Jeff Siegel’s What You Need to Know – Santa Anita – 2-5-23
February 5, 2023
“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, and Workout Commentary identify those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.
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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: 12:30 PT Grade: X
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 6-Conquistar; 1-Clearly Unhinged
Forecast: Conquistar has done some good work in the a.m. for trainer Bob Baffert (27% with debut runners) and at 6/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower she will be a short-priced rolling exotic single on many tickets. The daughter of Quality Road lands the cozy outside draw in this six furlong maiden sprint for sophomore fillies, providing her the option of popping and going or stalking and pouncing. But this is not a one filly race. Fellow first timer Clearly Unhinged has displayed plenty of talent in her own right, and if she breaks cleanly from the rail she is likely to provide serious competition for the Baffert filly. The Michael McCarthy-trained daughter of Into Mischief is a “must use” in rolling exotic play.
RACE 2: Post: 12:59 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 6-Tom and Jazzy
Backups/savers: 4-Thirsty Pappy
Forecast: Tom and Jazzy was visually quite pleasing in victory over this course and distance when breaking his maiden vs. state-bred foes during the fall meeting. Based on his three other starts (all poor performances on dirt), the son of the good grass runner Tom and Jazzy should stick to turf for the remainder of his career, and today’s return to the sod should allow him to regain his best form. With the addition of Lasix and the switch to Frankie, the George Papaprodromou-trained gelding looks very much like the one to beat. Thirsty Pappy also sports a prior win over the Santa Anita grass course and earned a competitive speed figure in doing so. He, too, looks considerably more effective on grass than dirt and is the one our top pick has to fear most.
RACE 3: Post: 1:32 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 4-Lookin for Revenge
Forecast: Lookin for Revenge has finished first or second in 11 of 23 career starts, so while he competes in the lower claiming ranks the Steve Knapp-trained gelding can be counted on for an honest effort when conditions suit. In a race that lacks speed, the son of I Want Revenge may be capable of inheriting the role as the controlling speed, especially if his connections commit to that strategy. With aggressive speed jockey Edwin Maldonado aboard, we’re expecting a gate-to-wire performance in a race in which the closers don’t really offer much of a late punch. At 5/2 on the morning line, he’s a win play and rolling exotic single.
RACE 4: Post: 2:04 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket (in order of preference): 7-Timely Look; 3-Palacsinta; 1-Loyal to a Fault
Forecast: This state-bred turf sprint for sophomore fillies came up unusually weak. Timely Luck was just three lengths off a pretty quick opening quarter and half in her debut before faltering but we suspect that with the switch in surface in this much easier affair the daughter of Prospect Park will carry her speed a whole lot farther. The barn has good stats with the second time starter angle, so from a cozy outside post the Sean McCarthy-trained filly offers a reasonable gamble in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics. Palascinta has trained okay for her debut and is bred for grass, so let’s consider her a major player as well. She certainly doesn’t have to be any kind of world beater to be a fit with this bunch. Loyal to a Fault has numbers that fit but we hardly think she offers any real value at or near her morning line of 6/5. You can throw her in for protection, but if she beats you at a short price, who cares?
RACE 5: Post: 2:35 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 4-Miss Fia; 3-Violent Runner
Forecast: This straight $40,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares appears to have two main contenders, and both should be included in rolling exotic play. Miss Fia has never finished off the board in eight career starts over the Santa Anita main track, most recently when a solid runner-up in a $32,000 seller. She removes blinkers (like that angle) and has a good pace stalking style that should work very well at this extended seven furlong trip. The veteran daughter of Maclean’s Music can offer some value at or near her morning line of 4-1. Violent Runner was overmatched in the La Flores Stakes-G3 in late December but certainly isn’t today while dropping into a seller for the first time. A two-time winner over the local main track, the lightly raced daughter of Violence can return to good form effort and is strictly the one to beat.
RACE 6: Post: 3:06 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket (in order of preference): 9-The Grey Wizard; 10-Avenue; 7-Dicey Mo Chara
Backups/savers: 2-Masteroffoxhounds; 4-Prince Abama
Forecast: This year’s renewal of the San Marcos Stakes-G3 truly is a grass grab bag, which is to say that anybody can win. The Grey Wizard got a confidence boosting victory when facing first level allowance foes over this course and distance last month, accelerating with purpose when set down for the drive to draw clear with an impressive display of late speed. Two runs back, the son of Caravaggio finished an excellent second in the Hollywood Turf Cup-G2, so with a repeat of either one of his last two outings the Graham Motion-trained gelding should be right in the thick of things. With Johnny V. staying aboard and at 5-1 on the morning line, he’s worth a play. Avenue is a big price (12-1) on the morning line so despite his disadvantageous extreme outside post the staying son of Quality Road is well worth using on your ticket. Dicey Mo Chara just won the San Gabriel Stakes-G2 over nine furlongs on the local lawn, and today’s extra distance shouldn’t hurt at all. It’ll be hard to replicate the perfect ground-saving trip he enjoyed in that victory, but we’ll toss him in, nonetheless. These are the three we’ll be using on our main ticket while front running Masteroffoxhounds and deep closing Prince Abama are relegated to backups.
RACE 7: Post: 3:38 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): Straight No Chaser; 3-Howbeit
Backups/savers: 5-Radical Right
Forecast: Straight No Chaser may have found seven furlongs out his range, and early pressure served up by Taiba and Forbidden Kingdom didn’t help either in the Malibu Stakes-G1 in late December but at this shortened trip when facing easier foes in today’s Palos Verdes Stakes-G3 the son of Speightster may be able to bounce back with a winning effort. He’s the quickest in the field, so the rail post (assuming he breaks cleanly) shouldn’t be an issue. Howbeit projects to enjoy a coveted second flight, stalking trip and then have his chance when the pressure is turned on at the head of the lane. First or second in three of four starts over the Santa Anita main track, the Mark Glatt-trained son of Secret Circle is a strong contender as the 2-1 morning line favorite. Maryland invader Radical Right is a tad light in the speed figure department but represents the most dangerous of the late runners. If there’s a pace meltdown, he’s the one likely to benefit the most.
RACE 8: Post: 4:10 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket (in order of preference): 4-Virat; 3-Augusta Melody
Backups/savers: 11-Gregory’s Pride
Forecast: We’ll go three-deep in this downhill turf dash for first level allowance horses but not with a great deal of confidence. It’s a messy affair in which nothing would surprise, so feel free to spread deeper if you feel the need. Lightly raced Virat (first or second in four of six career starts) may have more room for improvement than any of the others so we’ll put him tentatively on top. The Peter Miller-trained gelding has run well over the Santa Anita flat course, and if he can do the same down the hill he’ll be in the thick of it. Augusta Melody may be the quickest in the field and will appreciate the return to grass. He’s always preferred to run second or third rather than win but on his best day he’s right there with these. Gregory’s Pride is another that has thrived on secondary awards – he has one career win and nine placings from 13 starts – but is a threat from off the pace and with good racing luck should be heard from in the closing stages.
RACE 9: Post: 4:30 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket (in order of preference): 2-Flashiest; 3-Exaulted
Backups/savers: 1-Lincoln Hawk
Forecast: Flashiest was winless in eight starts last year but showed a return to form when rallying strongly into the teeth of modest fractions to finish an excellent second at 21-1 in the San Gabriel Stakes-G2 in late December. He shortens up a furlong to flat mile today – he’s three for five in his career at this trip – so with a repeat of his last race the Leonard Powell-trained gelding may be able to find his way to the winner’s circle. The switch to Frankie certainly won’t hurt. Exaulted looked sharp beating a lesser field last month with a strong speed figure, and if he can turn in two alike he can be tough right back. The son of Twirling Candy has good tactical speed and can be effective no matter what the race flow turns out to be. Lincoln Hawk, a two-time winner over the local lawn, was victimized by a lack of pace when unplaced at 6/5 in a similar nine furlong affair last time out. He should get quicker early fractions to work with at this distance so we’re willing to give him another look.