Jeff Siegel’s Blog: “What You Need to Know for Santa Anita – June 1, 2024

Jeff Siegel’s Santa Anita “What You Need to Know
Saturday, June 1, 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: 6-Middleburg; 7-Cathal (IRE)
Backups/savers: 9-Rostovsky; 3-Fausto.

Forecast: Middleburg exits two considerably tougher races, most recently when sent from the gate to establish a quick pace before fading in the final furlong in a fast, highly rated main track affair. The son of Tapit tries grass today and should benefit greatly from much softer early splits, so whether on the lead or from a comfortable stalking position combined with the highly positive jockey switch to J. Hernandez the B. Baffert trained colt is likely to produce a significant forward move. Cathal (IRE) had a decent recent sprint prep in his first start since arriving from Ireland and today stretches out to a distance that probably suits him better. He’s another that appears primed for a career top effort.

RACE 2: Post: 1:30 PT Grade: B-
Main Ticket: Zemba Warrior; 1-Tembo
Backups/savers: 5-Mastermind.

Forecast: Three of the five entrants in this $12,500 claiming main track miler exit the same race won by Mastermind earlier this month in which the L. Barocio-trained gelding was handed an easy front running trip and rolled all the way to the wire. Similar tactics likely will be employed again but this time he’ll probably be pressured or be stalked from the start by Tembo, the beaten favorite in the aforementioned race when he was taken back off the lead and forced to race wide throughout. The S. Knapp-trained son of Carpe Diem lands the favorable rail post position and is likely to receive a much more aggressive ride. Meanwhile, Zimba Warrior takes a significant class drop to his lowest level ever and should thoroughly enjoy the softer assignment. Anything close to his best effort will be more than good enough to return him to winning form.

Backups/Savers: none.

RACE 3: Post: 2:00 PT Grade: B
Main Ticket: 1-Champagne Camie; 2-Topolina.
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: Topolina is clearly the quickest in the field and will take her $25,000 claiming foes on the front end for as far as she can. However, she’s always been suspect close home, having blown leads inside the furlong pole seven times in her most recent 10 starts. She’s also winless in nine starts over the local turf course, which is not particularly kind to speed types in sprints. Champagne Camie , away since August of 2022, makes her comeback in a realistic spot for a barn that has solid stats with layoff runners. The V. Cerin-trained mare projects to draft into an ideal stalking position and then have every chance to wear down the likely pacesetter close home. Her recent work tab is light, but the presence of J. Hernandez tips the scales in her favor.

RACE 4: Post: 2:29 PT Grade: B-
Main Ticket: Elector; 4-Soul of Midnight.
Backups/Savers: none.

Forecast: Elector returns to his claim level and winning distance for high percentage trainer M. Glatt, who isn’t giving up yet on this once promising son of Constitution even though it would make just as much sense to drop him to the bottom and simply move on. On pure numbers the 6-year-old gelding, while arguably not one to trust, fits with this $20,000 group and with the switch to one of the stable’s “go-to” jockeys (K. Frey) there are enough positive factors in his past performance chart to try him at 4-1 on the morning line. Soul of Midnight, a two-time winner over the local main track and solid in the speed figure department, should be on or near the lead most of the way, though this extended sprint distance might be stretching his limit. In a race that we’ll not get too involved with, both should be included in rolling exotic play.

Backups/Savers: none.

RACE 5: Post: 2:59 PT Grade: B-
Main Ticket: One Time Mark; 5-Nuclear; 8-Siennois (IRE)
Backups/savers: 3-Sir Maximus; 9-Bartholdy.

Forecast: One Time Mark lands the favorable rail and is guaranteed an ideal ground-saving trip either in a pace setting or pace-pressing role in his third start off a layoff. His chances will be determined by the amount of early pressure he receives, which might be heavy or not much at all, depending how many of the others are sent from the bell. Nuclear could be one of those that are gunned to the lead, and if he can clear early he might get brave. Originally purchased at auction for $1.55 million, the four year old son of Justify returns to grass, which might be his preferred surface, and with just three prior starts he still has plenty of room for improvement. There’s always the option of taking back early and producing one late kick, a tactic that might be worth experimenting with. Siennois (IRE) is a bit too one paced for our liking but if a speed meltdown occurs he should be heard from late.

RACE 6: Post: 3:31 PT Grade: X
Main Ticket: 2-Happy Jack 1-Dr. Venkman
Backups/savers: 4-Big City Lights.

Forecast: We’ll give a very slight edge in this year’s renewal of the Triple Bend S.-G2 to the in-form Happy Jack, who ran lights out when earning a career top speed figure in his outstanding runner-up performance behind The Chosen Vron in the Kona Gold S. in late April. The veteran son of Oxbow shows a healthy series of workouts in the interim and should fire a similar shot today. Dr. Venkman launches a comeback, and this lightly raced son of Ghostzapper has trained like he’s fit and ready for his first outing since last fall, when he narrowly missed in the listed Perryville S. at Keeneland. He’s had issues (just three starts) but he’s plenty fast on figures and projects to be prominent – possibly on the lead from his rail draw – if totally cranked up. It’s a four runner affair that might be best left alone when you also factor in the presence of Big City Lights, who has never lost in five starts in races that didn’t have The Chosen Vron in it.

RACE 7: Post: 4:03 PT Grade: B+
Main Ticket: Shiloh’s Mistress; 5-Circle of Trust
Backups/savers: 4-Sea Dancer.

Forecast: Shiloh’s Mistress and Circle of Trust finished two-three in the much stronger Providencia S.-G3 over this course and distance in April and it wouldn’t be surprising if they did so again in either order in this year’s renewal of the Honeymoon S.-G3. Both are improving with experience and show rising speed figures and a healthy work pattern in the interim, so they’re tough to separate, but ‘Mistress may be a tad more versatile with a bit better tactical speed, so we’ll give her a slight edge on top.

RACE 8: Post: 4:45 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket: 3-Big Baby; 9-Cody Boy
Backups/savers: 10-Last Call Paul.

Forecast: Big Baby has been away since last July – he had been unplaced in three starts in straight maiden company before being sent home – but he’s trained like a better type this time around, so we’re expecting the son of Mr. Big to display considerable improvement in his first start facing maiden $50,000 foes. The M. Glatt-barn has unworldly stats with comebackers (27% with a massive ROI) and with one of the stable’s “go-to” riders A. Fresu taking the call the 5-year-old gelding has the look of an extremely well-meant runner. He’s 4-1 on the morning line and offers a gamble at or near that price. Cody Boy removes blinkers (love that angle) after finishing second in a similar affair last month in a race that produced a career top number. If he can turn in two alike the son of Grazen will be the one our top pick will have to worry about the most.

RACE 9: Post: 5:08 PT Grade: B
Main ticket: 6-Rugelach; 2-Big Summer; 8-Mahina.
Backups/savers: 5-Pastiche; 10-Charm Your World.

Forecast: Rugelach was as flat as a pancake when unplaced at 3/5 sprinting at this level sprinting over this course in early April but after a seven week vacation the daughter of Twirling Candy returns on the stretch out to a distance she probably prefers. She projects as the controlling speed, so if she can shake loose early without being sent hard the R. Ellis-trained filly should be difficult to catch. Big Summer, first or second in 11 of 15 career starts, should draft into a stalking position and then have dead aim from the quarter pole home. Mahina is the most dangerous of the closing types and is a three time winner (from six starts) over the local lawn. She is a “must use” in rolling exotic play.


Jeff Siegel’s Blog: “What You Need to Know for Santa Anita – June 1, 2024

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