“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: 12:30 PT Grade: C+
Use (in order of preference): 1-Barristan The Bold; 7-Jamming Eddy; 5-Never Have I Ever
Forecast: A rare five furlong turf sprint in carded for the Sunday opener matching $40,000 older claimers in a race that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll go three-deep but not with a great deal of confidence. Barristan The Bold (TOC=5/2; ML=7/2) earned a strong speed figure when winning a nice grass dash two races back, thanks in no small part to the patient ride that brings out his best. Badly overmatched while pressing the pace and then fading in the Clocker’s Corner S. in his next outing, the English-bred gelding returns to reality today and is guaranteed a ground-saving trip from his rail draw. If held up early and allowed to run late, he’ll have a reasonable chance to return to winning form. Jamming Eddy (TOC=9/2; ML=6-1) looked decent winning at $32,000 claimer on dirt at Los Alamitos in mid-December and makes his first start since while being raised a notch on the claiming ladder. He’s never been too keen on winning, so expecting the Square Eddie gelding to repeat on the raise might be a bit of a stretch, but he’s been vanned down from his home base at Golden Gate Fields for this race, so we suspect he’s live and well-meant. Never Have I Ever (TOC=3-1); ML=4-1) was a useful turf sprinter in the Midwest before arriving on the local scene, where he has underperformed, as many from this barn have so far this meeting. The Irish-bred gelding has good early speed and could stick around for a while at this abbreviated sprint trip.
RACE 2: Post: 1:05 PT Grade: B-
Use (in order of preference): 5-Impossible Task; 4-Absolute Unit
Forecast: Impossible Task (TOC=3/5; ML=8/5) had every chance but couldn’t seal the deal when second at 2/5 in a similar starter’s allowance middle distance dirt event earlier this meeting. He gets a good spot to make amends while retaining F. Prat and is much faster than the others based strictly on his best speed figures, so anything close to his “A” should be good enough. Absolute Unit (TOC=2-1; ML=5/2) remains protected in a sign of confidence by trainer C. Dollase, who haltered this son of Will Take Charge for $40,000 two races back and today shortens him from nine furlongs to a flat mile, arguably his best distance. Just 2-for-21 in his career with eight seconds and thirds, he ran well when a close third over this track and distance two races back while earning a speed figure that makes him a threat. We’ll prefer Impossible Task on top but include both in our rolling exotic play.
RACE 3: Post: 1:40 PT Grade: X
Use (in order of preference): 1-Hong Kong Harry
Forecast: Hong Kong Harry has trained like a stone runner for his U.S. debut and based on what we’ve seen of him in the a.m. and his European form from last year the Irish-import should be hard to handle in this nine furlong first-level allowance turf event for older horses. The P. D’Amato-trained gelding lands F. Prat, gets Lasix, projects to enjoy an ideal ground-saving trip from his rail post, and simply should out class his four rivals. At 8/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower, he’s a logical, no value, rolling exotic single.
Hong Kong Harry (February 21, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:00.3h TT). Grade: B+
In blinkers, broke off in front of Motorious (same time) and was always going the better of the two while finishing a couple of lengths in front in extra sharp training track drill for P. D’Amato, final three furlongs in :11.2 and :35.2, full of run through the lane under light coaxing only. Based on this drill, the Irish-bred gelding is fit and ready and has all of his conditions.
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RACE 4: Post: 2:10 PT Grade:
Use (in order of preference: 5-Piroli; 3-Kerouac
Forecast: Piroli looks ready to graduate after finishing a strong runner-up while 10 lengths clear of a next out winner in a similar maiden main track router for 3-year-olds in mid-January. The son of Battle of Midway, shows a steady, healthy work pattern since raced and seems likely to improve enough to graduate today. There’s some value at his morning line of 9/5 but we suspect he’ll go a couple of ticks lower. Kerouac has an improving pattern for B. Baffert, most recently finishing second in a highly-rated affair last month. He’ll likely employ gate-to-wire tactics. These are the two we’ll be including in rolling exotic play, with the preference on top to Piroli.
Piroli (February 26, Santa Anita, 4f, :47.2hg). Grade: B+
Strong gate work for M. McCarthy while much best over Gypsy Lynn (3f, :37hg), splits of :24 flat and :47.3 on our watches, light coaxing only, and then was allowed to gallop out to the wire and was up in 1:13.4 while looking plenty fit. Was good second last time out while displaying improvement and should have even more to give next time.
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RACE 5: Post: 2:42 PT Grade: B-
Use (in order of preference): 4-Operatic; 2-Bestrella
Forecast: Operatic (TOC=6/5; ML=4-1) always is a late threat and can be especially dangerous in races that produce a reasonable early pace. Beaten a neck at 30-1 in a similar $25,000 event over the local lawn in early January, the veteran daughter of Big Drama has finished first or second in 15 of 33 career starts, so she can be counted on to fire another big shot today. Bestrella (TOC=3-1; ML=5/2) is winless in six lifetime outings over the Santa Anita turf course but has numbers that fit and makes a major jockey switch to F. Prat. She’s drawn comfortably inside and projects to settle in the second flight while saving ground and then have her chance to punch it in from the quarter pole home. We’ll use both in rolling exotic play while preferring Operatic on top.
RACE 6: Post: 3:14 PT Grade: B
Use (in order of preference): 4-Sharapova; 2-Del Mar Drama; 6-Ironic Twist
Forecast: This race has three legitimate contenders in what looks like a strong race for the level. Sharapova (TOC=3-1; ML=2-1) lost her best chance at the start in her first outing in nine months but overcame the early stumble to put in an excellent effort when a close third while probably best vs. similar last month. With that race behind her, with a clean start, and with the switch to F. Prat, the daughter of Outwork seems the logical top pick. Del Mar Drama, (TOC=5/2; ML=5/2) second in the same race Sharapova exits, has the proper pace-stalking style for this extended sprint distance and both of her outings during the current meeting have been solid. In a race that projects to have moderate early fractions, the E. Kruljac-trained mare should be comfortably placed on or near the lead throughout. Ironic Twist (TOC=7-1; ML-6-1) won at first asking from off the pace with a good display of late speed, and while she probably didn’t beat much the M. Glatt-trained daughter of Distorted Humor certainly did it the right way. Drawn comfortably outside, she’s listed at 6-1 on the morning line and seems better than that.
Sharapova (February 19, Santa Anita, 4f, :49.2h). Grade: B
Quite keen leaving the pole and was under a tight hold throughout in easy half mile breeze, final three furlongs in :11.4 and :36.4 for P. Eurton. Ran very well despite a poor start in her comeback and should step forward next time in a big way.
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RACE 7: Post: 3:46 PT Grade: B+
Forecast: Flintmore is a progressive gelding that appears ready to win following a sharp runner-up effort in a hot turf miler in mid-January in just his second career start. The son of Flintshire turns back to a sprint, and with Johnny V. riding him back the P. D’Amato-trained four-year-old seems certain to receive the patient ride he prefers. We’re expecting to see a strong late kick that produced a win close home, so at 5/2 on the morning line he’s a win play and rolling exotic single.
Flintmore (February 27, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:00.3h TT). Grade: B+
Broke off several lengths in front Count Again (5f, :59.1h TT) and dug in nicely when challenged by stakes-winning barn mate in the final furlong, getting to the wire a short head in front under mild coaxing only, final three furlongs in :11.4 and :35 flat, outstanding move. Appears to be rapidly improving and should be ready to graduate next time out.
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RACE 8: Post: 4:18 PT Grade: A-
Use (in order of preference): 9-Under the Stars
Forecast: Under the Stars (TOC=2-1; ML=8/5) stretches out for the first time in this year’s renewal of the Santa Ysabel S.-G3 for sophomore fillies and she gives every indication that she’ll move to a new level under these conditions. She’s been quite good sprinting – her recent win in the Santa Ynez S.-G2 over seven furlongs produced a career top speed figure – but we suspect the daughter of Pioneerof the Nile will greatly appreciate today’s added distance as a pace-setter or pace-forcer from her outside draw. She’s 8/5 on the morning line and we’d settle for that price right now in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics.
Ain’t Easy (February 27, Santa Anita, 6f, 1:14.3hg). Grade: B-
Breezing early but may have lost a bit of her steam late while finishing three-quarters of a length behind barn mate Phantom Dance (same time), splits of :37.3, :49.3 and 1:15.1 on our watches, a few ticks slower than given for P. D’Amato. May be a work or two away from being 100% fit. High-quality form last fall before being stopped on.
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Micro Share (February 24, Santa Anita. 7f, 1:26h). Grade: B+
Broke off several lengths in front of Forbidden Kingdom (7f, 1:25h) and after being challenged by that one entering the lane, gamely held way while traveling out to the seven furlong pole (workmate was under late pressure), quite impressive under the circumstances for R. Mandella, splits of :24.1, :36 flat, :48 flat, 1:12.3 and 1:26 flat on our watches. Looks good belongs with maidens, not with stakes runners, at least not yet.
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Eda (February 20, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:00.2h). Grade: B+
Mostly without pressure in solo main track drill while finishing strongly through the lane, final three furlongs in :36.1 for Baffert. Freshened since winning the Starlet S.-G1 in early December and should make a very useful 3-year-old filly.
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Under the Stars (February 27, Santa Anita, 6f, 1:12.3h). Grade: A-
Finished in a rally under mild coaxing only, final three furlongs in :11.4 and :35.1 looking terrific for Baffert. No reason she won’t handle a distance of ground. Getting better with each race and workout.
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RACE 9: Post: 4:50 PT Grade: B+
Use (in order of preference): 6-Island of Love; 3-Sterling Crest
Forecast: Sophomore fillies meet over a mile on grass in the nightcap, the China Doll Stakes that should be won by one of the two Irish-bred runners in the field. Island of Love (TOC=5/2; ML=5/2) was the odds-on favorite in the Lady Shamrock Stakes in her U.S. debut in late January but had to settle for second money after being knocked sideways and squeezed back at the start. We suspect that with a trouble-free trip today the P. D’Amato-trained filly will produce a major forward move. F. Prat stays aboard the daughter of Kodiac, who was an impressive stakes winner in Italy prior to her West Coast arrival. Sterling Crest (TOC=8/5; ML=3-1) earned a powerful speed figure when breaking her maiden over this course and distance three weeks ago and a similar effort today should allow her to highly competitive despite the class hike. The R. Baltas-trained daughter of No Nay Never had burned money as the favorite in her previous two but left that form behind by utilizing her good tactical speed secure an ideal pace-stalking position. Similar tactics should be available again today from her comfortable three-hole post. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll have a few extra tickets keying Island of Love on top.