“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+
Single: 5-Mia At Midnight; 1-A Thousand Dreams
Forecast: Mia At Midnight (TOC=8/5; ML=2-1) makes her first start since arriving from Gulfstream Park and brings with her races and speed figures that are good enough to win this restricted (nw-2) $25,000 turf miler for fillies and mares. In addition to the lucrative purse, there is ship-and-win money available to her, so you can be sure it’s a “go.” K. Frey rides a lot of live runners for this stable, so we’re expecting the daughter of Midnight Lute to be along in time. For protection, you probably should find room on a ticket or two for A Thousand Dreams (TOC=6-1; ML=5/2). In her third start off a layoff, the V. Cerin-trained mare is guaranteed a ground-saving journey from her good rail draw, and if she can get some cover with a second flight trip, she could produce an improved late kick.
RACE 2: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: B
Use (in order of preference): 3-Slam Dunk Sermon; 4-Silken Prince
Forecast: Slam Dunk Sermon (TOC=Evens; ML=5/2) moves up a notch on the class ladder after a clever score over this track and distance last month that produced a better-than-par speed figure. A winner of nine races from 22 career outings, the son of Rousing Sermon employs an ideal stalking style that usually puts him in the race and keeps him free of trouble. Silken Prince (TOC=2-1; ML=2-1) is also worth including in rolling exotic play. Not nearly as fast on numbers as our top pick, the Kafwain gelding nevertheless warrants respect after a sharp score in a restricted (nw-3) $20,000 seller two weeks ago before joining the red-hot V. Cerin barn, which hits at 19% with a massive ROI with the first-off-the-claim angle.
RACE 3: Post: 2:09 PT Grade: X
Single: 6-Lady T
Forecast: Lady T is listed as the 4/5 morning line favorite and may even going lower in this main track mile affair for maiden fillies and mares. This will be her first try around two turns, but the daughter of Into Mischief should handle the stretch-out in trip, especially against five rivals who appear badly outclassed based on speed figures. In a race that offers no wagering value, you can use her as a short-priced rolling exotic single or simply pass the race.
Lady T (May 7, Santa Anita, 5f, :59.4h). Grade: B+
Strictly on her own in solo main track drill, splits of :12.1, :23.4, :35.2 and 1:00 flat on our watches, nice as usual. Overdue for a maiden win and should have no difficulty stretching out based on this drill.
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RACE 4: Post: 2:43 PT Grade: B+
Use (in order of preference: 5-Harbored Memories
Forecast: In a five runner field, let’s go all in on Harbored Memories (TOC=2-1; ML=5/2) in this highly-competitive second-level allowance turf sprint. Drawn comfortably outside, the M. Puype-trained colt projects to draft into an ideal second flight, stalking position and then have every chance to seal the deal when the pressure is turned on. Most comfortable with this kind of trip, the Washington-bred colt is a strong fit on speed figures and has finished first or second in four of five career starts over the Santa Anita turf course, with the only blemish a respectable fourth place finish down the hill last month. Back on the flat course today and listed at 5/2 under regular rider J. Valdivia, the son of Harbor the Gold is a strong play in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics.
Harbored Memories (May 8, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:00.4h). Grade: B
Broke off a length behind Unusual Heatwave (5f, 1:01h) and was breezing through the lane to finish a head in front at the wire, never asked, final three furlongs in :11.4 and :36.2. Holding his edge for M. Puype.
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RACE 5: Post: 3:16 PT Grade: B
Use (in order of preference): 4-Law Abidin Citizen
Forecast: We’ll double the fifth race, an allowance/optional claimer at the extended sprint distance of six and one-half furlongs on the main track. Law Abidin Citizen (TOC=5/2; ML=5/2) was disappointing when seventh in the Phoenix Gold Cup at Turf Paradise in mid-March but after a two month freshening we’re expecting the veteran gelding to return to winning form in this easier assignment. He’s eligible to run at this condition for having been entered for $50,000, and at this stage of his career the multiple stakes-winning 8-year-old gelding probably fits best at this level. A heathy work pattern since raced for M. Glatt is another positive factor. California Street, a four-time winner over the Santa Anita main track, is a prototype late-running sprinter, exits a productive race, and should be dangerous with anything close to his best race.
Law Abidin Citizen (April 30, Santa Anita, 4f, :48.1h). Grade: B
In blinkers, very light late coaxing in steady drill for M. Glatt, final three furlongs in :12.1 and :37 flat. Seems in good enough shape after brief freshening, can regain best form but needs a class drop.
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RACE 6: Post: 3:49 PT Grade: C+
Use (in order of preference): 6-Unbroken Star; 4-Mike Operator
Forecast: This bottom-rung $10,000 claiming miler for older horses is a messy affair that is full of question marks and negative angles. No result would surprise. Unbroken Star (TOC=7/5; ML=2-1) just won a $16,000 affair last month but takes a two-level class drop off that win, so his connections obviously don’t view him favorably in the long term. If he has one good one left, the veteran Broken Vow gelding should win, but he was a voided claim earlier this meeting, so his current condition is suspect. Mike Operator (TOC=10-1; ML=4-1) takes a sharp drop in class while returning to his winning level, and if he can secure the role as the controlling speed without undue pressure the J. Wong-trained gelding could get brave and never look back. However with the sprinter-stretching-out Hit the Seam drawn along the rail, ‘Operator may be relegated to a stalker’s role, which isn’t the worst thing in the world since he’s won three races doing just that. Small ticket players may choose to use just these two in rolling exotic play, but if you feel the need to spread the race, go right ahead.
RACE 7: Post: 4:20 PT Grade: A-
Single: 1-Special Ride
Forecast: Special Ride was best when third (beaten a neck) after being “risked” for a $150,000 claiming price in his debut, then was protected in straight maiden company and produced a significant forward move to win for fun in a fast, highly-rated sprint that was visually off the charts. Stretching out to a mile while moving into the allowance ranks, the son of Candy Ride from the outstanding race mare Executiveprivilege lands the rail and seems likely to establish the pace and dominate throughout. He’s listed at 9/5 on the morning line; you’ll be lucky to get it. He’s a win play and rolling exotic single.
Special Ride (April 27, Santa Anita, 4f, :49h). Grade: B+
Under stout restraint every step of the way while even but best with Sumo (same time) for S. McCarthy while appearing sharp as a tack. Up the ladder, for sure.
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RACE 8: Post: 4:50 PT Grade: B+
Use (in order of preference): 7-Bolden; 2-Scary Fast Smile; 1-Big Hand
Forecast: Bolden won his debut very impressively here almost two years ago as a 2-year-old but then disappeared. He finally makes it back to the races and has trained like he’s never missed a beat. The talented son of Square Eddie looks to have quality that the others don’t, so while this is a salty group of older, seasoned runners, he may simply outclass the field at 3-1 on the morning line. Scary Fast Smile is good enough to win at this level with his best race, but he’s simply not one to trust, having failed the last four times he’s been sent to the post as the wagering favorite. A first-off-the-claim for R. Hess, Jr., the Smiling Tiger gelding seems to have lost a bit of his early speed and may be more comfortable at an extended sprint distance. Big Hand didn’t have a whole lot behind him in his debut but he did it the right way. The rail post does him no favors but the son of Mr. Big can be dangerous with a clean break from the barrier.
Bolden (April 18, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:01.2h TT). Grade: B+
Saw him last month breaking off a couple of lengths behind Dick Best (5f, 1:01.4h TT) in training track team drill and finishing head-and-head with that one, never asked a drop at any stage while looking sharp, fit, and ready, splits of :24.3, :36.3 and 1:01.2. Been away for almost two years but looks spot on for P. D’Amato. Was an easy winner of his only outing as a 2-year-old.
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RACE 9: Post: 5:20 PT Grade: B+
Forecast: Returning off an eight-month layoff, Rijeka (TOC=8/5; ML=5/2) was given a run up north two weeks ago in a mile allowance race that was too sharp for him and served the purpose of getting the rust off and providing a springboard to this 10-furlong starter’s allowance turf affair that suits him perfectly. The Irish-bred veteran likes to settle early and blast home, and in this softer affair the P. D’Amato-trained gelding should be able to produce the last run. At 5/2 on the morning line, he offers good value in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics.