Jeff Siegel’s Blog: “What You Need to Know” for Santa Anita – Friday, May 19, 2023

May 19, 2023

“What You Need to Know” – Santa Anita
by Jeff Siegel, Handicapper & Analyst

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s Daily Santa Anita Handicapping Analysis, Wagering Strategies, and Workout Commentary identify those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.
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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: 1:00 PT Grade: X
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 5-Devil Moon
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: Devil Moon is an 11-race maiden and certainly not one to trust. After finishing second in five of his last six starts, the son of Malibu Moon appears to lack the necessary punch to seal the deal when the pressure is turned on. However, he is simply faster on pure numbers than the competition in this six furlong f turf sprint for maiden $50,000 claimers and actually ran a winning race in defeat when more than three clear of the rest in his most recent start. With the switch to hot riding Umberto Rispoli, the 4-year-old gelding should finally earn his diploma, and if it’s not him, it could be anyone, so we’ll make him a logical candidate to be a rolling exotic single in a race that might be better off left alone.


RACE 2: Post: 1:33 PT Grade: C
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 1-Shvere Arbeter; 3-Flatterwithjewels
Backups/savers: 4-Renegade Princess.

Forecast: We’ll pass the second race while using three of the five starters in our rolling exotics. Shvere Arbeter and Flatterwithjewels finished one-two in a similar low level main track claiming miler last month and meet again in a race in which ‘Arbeter once again projects to be the controlling speed while ‘Jewels almost certainly will inherit the role as the pace stalker. In that mid-April affair the former held sway to register a length-and-one half victory and could easily do the same thing again. We’ll also toss in the Phoenix invader Renegade Princess, a winner of her last two starts, one routing and the other sprinting, while earning speed figures that make her a solid fit on this circuit. She gets a break in the weights with the switch to good bug boy Aguilar and is a perfect one-for-one over this track and distance, having graduated facing bottom-rung maiden claimers a year ago January.


RACE 3: Post: 2:04 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 6-Defensor Fortis; 5-Unzip Me Lord
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: Defensor Fortis brought $80,000 last year at the Timonium 2-year-old in training sale after looking fairly decent breezing in 10 3/5 seconds over the bullring dirt strip. He was unable to make the entries until today in this maiden special weight grass sprint for older horses, but the son of Air Force Blue has been meticulously prepared over the all-weather Golden Gate Fields main track in recent weeks while recording several fast times in a work sequence that should have him fit and ready. The known element doesn’t impressive so let’s go with this fresh face for Jonathan Wong, who hits at a solid 18% with a good ROI with the first time starter angle. Unzip Me Lord hasn’t set the world on fire in the morning, but he should be tight enough for a good effort first crack out of the box. The barn rarely wins with first timers (trainer Carla Gaines is working on a zero-for-26 streak with this angle), but this colt by Lord Nelson from the high class turf sprinter Unzip Me likely will show better over this grass course than his dirt drills might lead one to believe. With leading jockey Juan Hernandez taking the call, you have to use him somewhere.


RACE 4: Post: 2:32 PT Grade: C
Main ticket (in order of preference): 1-Modera; 6-Love U Mean It
Backups/Savers: none.

Forecast: Here’s an inscrutable $32,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares in which any one of the six entrants could win. For small ticket players we’ll zero in on just two, but we suggest you use as many as your budget will allow. Modera is class dropper worth giving a close look to in a soft field. She’s from a low profile stable (winless with just two starters this year) but is a fit on numbers and projects as the controlling speed from the rail, if such a strategy is employed. She’s run well for jockey Diego Herrera in the past and more importantly shows a maiden $40,000 victory over this track and distance last fall. Lov U Mean It lands the cozy outside draw while dropping into a claimer for the first time and switching from grass to dirt. Her sole victory was accomplished over this main track as a 2-year-old, but on the negative side is her lack of tactical quickness and speed figures that are average at best. We’re hoping that under these conditions the daughter of Smokem will produce a career top effort and one that makes her a reasonable contender.


RACE 5: Post: 3:17 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 5-Stylishlyacclaimed
Backups/savers: 3-Sanger.

Forecast: Trainer Carla Gaines appears to hold the aces in this extended turf sprint for older straight maidens. Stylishlyacclaimed was absolutely given a race in his debut three weeks ago and seems certain to improve significantly with that effort under his belt. The son of Acclamation broke slowly and was allowed to lag to the head of the lane, then closed a big gap to split the field before galloping out full of run past the clubhouse turn. He gets an extra half furlong to work with today while retaining Victor Espinoza, so we’re expecting a much more serious effort while hoping that this time the 3-year-old gelding will leave with his field. Sanger, his debuting stablemate, has worked just okay on dirt but has a pedigree (Desert Code from an Unusual Heat mare) that strongly suggests he will be much more comfortable on grass. While he may be a down-the-road type for a barn that rare wins with first time starters, the 4-year-gelding is being protected in straight maiden company (rather than being risked in a maiden claimer) in a sign of confidence and might have enough ability to make his presence felt against this group.


RACE 6: Post: 3:50 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 8-Ever a Rebel
Backups/savers: 1-Looks Rare.

Forecast:His outside draw notwithstanding, Ever a Rebel looks like the logical top pick in this maiden optional claimer for older horses over a mile on the main track. This will be his first try around two turns, and if the son of Bolt d’Oro can avoid getting fanned wide into the clubhouse turn he should be able to earn his diploma. In the money in all four starts, most recently when beaten a neck (two clear or the rest) in a solid sprint at this level last month, the Phil D’Amato-trained colt projects to get over and secure a decent pace stalking/prompting position and have every chance to put his significant edge in speed figures to good use. For protection, we’ll also toss in Looks Rare, favorably drawn on the rail and competitive on numbers based on his fifth place finish (beaten less than two lengths) over this track and distance at this level in early April. The Doug O’Neill-trained colt has trained well since, and with another forward move could at least complete the exacta.


RACE 7: Post: 4:20 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 3-Big Sis Little Sis
Backups/savers: 6-Sell the Dream

Forecast: Big Sis Little Sis is a progressive filly from Golden Gate Fields with sprint form that makes here a strong fit on this circuit at this level. The daughter of Mr. Big is bred to improve with maturity, experience, and distance, and in her first try around two turns and her first on grass the Reid France 3-year-old should be set for her second straight career top performance. Sell the Dream is a first-time Lasix user exiting seven consecutive stakes races, most recently when third in the Campanile Stakes at Golden Gate Fields three weeks ago. Most effective when on or near the lead throughout, the Brian Koriner-trained daughter of Munnings has finished first or second in all three of her starts over the Santa Anita turf course but is a bit shy in the speed figure department when compared to our top pick. Both should be included in rolling exotic play, with the main punch going to Big Sis Little Sis.


RACE 8: Post: 4:50 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket (in order of preference): 1-Danz Till Ten
Backups/savers: 2-Donttestyourluck

Forecast: Danz Till Ten was given an educational run in his debut sprinting against tougher maiden $50,000 state-bred foes in mid-March and is likely to step forward considerably while stretching out from a good inside draw against this bottom-rung maiden $20,000 field. The son of Danzing Candy was allowed to lag far back to the top of the lane, was taken wide and then finished on his own courage while winding up sixth and galloping out with interest in a much better performance than the line will show. Certainly bred for a distance of ground, the Quinn Howey-trained sophomore offers an exciting gamble at or near his morning line of 20-1. As a saver, we’ll toss in Donttestyourluck, in the frame in his last two with speed figures that fit at this level. He’ll likely be forwardly placed, maybe even on the lead, and probably can be expected to at least hit the board.

Jeff Siegel’s Blog: “What You Need to Know” for Santa Anita – Friday, May 19, 2023

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