“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): 5-Santos to Wilson; 2-Cherubic Factor
Forecast: Santos to Wilson (TOC=5/2; ML=5/2) catches a field without much early zip and should find himself on or very near soft early fractions in this starter optional claiming six furlong turf sprint for older horses. A much improved runner-up in a similar event behind next-out winner Newpark that produced a career top speed figure last time out, the E. Kruljac-trained gelding blew out in a bullet :47 4/5 (fastest of 12) training track drill last week to indicate another forward move is likely. First or second in three of four career starts over the local lawn, the son of Gemologist rates top billing at 5/2 on the morning line. Also worth including in rolling exotic play is Cherubic Factor (TOC=2-1; ML=2-1), a major player on numbers and sporting the always-popular route-to-sprint angle. He’ll have to rally from mid-pack (or even farther back) but with clear sailing through the lane he’ll have his chance to tag the speed.
Santos to Wilson (May 7, Santa Anita, 4f, :47.1h TT). Grade: B+
Under a pull throughout while coming the final three furlongs in :11.3 and :35 flat, quite sharp for E. Kruljac. Looks ready to produce another forward move.
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RACE 2: Post: 1:30 PT Grade: B-
Use (in order of preference): 4-Absolutely Zero; 2-Funkhouser
Forecast: The two D. O’Neill entrants in this abbreviated sprint for juveniles have trained well enough to be live and well-meant first crack out of the box, with the edge on top going to Absolutely Zero. The daughter of Nyquist impressed in a gate drill (see below) five days ago to tip her hand, while stable mate Funkhouser showed some talent at the OBS March Sale, where she breezed a furlong in 10 1/5 seconds and then brought $40,000 through the ring. She’s ceretainly bred to be an early-win type, being by Maclean’s Music. Both should be included in rolling exotic play, with the main punch going to Absolutely Zero.
Absolutely Zero (May 16, Santa Anita, 4f, :48hg). Grade: B
In company outside Major Nyquist (4f, :48.1hg) and was going the easier of the two throughout, winding up a length clear when eased up after a half mile with splits of :23.4, :35.3 and :47.4 on our watches, never really asked at any stage, rather nice while preparing for debut. Strong filly with substance looks to have some talent and appears plenty fit based on this drill.
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RACE 3: Post: 2:03 PT Grade: C+
Use (in order of preference): 1-Inch; 2-Like the Wind
Forecast: Freshened since February and remaining well above his claim level, Inch set for a winning effort. In the frame in his last pair, most recently with a career top speed figure when missing by a neck in a similar restricted (nw-2) $25,000 affair over the local lawn, the J. Mullins-trained gelding is guaranteed a ground-saving trip. If given the patient ride he requires he’ll have every chance to wear down the leaders close home. Like the Wind shows up in a seller for the first time and based on the number he earned when beating maidens in his debut over this course and distance a year ago February he’ll have a good look with these. Both should be included in rolling exotic play, with preference on top to Inch.
RACE 4: Post: 2:38 PT Grade: C+
Use (in order of preference: 1-Pioneering Papa; 5-Don’t Talk
Forecast: Morning line favorite (4/5) Pioneering Papa, a respectable but distant third behind Taiba in his debut but with speed figures that have gone the wrong way in two subsequent starts, shows up in an expensive claimer today while facing just four rivals, so he really shouldn’t miss this opportunity. The son of Classic Empire has managed to the hit the board in all three starts without posing a real threat, so this drop to the inflated $100,000 level is warranted. Don’t Talk, a filly tackling the boys, appears to have good early zip (see below), though we’re not sure how much stick she has. Toss her in somewhere on your ticket, at least as a back-up or a saver. Tread lightly here.
Don’t Talk (May 8, Santa Anita, 4f, :49.1hg). Grade: B
Under a strong hold every step of the way while even but best inside Spycatcher (same time), able to go considerably quicker if turned loose. Doubt she’s any world beater but she should be quick enough to be a threat in a proper spot for M. Glatt, whose first-timers often run better than the work.
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RACE 5: Post: 3:22 PT Grade: B
Use (in order of preference): 1-Johnny Podres; 5-Explosive
Forecast: Johnny Podres (TOC=6/5; ML=5/2) is unproven around two turns, but after a series of sharp recent turf sprint efforts the son of Grazen should have every opportunity to stretch out and win, especially from a favorable inside draw. Solid on speed figures and never off the board in six starts over the local lawn, the S. Miyadi-trained gelding is just 2-for-20 in his career and perhaps isn’t one to trust, but the way this race sets up he should have no excuses. For whatever reason, the analytics love him. Explosive (TOC=9/5; ML=9/5 also has strong speed figures for this starter’s allowance event and is the likely choice and one to beat. Second over this course and distance at this level earlier in the meeting, the son of Liam’s Map should find himself in a good stalking position or perhaps even on the front end if no other speed materializes. In a five-runner event, we’ll try to get by using just these two in rolling exotic play.
RACE 6: Post: 4:30 PT Grade: X
Forecast: Zahra (TOC=3/5; ML=4/5) has little to beat in this bottom-rung $10,000 claiming main track miler for fillies and mares and is listed at 4/5 on the morning line. She clearly offers no value at that price, but having won over this track and distance at this level two runs back she’s the logical top pick in a race in which no viable alternative exists. You can use here as a no-value rolling exotic single or better yet just pass the race.
RACE 7: Post: 5:00 PT Grade: B+
Use (in order of preference): 6-Counterparty Risk
Forecast: Away since September but training in sparkling fashion for new conditioner P. D’Amato, the graded stakes winner Counterparty Risk makes her seasonal debut in this second level allowance turf miler for fillies and mares and really should outclass this field. Beaten a head in the listed Lady Shamrock S. in her only previous outing over this course and distance in December of 2020, the Irish-bred mare recently impressed in a team work on the training track with Going Global (see below) to indicate she is ready to resume where she left off last summer when trained in the East by C. Brown. There should be sufficient pace to compliment her late running style, so at 8/5 on the morning line the daughter of Australia seems like a logical short-priced rolling exotic single.
Counterparty Risk (May 9, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:02.2h TT). Grade: B+
Broke off several lengths in front of high-class stable mate Going Global (5f, 1:012h TT) and held that one safe through the lane to finish a neck the best at the wire while under a tight hold and with plenty left, then galloped full of run in a far more impressive drill that the final time would indicate, last three furlongs in :12.2 and :36 flat. Been away but looks spot on.
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RACE 8: Post: 5:30 PT Grade: C
Use (in order of preference): 3-Thrive; 1-Arthur Spooner
Forecast: Thrive (TOC=8/5; ML=2-1) has never been one to count on, having been beaten as the favorite in the first four races of his career. He couldn’t help but win at 1/5 in a maiden $20,000 event in mid-March but was a voided claim in that race, and then, when wheeled back in 15 days at odds of 4-1, was beaten nearly 18 lengths in his most recent outing when facing starter’s allowance foes. This drop to the restricted (nw-2) $16,000 level is warranted, and a repeat of his maiden win would be more than good enough, but at 2-1 on the morning line there’s little value to be found. Arthur Spooner (TOC=9/5; ML=3-1) broke his maiden in career start number 11 when all out to win a slow heat vs. inflated maiden $50,000 foes over this track and distance in mid-April. This sharp drop in class is proper and realistic, and on numbers he’s a fit and the one to fear most. In a race we have no plans on playing, these are the two that should be included in rolling exotic play, but you may feel the need to spread deeper, or even buy the race.
RACE 9: Post: 6:00 PT Grade: X
Single: 4-Leggs Galore
Forecast: Leggs Galore (TOC=2/5; ML=8/5) won the Buena Vista S.-G2 in early March over a mile on grass but she is equally effective if not more so sprinting and therefore projects as a very short price to handle her five rivals in this year’s edition of the Mizdirecton S. A winner over this Hillside Course in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf two races back, the P. D’Amato-trained mare has only one way to go – on the lead every step of the way – and based on the projected pace flow she should be far too quick for these as a logical rolling exotic single.
RACE 10: Post: 6:30 PT Grade: B-
Use (in order of preference: 8-Overdue ; 7-Coast of Roan; 8-Overdue; 1-Guildsman
Forecast: This grass grab bag for $50,000 older claimers offers a good gambling opportunity with Overdue, listed at 6-1 on the morning line. Burned up pressing a blazing pace in a much tougher spot down the Hillside Course in his comeback in March, the P. D’Amato-trained gelding stretches out today while certain to see much softer early splits. The son of Overanalyze continues to impress in his morning trials and projects to draft into an ideal pace pressing/forcing journey and then have his chance when the pressure is turned on. Coast is Roan is another class dropper making his second start off a layoff, and like our top pick he is a major player and arguably the one to beat. A four-time winner over the Santa Anita grass course, the D. O’Neill-trained gelding does his best work when allowed to make the last run, and if a decent pace materializes he should be heard from late. Guildsman stretches out for the first time and may find himself on the lead from his comfortable three-hole post. The French-bred gelding has never been too genuine but at this level he should be competitive at 8-1 on the morning line.
Overdue (May 1, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:01.1h TT). Grade: B+
In blinkers, solo training track breeze for P. D’Amato, under restraint throughout and finishing with a ton left with sharp, easy strides, final three furlongs in :11.4 and :35.3. Had a run down the Hillside Course to shake the rust off in late March and should benefit greatly from the outing. Dangerous on the stretch-out combined with a class drop.
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