“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: C+
Use (in order of preference): 8-Self Isolation; 10-Freedom Lass; 4-Pop Pop’s Dream; 9-Dolly May
Forecast: The opener is a challenging nine-furlong turf affair for first-level allowance fillies and mares that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll go four-deep, but feel free to expand your coverage if you deem it necessary. Self Isolation (TOC=2-1; ML=4-1) took seven races to figure things out but after a pair of gate-to-wire wins at a mile over the local lawn the daughter of Square Eddie steps into open company while stretching out in distance. Clearly most effective as the controlling speed, the D. O’Neill-trained Cal-bred shows a recent bullet half mile workout at San Luis Rey Downs (4f, :47.3h) to remain on edge and should be tough to catch once again if not pressured early. However, there are a couple of other speed types in the field that may make her work a bit harder than she’s been used to, so we’ll put her on top but not with a great degree of confidence. Freedom Lass (TOC=4-1; ML=4-1) projects to inherit a pace-stalking trip outside and will have dead aim and every chance from the quarter pole home. Pop Pop’s Dream (TOC=6-1; ML=7/2) may be the most dangerous of the closing types. Her best chance depends on a favorable race shape; the faster the better. Dolly May (TOC=12-1; ML=12-1) tackles older foes for the first time in her third start off a layoff, and while her recent form appears lackluster she is another that could be heard from late if a faster-than-average early pace materializes.
RACE 2: Post: 1:30 PT Grade: B-
Use (in order of preference): 2-E Z Pharis; 1-Cocktail Princess
Forecast: Four of the six entrants in this maiden juvenile sprint for fillies were bred by T. Lovingier, who has retained ownership interest in three, including E Z Pharis, a daughter of American Pharoah which was bid up and then bought back as a yearling for $350,000. Her workouts at San Luis Rey Downs look pretty solid, so we’ll make the one to beat in a modest event. Cocktail Princess, also carrying the Lovingier colors, is a Stay Thirsty filly that worked a solo half mile from the gate (see below) two weeks ago and did enough to indicate some ability. We’re expecting the winner to be one of these two, with preference on top to E Z Pharis.
Cocktail Princess (April 16, Santa Anita, 4f, :47.1hg). Grade: B-
May have gone a tad slower than given in solo gate drill for Periban, splits of :24 flat, :35.2 and :47.3 on our watches, hustled along early and under mild coaxing late, not bad for an unraced juvenile filly. Seems fit and should have a reasonable look first time out if no world beaters show up.
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RACE 3: Post: 1:59 PT Grade: C+
Use (in order of preference): 3-Del Mar Drama; 1-On Purpose; 5-Gallovie
Forecast: We’ll use three of the six entrants in this starter’s allowance ($50,000) grass sprint for fillies and mares but otherwise pass the race. Del Mar Drama (TOC=5/2; ML=5/2) is winless in five starts over the local lawn but she owns a distinct edge on speed figures and projects to enjoy a comfortable pace-stalking trip in a race that projects to have moderate splits, at best. She’s hit the board in her last six starts and seems likely to fire another good shot in an open fray. On Purpose (TOC=2-1; ML=4-1) is another with speed figures that put her squarely in the hunt. From the rail, she’s assured a ground-saving, stalking trip and have dead aim from the top of the lane to the wire. Gallovie (TOC=4-1; ML=2-1) has the route-to-sprint angle on her resume and healthy series of workouts at San Luis Rey Downs to have her primed for a major effort. If she can make the lead without undue pressure, the English-bred mare could get brave and take the field a long way.
RACE 4: Post: 2:29 PT Grade: X
Use (in order of preference: 3-Brickyard Ride; 5-Miles Ahead
Forecast: Here’s another short field affair that offers little wagering value, so we’ll double the race using the two main contenders but otherwise pass. Brickyard Ride (TOC=7/5; ML=6/5) has won eight of 11 career outings over the Santa Anita main track but was a weak runner-up (beaten almost 10 lengths) in last year’s renewal of the Kona Gold S.-G3. Perfect in three starts this year, the veteran son of Clubhouse Ride is at least as good if not better this time around, and in a race in which he’ll easily be the controlling speed the veteran sprinter in C. Lewis’s barn should be more than capable of continuing his winning ways. Miles Ahead (TOC=4/5; ML=8/5) is a formidable invader from Florida and will enjoy a perfect pace-stalking trip outside. Fresh from a career top victory in the Gulfstream Park Sprint Stakes in mid-February over the high class Drain the Clock, the son of Competitive Edge will be there to pick up the pieces should ‘Ride fail to punch it in late.
Brickyard Ride (April 21, Santa Anita, 4fm :48.1h). Grade: B+
Breezing every step of the way, smooth as silk, splits of :12 flat, :23.4, and :48.1. Nice and relaxed while maintaining his edge.
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RACE 5: Post: 2:59 PT Grade: B+
Single: 5-Fast Buck
Forecast: If Fast Buck (TOC=4-1; ML=7/2) runs as well today as he did when beating state-bred maidens over this turf course last month, he’ll almost assuredly repeat on the raise. Despite a very slow start, the son of Gallant Son gained a clear lead before the opening quarter while displaying intense speed and then kept on going to win with a figure that far exceeds par for this level. The Los Alamitos-based gelding shows a healthy work tab since raced (including a bullet half mile move in :59h), so we’ll make him a strong win play and logical rolling exotic single.
RACE 6: Post: 3:33 PT Grade: X
Single: 3-Express Train
Forecast: Express Train (TOC=1/5; ML=4/5) simply lays over this year’s Californian S.-G2 field using any kind of metric available. The J. Shirreffs-trained son of Union Rags seeks his fourth straight win while continuing to impress in the a.m., and after winning the Big ‘Cap-G1 in early March with a career top number he shouldn’t have any difficulty with today’s four other rivals. He’s a rolling exotic single in a race that offers no wagering value.
RACE 7: Post: 4:03 PT Grade: B-
Use (in order of preference): 2-If Id Told You; 10-Anitanewmercedes; 6-Discretionary Day
Forecast: There are three main players in this state-bred, first-level allowance turf miler and they’re tough to separate. If Id Told You (TOC=5/2; ML=5/2) finished a strong runner-up in a similar affair in late March and did so despite lacking room in the stretch that may have cost him the race. Logic says he can win today with a better trip. Anitanewmercedes (TOC=3-1; ML=6-1) made the running in that same race and held on well to be a close third, beaten just over a length. He knows how to win races (eight of 24) and can be tough on the front end or from a stalking position, so the Bay Area-based gelding should be the one to fear most. Discretionary Day (TOC=6-1; ML=6-1), freshened since late February, does his best on the front end and likely will employ gate-to-wire tactics. He was third at this level with a career-top speed figure last time out and will be right there if he can produce another forward move.
RACE 8: Post: 4:34 PT Grade: B+
Use (in order of preference): 8-Midnight Memories; 5-Family Affair
Forecast: Midnight Memories has done some excellent work preparing for her racing debut, first when under B. Baffert’s supervision and most recently for trainer S. McCarthy. The daughter of Mastery drew the favorable outside post in this extended sprint for maiden fillies and mares and should draft into a cozy stalking position and then have her chance to seal the deal when the pressure is turned on. Family Affair flashed good speed before weakening late when third in a fast, highly-rated event earlier this month, and with another forward move today the P. Eurton-trained daughter of Hard Spun could take some catching. However, at this extended sprint trip, she may be hard pressed to hold off our top pick. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Midnight Memories.
Midnight Memories (April 16, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:00.2hg). Grade: B
Even but under a nice hold and going the slightly better outside Valiancy (same time) for S. McCarthy, splits of :23.4 :35.1, :47.2 and 1:00.1, plenty left late. Looks like a nice sort and is plenty fit, workmate can run some, too.
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RACE 9: Post: 5:04 PT Grade: B+
Use (in order of preference): 1-Forgiving Spirit; 12-Disko Tribute
Forecast: Forgiving Spirit finished far back as the favorite in his debut last summer at Del Mar and was stopped on. He returns protected in straight maiden company after a series of sharp workouts that clearly indicates he’s much better than his only previous outing indicates. A fast recent gate work (see below) was very impressive, so from the rail in this maiden turf sprint as a first-time Lasix user the son of Shaman Ghost seems like a prime candidate to take control early and never look back. Disko Tribute, a willing third in his debut over this course and distance in February, makes his first start since for new trainer D. Blacker following a $62,500 claim and seems likely to produce a forward move, his extreme outside draw notwithstanding. The recent work tab is steady and healthy, and we’re expecting the son of Tom’s Tribute to making some noise in the final furlong. Both should be included in rolling exotic play, with the main punch going to Forgiving Spirit.
Forgiving Spirit (April 13, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:00.1hg). Grade: B+
Best in a gate drill with Superman Shaq (same time) and Classic California (5f, 1:03hg) while looking very sharp throughout, splits of :23.4, :35.2, :47.2 and 1:00.1, something left late, mild pressure in the final stages. Finished far back in his only start but you can toss that race out. Plenty of speed and should fire a big shot off the bench.
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RACE 10: Post: 5:36 PT Grade: B
Use (In order of preference): 3-Blue Stripe 9-Miss Bigly
Forecast: Miss Bigly (TOC=4/5; ML=5/2) was seven lengths clear of the rest when a respectable runner-up to subsequently retired As Time Goes By in the Beholder Mile-G1 in early March and without that filly to worry about today the veteran daughter of Gemologist is the one to beat in this year’s renewal of the Santa Margarita S.-G2 for fillies and mares. Successful in eight of 24 career starts, the P. D’Amato-trained ex-claimer always has been genuine and consistent and employs an ideal pace-stalking style that usually produces a clean, trouble-free trip. A bullet six furlong workout (1:12h) six days ago tells us she’s right on edge. Blue Stripe (TOC=10-1; ML=6-1) was out of her element when far back in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff-G1 in her U.S. debut last fall but her South American form, which includes a Group-1 win last year, was more than decent. Freshened and working extremely well, the M. Polanco-trained daughter of Equal Stripes could pose a serious challenge from the head of the lane to the wire if given the patient ride she requires. At 6-1 on the morning line, she offers better wagering value than ‘Bigly, so while we’ll include both in our rolling exotics, the main push goes to Blue Stripe.
Blue Stripe (April 23, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:00.4h). Grade: B
Easy early, strong late, mild urging through the lane, splits of :36.4 and 1:01.1, a couple of ticks slower than given but sharp nonetheless. Clearly better than her poor BC Distaff-G1 effort. Better acclimated now.
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RACE 11: Post: 6:09 PT Grade: B
Use (In order of preference): 4-Dicey Mo Chara; 7-Beyond Brilliant; 6-Masteroffoxhounds
Forecast: Dicey Mo Chara (TOC=6-1; ML=4-1) should have sufficient pace to set things up for his late kick in a race in which the two other main contenders may be vulnerable. The English-bred gelding earned a career top number when narrowly missing in the 12-furlong San Luis Rey S.-G3 last month and should be just as effective in this mile and one-quarter grass affair. Relatively lightly-raced (10 starts) and improving as he gets acclimated, the L. Powell-trained son of Adaay will get the patient ride he needs from D. Van Dyke and is worth a gamble in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics. For protection, you may want to include Beyond Brilliant (TOC=7/5; ML=9/5) and Masteroffoxhounds (TOC=7/2; ML=2-1) somewhere on your ticket as well. The former is suspect at this distance and is winless in four starts over the local lawn, while the latter has gone more than a year without winning though his most recent runner-up outing vs. allowance foes may indicate that he’s rounding back to good form. Both are capable of winning at this level with their best efforts.
RACE 12: Post: 6:38 PT Grade: B+
Forecast: The finale is a Hillside Turf Course sprint for first-level allowance older horses that looks made to order for Motorious (TOC=4-1; ML=3-1). The P. D’Amato-trained gelding was extremely well-meant in his U.S. debut last month but had to settle for second after a slow start and a wide trip behind the tough-as-nails Cotopaxi in better-than-par six furlong affair over the flat course. Though winless in six starts on grass, the English-bred gelding performed well overseas on the lawn and has the mid-pack, late-running style that usually works so well over this unique layout. Three nice training track breezes since raced should have him set to produce a significant forward move, so with good racing luck he should be along on plenty of time as a win play and rolling exotic single.
Motorious (April 24, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:01.3h TT). Grade: B+
Broke off a couple of lengths in front of Amy C (5f, 1:01.2h TT) and held that one at bay through the lane while mostly on his own, full of run to the finish with splits of :12.1 and :36 flat for the final three furlongs. Had a promising local debut recently and should step forward big time with that race behind him.
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