“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): 4-Real Fire; 7-Belle Cherie; 6-Encolpion
Forecast: This appears to be a stronger-than-par maiden turf sprint for fillies and mares, with two comebackers and a first-timer catching our eye. Real Fire acts like a quick filly; she brought $360,00 at the OBS April sale last year after a very impressive :10 flat breeze in the preview session. She also trained quite well at Del Mar last summer (including a :59 and change gate work) but had to be stopped on. Her recent works have been slow and easy (while never being asked) but she retains her early speed and should be a live item for a barn that has solid stats with debut runners. “Go to” rider J. Hernandez takes the call. Belle Cherie displayed good speed before fading in the lane in her only start last summer at Del Mar in what was one of the hottest maiden juvenile filly sprints of the meeting. She returns with Lasix for S. Callaghan (excellent record with layoffs) and has done some smart work in the a.m. that should have her plenty fit. The daughter of Nyquist remains highly-regarded and projects to settle into a good stalking position from her outside draw and then have dead aim and every chance from the quarter pole home. We have not seen Encolpion in the morning but she shows a series of strong workout that indicate some talent. First-timers from the P. Eurton generally need a race, but we’ll use her on a ticket or two as a back-up or saver for protection.
Real Fire (May 4, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:01.4h). Grade: B+
Under strong restraint every step of the way while stride-for-stride outside Heywood’s Beach (same time) for J. Sadler, splits of :12.4, :25 flat, :36.4 and 1:01.4 while certainly able to go a whole lot faster if permitted. Looks fit, trained very well last summer at Del Mar as a 2-year-old but never made it to the post.
View Workout Video
Belle Cherie (April 16, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:00.2h). Grade: B+
Caught her last month in team drill outside Bellamore (5f, 1:01.2h), breaking off at least five lengths behind and then finishing head-and-head at the wire, slower than given but very nice nonetheless while never being asked a drop at any stage, splits of :12.1, :23.4, :35.4 and 1:01 flat on our watches, under cruise control through the lane. Had a run last summer at Del Mar (speed/fade in a hot race) before being stopped on, coming back well and absolutely is much better than her first race shows.
View Workout Video
RACE 2: Post: 1:37 PT Grade: X
Use (in order of preference): 4-So Softly; 5-Harddiane; 1-Ardis
Forecast: We’ll pass this bottom-rung maiden claiming main track miler for fillies and mares while going three-deep (in a five-runner field) in rolling exotic play. So Softly was beaten as the favorite in a tougher maiden $40,000 affair last month but has numbers that fit against this modest group. She will most likely inherit a stalking trip behind Ardis and then have her chance when the pressure is turned on. Harddiane has no acceleration but she always tries hard. In the frame in her last pair under similar conditions, the daughter of Hard Spun should settle in the second flight and then grind away from there. Ardis gets in with a feather, removes blinkers, draws the rail, and seems certain to employ gate-to-wire tactics. She shows a race three back that gives her a look.
RACE 3: Post: 2:09 PT Grade: X
Use (in order of preference): 2-Del Mar Drama; 1-Dancing Dana
Forecast: This starter allowance turf sprint for fillies and mares should boil down to a pair of familiar faces. Del Mar Drama (TOC=8/5; ML=2-1) and Dancing Dana (TOC=2-1; ML=5/2), two-three finishers behind Gallovie in a similar event last month, square off again and are hard to separate, as they finished heads apart the last time they faced each. ‘Drama galloped out much stronger and is a tad faster on speed figures off her best effort so we’ll give her (slightly) top billing. However, either one could win, so both should be used in rolling exotic play in a race that we’ll otherwise pass.
RACE 4: Post: 2:43 PT Grade: C+
Use (in order of preference: 1-Superman Shaq; 5-Catbernay; 4-Big Scott Daddy
Forecast: Superman Shaq (TOC=6-1; ML= 5/2) went sour last summer and was stopped on but has looked a bit more like his old self in recent workouts so perhaps he’ll return invigorated and remember how well-regarded (and fast) he was in his younger days. This is his first time in a claimer, and at this restricted (nw-2) $25,000 level they’re not exactly given him away, so let’s put him on top and hope that he breaks cleanly from the rail, gains early control, and then gets brave. From a limited sample, this barn has done very well with layoff runners and this gelded son of Shackleford has been given enough of a foundation to be fit and ready. Big Scott Daddy (TOC=3-1; ML=2-1) has a prior win over the local main track and appears on paper to be the most dangerous of the closing types. He remains well above his claim level in a sign of confidence from trainer J. Wong, who generally is quite realistic when placing his stock. You also may find the need to toss in on a ticket or two Catbernay (TOC=2-1; ML=7/2), second in his last three starts with competitive speed figures but making his first start following a claim by a low percentage outfit.
Superman Shaq (May 22, Santa Anita, 4f, :51.2h). Grade: B-
Went off in a crawl (:14 flat), then gradually picked it up but was never asked at any stage while moving well and appearing nice and relaxed, :26.3 and :52 flat on our watches. Slow work for sure but can’t knock it. Once was very quick and highly-regarded, been away since last summer and seems to be returning in a good state of mind.
View Workout Video
RACE 5: Post: 3:14 PT Grade: C+
Use (in order of preference): 3-Frontier Market; 2-Proud Pedro
Forecast: We’ll try to survive and advance using just two in this $25,000 claiming miler for older horses, though not with a great deal of confidence. Best advice is to use as many as your budget allows. Frontier Market (TOC=2-1; ML=4-1) Proud Pedro (TOC=4-1; ML=3-1) is another late-runner with a chance if things break his way. Away since October and dropping realistically into a seller for the first time, the L. Powell-trained import will find this distance a bit sharp, but against this group he might fire a big shot off the bench, a slow and brief recent work tab notwithstanding. In a race full of question marks, we suggest you tread lightly.
RACE 6: Post: 3:45 PT Grade: B-
Use (in order of preference): 2-All Four Winds; 5-Divine Armor
Forecast: All Four Winds (TOC=7/5; ML=9/5) crushed a modest maiden-claiming field in an abbreviated sprint earlier this month in just his second career start, doing so with speed figure that is better than par for this starter optional claiming level. Similar gate-to-wire tactics surely will be employed in this two-turn miler, so if he can shake loose early and relax midway, the son of Grazen may be able to win right back despite the class hike. Divine Armor (TOC=8/5; ML=8/5) lacks a winning punch – he is 1-for-16 lifetime – but his numbers are strong for the level and he is a first-time gelding. If our top pick doesn’t see out the trip, he is the most likely to pick up the pieces.
RACE 7: Post: 4:15 PT Grade: B-
Use (in order of preference): 5-Gritty Girl; 3-Spanish Channel; 2-She Loves Karaoke
Forecast: Gritty Girl (TOC=2-1; ML=3-1) is the quickest of the quick and is a perfect one-for-one at this five furlong distance. She drops into a restricted (nw-2) claimer for the first time, has a prior win over this course and distance, and continues to train well for J. Mullins. It will probably be “hold your breath” time in the final 70 yards, but hopefully this daughter of Street Boss will have built up enough of a lead to hang on. Just in case, you may want to include on your ticket a couple of backups. Spanish Channel (TOC=6-1; ML=5-1) is winless in 34 races when facing thoroughbreds, her sole victory having come against mixed breed foes at Los Alamitos. She also is zero-for-19 over this turf course. Hard one to like? Certainly, but she is one of the few in here that can finish a bit. She Loves Karaoke (TOC=5-1; ML= 7/2) is another that usually runs on a bit late, so if there is a pace meltdown she should be in a good spot to make some noise late. Like Spanish Channel, she is technically a maiden against thoroughbreds, here sole first-place finish earned in a mixed-bred maiden dash at Los Alamitos a couple of months ago.
Gritty Girl (May 20, Santa Anita, 4f, :47.3h). Grade: B
In blinkers, under wraps in solo training track drill for J. Mullins, final three furlongs in :11.3 and :35.1, quite nice. Has all of her speed, definitely a need-the-lead type.
View Workout Video
RACE 8: Post: 4:45 PT Grade: B-
Use (in order of preference): 2-Poseidon’s Kid; 8-Hotrod Kid; 5-Vanisky
Forecast: Poseidon’s Kid most recently was a distant second to a runaway winner in a fast, highly-rated sprint in an effort that produced a career top speed figure. This will be his first start around two-turns and he is certain to employ gate-to-wire tactics in this modest maiden $50,000 affair for state-bred older horses. If the son of Richard’s Kid is going to handle a route of ground, it most likely will be in his first try, and based on pedigree this extra distance should be well within his range. Hotrod Kid improved his Beyer speed figure by 15 points between his first and second start, so with another forward move the son of Clubhouse Ride should be right there. He’ll be running on late. Vanisky finished second in the same race Hotrod Rid exits but has had five chances and probably has less room to improve. His form suggests he should at least hit the board, but the J. Bonde-trained son of Vronsky has never been known to punch it in under pressure.
RACE 9: Post: 5:15 PT Grade: B+
Forecast: Ghostem (TOC=3-1; ML=4-1) earned a confidence-building win from straight maiden Cal-bred foes earlier this month but is eligible for this starter’s optional claimer because she previously had started for a tag. She set quick fractions (opening quarter in :22.41) over this course and distance and kept on going (final furlong in :12.24) when earning a career top speed figure, so similar front-running tactics certainly will be employed again, especially in a field with no other speed signed on. She’s listed at 4-1 on the morning line and at or near that price she is a win play and rolling exotic single.