“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): 3-Oubabe; 8-Minister Shane; 9-All Four Winds; 5-Johnny Paycheck
Forecast: Speed tends to stick extremely well in these five furlong turf sprints but trying to predict the pace in this state-bred maiden affair for older horses is a challenging task. Several of the main players exit the slowly-run affair won by Rocky Gibraltar last month, including Oubabe, who missed by a head in that race after enjoying a good stalking trip. He’ll get plenty play and is a “must use” in rolling exotic play, but after just failing at 6/5 he may not be one to trust. This distance might be a tad sharp for Minister Shane but he has run well over the course in the past and his recent drills indicate he’s plenty fit for his first outing since last June. All Four Winds and Johnny Paycheck are first-timers from capable outfits that have been training off the grid at Los Alamitos and San Luis Rey Downs, respectably, and neither would have to be world beaters to act with this group. Both have earned workout times that indicate ability. In a race that certainly qualifies as a grass grab bag, rolling exotic players should include as many as their budget allows.
Oubabe (March 11, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:00.2h TT). Grade: B
Was breezing to the top in :23.4 and :35.4, then was asked and ridden through the lane to be doing his best late, up in 1:00.1 on our watches, solid solo training track drill for J. Sadler. Missed by a head in maiden turf dash last month and probably has a bit of improvement in him.
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Minister Shane (March 11, Santa Anita, 4f, :47.1hg). Grade: B
Never really asked much while stride-for-stride inside Coalinga Road (same time) in gate drill for C. Gaines, splits of :24.1, :35.3 and :47.2, solid drill while getting fit for first start since last June. Appears to be coming back in good shape, would like to see him tried over a distance of ground this time around.
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RACE 2: Post: 1:32 PT Grade: B
Use (in order of preference): 5-Ikigai; 6-First Class Dude
Forecast: Maidens entered to be claimed for $150,000 compete in the second race over the abbreviated sprint distance of five and one-half furlongs. Truth be told, this race could be $75,000 seller just as easily and nobody would blink an eye. The logical top pick and 9/5 morning line favorite Ikigai was a beaten favorite last year May in a two-year-old dash won by a decent sort, Bochombo, and makes his first start since for new trainer R. Alvarado after turning in a series of solid drills at San Luis Rey Downs that should have him fit and ready. The stable’s preferred rider, J. Hernandez, takes the call, so in a six-runner affair that came up rather soft let’s put the homebred son of Bayern on top. First Class Dude is another dangerous comebacker – he’s been off for more than a year – and projects to be strong pace factor from his cozy outside draw. Runner-up to Medina Spirit as a two-year-old in a sprint at Los Alamitos, he has faced considerably tougher foes in his four race career, so if he returns as well as he left the J. Bonde-trained son of Dialed In should at the very least outrun his morning line of 6-1. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.
Indulge (March 2, Santa Anita, 6f, 1:15.4h). Grade: C+
Inside Samurai Kura (5f, 1:02h) and was slightly best at the wire before continuing out to seven furlong pole, splits of :24.3, :36.2 and 1:02 flat to the wire and then out in 1:15.3 on our watches, pressure to the end. Just a fair work under the circumstances for R. Mandella, been away almost a year after finishing second in a maiden sprint at Indiana Downs as a 2-yeare-old.
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RACE 3: Post: 2:06 PT Grade: C
Use (in order of preference): 2-Tmorrowisalongtime; 1-The Ginger Queen
Forecast: The two main contenders are drawn inside in this five-runner maiden claiming turf miler for fillies and mares, and both are trained by R. Baltas. Tmorrowisalongtime shows up in a seller for the first time after finishing a non-threatening third to the future stakes performer Excelerina last month, and against this modest group the daughter of Frosted seems to have found a proper spot to earn her diploma. She’s a fit on speed figures, sports a strong, healthy series of works since raced, and should have enough tactical speed to be comfortably in the fray in a race that projects to be slowly run early. However, at 6/5 on the morning line, she offers little wagering value. The Ginger Queen finished second over this course and distance in a similar maiden claimer a month ago and not much more will be needed today. Though lacking in tactical speed, she is assured a ground-saving trip and figures to grind away from the quarter pole home and have every chance. In a race that we have no plans to play, both should be included in the various rolling exotics.
RACE 4: Post: 2:36 PT Grade: C+
Use (in order of preference: 3-Star Sailor; 6-Allaboutthemoney
Forecast: We’ll double the fourth race, a restricted (nw-2) $25,000 middle distance main track claimer that drew six entrants. Star Sailor (TOC=5/2; ML=5/2) was far below form in a tougher starter’s allowance event 15 days ago but against this group the D. O’Neill-trained colt should be able to bounce back. He’s a one-paced grinder in a field with no speed, so we’re hoping the son of Union Rags can secure a pace-stalking position and then have his chance to seal the deal from the quarter pole to the wire. Strictly on speed figures, he’s the one to beat. Allaboutthemoney (TOC=7/5; ML-9/5) makes his second start following a six month layoff and has a right to produce a forward move after encountering self-caused trouble when second as the favorite in an extended sprint at this level two weeks ago. He’s not fast on numbers but gets a break in the weights with the switch to bug boy D. Herrera and goes for the high-percentage V. Cerin barn, so you have to use him somewhere.
RACE 5: Post: 3:08 PT Grade: B
Use (in order of preference): 4-Highly Distorted; 7-Augusta Melody; 5-Johnny Podres
Forecast: Here’s a competitive starter allowance turf sprint with a few possibilities. Highly Distorted (TOC=2-1; ML=4-1) was a bit rusty in his comeback when facing a considerably stronger $40,000 open claiming field over five furlongs earlier this month and didn’t do badly when sixth, beaten four lengths by next-out winner Barristan The Bold. With a forward move in a field that presents a softer pace scenario, the M. Puype-trained gelding should be on or near the lead throughout over a course that he’s been known to like. “Win rider” J. Hernandez stays aboard. Augusta Melody (TOC=3-1; ML=3-1) and Johnny Podres (TOC=5/2; ML=5-1), two-three in a similar event in late February, both should produce a similar type of performance today and with just slight improvement either one could win. We’ll prefer Highly Distorted on top but include all three in our rolling exotics.
RACE 6: Post: 3:38 PT Grade: B+
Use (in order of preference): 1-Set Sail; 5-Mauritius
Forecast: Set Sail had trained like a very good prospect leading up to his sprint debut last month but was disappointing when finishing a distant third (beaten six lengths) while still managing to earn a strong speed figure. He’s returned to work even better since that outing (see below), so we suspect he will step forward in a big way while stretching out to a mile from a favorable inside draw. Simply stated, we’re expecting a gate-to-wire performance. Mauritious also displayed promise when a distant second to stable mate (and future stakes star) Taiba in his debut earlier this month. The son of Twirling Candy should be prominent throughout, perhaps stalking our top pick every step of the way. These are the two we’ll be using in rolling exotic play with the main push reserved for Set Sail.
Set Sail (March 12, Santa Anita, 4f, :47.1h). Grade: A-
Looked terrific in team drill with Devil Moon (same time) and was a bit the best while breezing every step of the way, earning splits from the three furlong pole to the wire in :11.2 and :35 flat before coasting out to the seven furlong pole in :48 flat. Have to think he’s better than his debut race shows and surely seems capable of stepping forward in a big way next time out.
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Bletchley Park (March 21, Santa Anita, 5f, :59.3h). Grade: B
Light coaxing through the lane inside McLaren Vale (same time) to be a tad the best while coming the final half mile in :22.4 and :48 flat. Went off a bit to quickly and slowed up late but move was solid, nonetheless. Finished second as the heavy favorite in a low-rated, modest maiden sprint, probably can improve but we’re not quite just sold yet.
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Mauritius (March 20, Santa Anita, 4f, :48.1h). Grade: B
Very light coaxing through the lane in solo half mile drill for B. Baffert, splits of :23 flat and :48 flat on our watches, appearing to have something left though slowing up a bit through the lane. Ran well in debut in a highly-rated race and should improve with that experience behind him.
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RACE 7: Post: 4:08 PT Grade: C+
Use (in order of preference): 9-Press On; 2-Orth
Forecast: This is a split of the first race, a maiden special weight turf sprint for California-bred older horses. The first-timer Press On has done all of his work at Los Alamitos, so we have no video to lean on, but as a son of Nyquist he should be more than fit following a steady series of drills that includes a recent five furlong gate workout of :59 3/5. Maybe he can run some. Orth displayed good early speed and then managed to hang on and finish third in a similar spot last time out over six furlongs. It was slowly run affair that produced a soft speed figure, but today’s five furlong trip should be more to his liking, so among those with prior form the E. Kruljac-trained gelding looks the most attractive. We’ll try to survive and advance using just these two, but not with any degree of confidence, so if you’d prefer to spread deeper, go right ahead.
Candybox (March 18, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:02.2h TT). Grade: C+
Broke off a couple of lengths behind True Patriot (5f, 1:02.3h TT) and stalked that one to the top of the lane, then was asked and didn’t make up much ground (workmate asked hard), finishing a length back at the wire with splits of :37.1 and 1:02.2 on our watches. Cal-bred son of Danzing Candy has bit of run but isn’t anything special at this stage.
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RACE 8: Post: 4:42 PT Grade: C+
Use (in order of preference): 4-Tracy Di Vicenzo; 8-Pequena Tormenta; 7-Never Sway
Forecast: Nothing would surprise us in this maiden $40,000 claiming sprint for older fillies and mares. Use as many as your budget allows in rolling exotic play. Tracy Di Vicenzo didn’t run badly in her debut, overcoming an awkward break to rally wide and finish with interest when a distant second to next-out winner Marie. With an extra half-furlong to work with today (and, hopefully, with a cleaner start), the daughter of Stay Thirsty should produce enough of a forward move to handle this soft assignment. Pequena Tormenta is another second-timer that is worth consideration in a weak affair. The R. Baltas-trained filly had a non-productive run last summer on turf vs. infinitely strongly straight maiden fillies and returns with a work tab that should have her fit enough for a winning try if good enough. We suspect that from a comfortable outside draw under bug boy D. Herrera, she’ll display more early speed than she did in her debut, so at 3-1 on the morning line she’s a major player. Never Sway isn’t fast on number at least they’re moving in the right direction. Second in her last pair against $30,000 maiden claiming foes, the daughter of Clubhouse Ride should be grinding away and with some help up front could make some noise in the late stages.
Poquena Tormenta (March 2, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:01.4h). Grade: C+
Broke off a length in front inside Candy For Caramel (5f, 1:01.3h) was slightly best at the wire under some urging, final half mile in :23.2 and :49.3, moderate in the final stages. Had a run last summer in maiden special weight company on turf and was no factor, may be competitive in a maiden claimer this time around.
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RACE 9: Post: 5:12 PT Grade: C+
Use (in order of preference): 3-Jibber Jabber; 4-Hermaphrodite; 5-Kuora; 9-Glesga Gal
Forecast: The finale is a wide-open grass affair for first-level allowance fillies and mares over a mile. Jibber Jabber (TOC=8-1; ML-5-1) has form from 2021 that is good enough to win, and while the work tab doesn’t jump off the page it should have her fit enough to fire a big shot fresh. A maiden win over this course and distance last year makes her a fit, and with regular rider U. Rispoli staying aboard, the P. Gallagher-trained filly looks like a legitimate contender at 5-1 on the morning line. Hermaphrodite (TOC=6-1; ML=4-1) is another returning off a long layoff, hers for more than a year after she was beaten a nose in the Astra S.-G3 over 12 furlongs in January of 2021. This mile trip might be too sharp for her, but her Los Alamitos work tab looks good, the barn’s main rider J. Hernandez takes the call, and the J. Sadler barn sports superior stats (29% with a massive ROI) with layoff runners. Kuora (TOC=6-1; ML=6-1) was just claimed for $50,000 by V. Cerin (20% with a strong flat-bet profit with this angle), so improvement can be expected. She has plenty of back numbers that are better than par for this level, so at 6-1 on the morning line she’s worth including somewhere. Glesga Gal (TOC=2-1; ML=6-1) had no excuse when a close fourth in a similar turf miler last month but today’s pace projection looks considerably softer, so if she can shake loose on the early lead she could take this field a long way.