: Post: 3:07 PT Grade: B+
Main Ticket: 2-Jane Austen
Backups/savers: 3-In Theory.

Forecast: Jane Austen performed better than her works suggested she would when winning her debut from odds-on hot shot Quick Brown Fox in a fast, highly rated extended sprint last month. In victory, the daughter of Tapit settled off the leaders to the head of the lane before responding when asked to indicate that added distance (and two turns) should be well within her capabilities. The M. Glatt barn has terrific stats with the stretch out angle (25% with a powerful ROI) so we’re expecting this $750,000 yearling purchase to repeat on the raise.

RACE 6: Post: 3:37 PT Grade: B
Main Ticket: 1-Doncic; 2-Mackinnon.
Backups/savers: 4-Devil Moon.

Forecast: We’ll double the sixth race, an abbreviated turf dash for $50,000 older claimers that despite the shortened five furlong trip should play into the strength of the mid-pack/closing runners. Doncic is guaranteed a ground-saving trip from the rail, and if he can avoid traffic trouble the V. Cerin-trained six-year-old should be heard from close home. He’s been first or second in six of 10 starts over the local lawn and is a strong fit on numbers at this level. Ex-classer Mackinnon may find five furlongs a bit sharp, but he can really turn it on late and with some help up front should be picking up rivals in the final stages.

RACE 7: Post: 4:07 PT Grade: B-
Main Ticket: 2-Keychain Girl; 1-Sweet Millie
Backups/savers: 3-Warren’s Wild Ride.

Forecast: Keychain Girl makes her second start off a layoff and has a right to be fitter and stronger today for her low profile connections. She projects to be prominent throughout and has several back numbers that are good enough to win at this restricted (nw-2) $16,000 level for fillies and mares. However, given the spotty race pattern throughout her career, she’s hardly one to trust. If Sweet Millie leaves cleanly from the rail the daughter of Mucho Macho Man could inherit the role as the controlling speed and get brave. Her win up north two races back, if repeated, would probably be good enough to beat this field.

RACE 8: Post: 4:37 PT Grade: A-
Main ticket: 5-Jai Ho
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: Jai Ho is listed as the 8/5 morning line favorite in this maiden $50,000 turf sprint for older fillies and mares but it will be surprising if she doesn’t leave at odds on. Beaten a half-length in a similar affair last month in her first start in almost a year, the M. Glatt-trained daughter of Mendelsohn had her form flattered (and the big figure verified) when the filly who won that race – stablemate Yellow Sun Dress – came back to easily handle winners last week. Nothing more will be needed from this lightly raced four-year old, whose trainer shows powerful stats with the second off the layoff angle.

Jeff Siegel’s Blog: “What You Need to Know for Santa Anita – Friday, May 17, 2024

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