Jeff Siegel’s Blog: “What You Need to Know” for Santa Anita – Monday, May 27, 2024

Jeff Siegel’s Santa Anita “What You Need to Know
Monday, May 27, 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: 2-Uffda; 6-Baltic Fire.
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: Uffda launches a comeback for E. Kruljac after displaying some promise last fall over this turf course in her second career start when runner-up to the very quick Thermal despite racing greenly and blowing the stretch turn. She stayed on gamely and probably would have been a short price to graduate in her next start, but instead she was sent home and only now returns with a solid series of workouts at Los Alamitos that should have her fit and ready. With a clean break, the daughter of Jack Milton should be the controlling speed and have every chance to wire the field. The main concern is a turf course that has been quite kind to the closers through most of the year. For protection, we’ll toss in the longshot Baltic Fire, listed at 12-1 on the morning line. She shows the route-to-sprint angle that always catches the eye, and if a threat develops from off the pace, it’s liable to be her.

Backups/Savers: none.

RACE 2: Post: 1:31 PT Grade: B-
Main Ticket: C’Mon Man; 2-Atomic Drop
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: C’Mon Mantakes a realistic class drop for his first start since last summer and if ready the R. Hess, Jr. trained comebacker should be hard to contain. He’s a late-running sprinter for a barn that has solid stats with the layoff angle and gets the stable’s “go-to” rider, K. Desormeaux. In a small field with enough speed signed on to set things up, we’ll put him on top. Atomic Drop shows the popular route-to-spring angle and has won over this track in the past. If our top pick comes up short, he’ll be the next man up.

Backups/Savers: none.

RACE 3: Post: 2:00 PT Grade: C+
Main Ticket: Thorne House; 7-Tigerhon (FR)
Backups/savers: 6-Seismic Spirit; 8-Forgiving Spirit.

Forecast: Thorn House, away for almost a year, has been ready to run for a while but was a late scratch March 23 and again April 20, so he must have issues. However, he’s protected, so the barn must not be too concerned. First or second in six of seven career starts, the lightly raced 5-year-old gelding has been no worse than second in three of four outings over the local grass track and in a race that projects to have a soft opening quarter, the son of Clubhouse Ride projects to inherit the role as the controlling speed. Tigerhon (FR) missed by a head under these conditions last month while earning a career top speed figure and based on his improving form the M. Glatt-trained import is strictly the one to beat. He’ll likely settle in the second flight and then take hold when set down entering the lane.

RACE 4: Post: 2:30 PT Grade: B+
Main Ticket: 7-Ultimate Gamble
Backups/Savers: 1-Smart Mo.

Forecast: It’s still not too late for Ultimate Gamble to develop into a good colt, but if he’s going to be one this is the type of race he’s supposed to win. Purchased for $1.75 million in the 2022 OBS 2-year old April, he has displayed some real promise in just four career outings and had a right to be a short horse when fourth (beaten less than two lengths) in a similar affair last month following a year layoff. However, with that effort behind him, the M. Glatt-trained four year old will have no excuses today. He’s 2-1 on the morning line and is play at or near that price.

RACE 5: Post: 3:00 PT Grade: B+
Main Ticket: Justifymydreams; 6-Automax
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: Justifymydreams (NZ) makes her racing debut at age 4, but this New Zealand-bred daughter of Justify was bred on Southern Hemisphere time (she was foaled in October), so she still has some physical development ahead of her. Her main track drills have been sharp and impressive with plenty of early speed on display, so in a field that appears to lack zip she could be on or near the lead throughout, assuming that she breaks with her company. The barn hits at 25% with debut runners and this filly has been given a solid foundation to be fit and ready, so at 4-1 on the morning line she offers a gamble. Automax, now in the red hot R. Baltas barn following a layoff of nine months, has recorded some smart drills at San Luis Rey Downs, and could easily be a better type this time around. She’s certainly not a quick type, but at this extended sprint trip the daughter of Caravaggio may be dangerous from the quarter pole home.

RACE 6: Post: 3:30 PT Grade: C+
Main Ticket: 7-Crypto Craze; 8-The Big Cheeseola.
Backups/savers: 10-Pat’s Paddock Pick; 4-Carol’s Comic.

Forecast: Crypto Craze failed at 4/5 when a fading third in a recent $32,000 claimer so trainer M. Glatt, always aggressive with his selling stock, drops this Midnight Storm gelding down to the $16,000 level in search of a purse. Having claimed him for $20,0009 out of his debut before a pair of disappointing runs, Glatt certainly won’t care of he loses him, and probably hopes he does. The Big Cheeseboro, first off the claim for the low profile K. Craigmyle barn (good stats with this angle), returns for the same $16,000 price and has hit the board in his last three starts with numbers that fit at this level. He has a good stalking style and should have every chance when the pressure is turned on.

RACE 7: Post: 4:00 PT Grade: B-
Main Ticket: Sir Pistolero; 4-Caribbean King; 1-Pioneer Prince.
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: We’ll spread this starter optional claimer over a mile on turf in a race that looks somewhat chaotic. Sir Pistolero is a Gun Runner gelding with just four starts, so he probably has more room to improve than the others. Third, beaten less than a length is a softer starter allowance race 16 days ago, the P. Miller-trained gelding has good tactical speed in a race that has plenty of early zip, so we’ll assume he’ll settle in the second flight and then have dead aim from the quarter pole home. Numbers wise he’s a tad light, but we’re expecting to see a career top performance today. Caribbean King is in solid form but hung under pressure in his last pair and was to our eye a tad disappointing. He’ll be in the fray throughout and have an opportunity to make amends for failing to deliver the goods as the favorite in those two races. Pioneer Prince gets the rail and F. Prat and on pure numbers is every bit as good if not better than the others in the field. He’s unproven around two turns but from his inside draw is guaranteed an ideal, ground saving trip from somewhere around mid-pack.

RACE 8: Post: 4:30 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket: 2-Eagles Flight
Backups/savers: 8-Santarena; 3-Visceral.

Forecast: Flightline’s half-brother Eagles Flight has been the talk of the town for several weeks and finally makes it to the races after a series of eye-catching drills that indicate extraordinary potential. He’s plenty fit, looks the part, and will take some beating if he runs to his reputation. A small concern is that the J. Sadler barn has below average stats with first time starters, but with foals out of Feathered the stable is 100%.

RACE 9: Post: 5:00 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket: Anisette (GB)
Backups/savers: 7-Linda’s Gift; 2-Ruby Nell

Forecast: Anisette (GB) won the American Oaks-G1 in late December and then was given the winter off as planned. She compiled a series of breezing and visually pleasing main track workouts that indicate she is fit and ready, and as a filly with a history of running huge fresh we’re expecting the see her return as well as she left. At this nine furlong distance, she should be able to turn the tables on Ruby Nell, who outran her in the Autumn Miss S.-G3 last fall, but that race was a mile and was arguably too sharp for our top pick.

RACE 10: Post: 5:30 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket: 3-Judge Miller
Backups/savers: 6-Subsanador (ARG); 5-Mr Fisk.

Forecast: Judge Miller failed at 30 cents on the dollar in the Californian S.-G3 but was robbed of his best weapon (his natural early speed) when he was guzzled into setting creepy-crawler splits and then was unable to rebreak when challenged entering the lane. We’re going to assume that with the addition of blinkers and the switch back to Frankie (who rode him to an 11 length romp in his previous start), the son of Curlin won’t be waiting around during the early stages. The 10 furlong trip should be within his range, so it would not surprise us at all to see a gate-to-wire performance in this year’s renewal of the Hollywood Gold Cup-G2.

RACE 11: Post: 6:00 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket:9-Johannes
Backups/savers: 2-Du Jour; 11-Easter (FR).

Forecast: Johannes returned off an 11-month vacation to easily win the prep for this race last month, the American S.-G3, doing so with a career top speed figure, one that makes him a major player in this year’s edition of the Shoemaker Mile-G1. A perfect four-for-four over the Santa Anita grass course and a spotless two-for-two at this one mile trip, the son of Nyquist likely has further improvement in him and the kind of tactical speed that should keep him free of trouble in a race loaded with front-running types.

Jeff Siegel’s Blog: “What You Need to Know” for Santa Anita – Monday, May 27, 2024

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