Jeff Siegel’s Blog: “What You Need to Know” for Santa Anita – Sunday, May 19, 2024

Jeff Siegel’s Santa Anita “What You Need to Know
Sunday, May 19, 2024

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “What You Need to Know” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.

The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.

Grade Descriptions: 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.

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RACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: B-
Main Ticket: 7-Amner Hall; 1-Neon Lights (Ire); 5-Kid Azteca.
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: Anmer Hall is back sprinting where he’s most comfortable and appears well-spotted to regain his winning form in this starter allowance extended turf sprint. The Palace Malice gelding scored nicely over this course and distance three runs back and has never been worse than second in three outings since being claimed by S. Knapp and protected in non-claimers ever since. Neon Lights (Ire) draws the rail, adds blinkers, and seems certain to have a strong pace presence after failing to get the best of runs when a close third as the favorite in a similar affair last month. If he can shake loose early, he may never look back. Kid Azteca is the most dangerous of the closers, and over a course that has been kind to the late runners in sprints the P. Miller-trained gelding should be heard from close home.

RACE 2: Post: 1:32 PT Grade: A-
Main Ticket: 5-Lyell’s Song
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: Lyell’s Song has done some very good work in the morning for trainer Mark Glatt, who excels with the first-time starter angle, and this son of Cairo Prince looks fit and ready for a major effort first crack out of the box. Drawn comfortably outside in a below par race for the level, this promising sophomore colt should have enough early speed to be or near the lead throughout and then go on from there. Listed at 5/2 on the morning line, he’s a win play and rolling exotic single at or near that price.

RACE 3: Post: 2:03 PT Grade: B+
Main Ticket: 1-Dont Fight the Fed
Backups/savers: 3-Red Cross Knight; 2-McGregor Lake

Forecast: Don’t Fight the Fed was a mile the best when dismantling a first level allowance state bred field on dirt last month and in his first try on grass the son of Nyquist should come right back and score again, assuming he transfers his main track form to the sod. In his last race – career top effort – the A. Garcia-trained colt was bottled up in traffic for most of the way but once clear entering the stretch he accelerated with purpose to win without being asked for best and with a ton left in the tank. He’s out of a Scat Daddy mare, so we’ll proceed with the conviction that the switch in surface won’t bother in in the least, so at 3-1 on the morning line, he’s a win play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 4: Post: 2:35 PT Grade: B-
Main Ticket: 2-Bright Leaf; 5-Departure
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: Bright Leaf rates top billing in this modest $25,000 claimer over a mile on dirt in his first start since January. The J. Sadler-trained horse is back in selling company after a pair of tries facing optional claiming foes, and the last time he ran for a tag (last October) the son of Dialed In won for fun over this track and distance. He’s been sparingly raced the past couple of years and may have some issues, but the recent work tab is healthy and steady, so we’ll assume he’s ready for a top effort. Departure was a voided claim for this price when winning in clever fashion in mid-March, so there is a bit of a condition question surrounding the S. Knapp-trained gelding. He’s most effective on the lead, so if he can make the running without pressure he’ll be capable of taking this field a long way.

RACE 5: Post: 3:07 PT Grade: B+
Main Ticket: 2-King of Gosford (GB)
Backups/savers: 3-Sorrento Sky (Ire).

Forecast: King of Gosford (GB) is perfect in two grass sprints since arriving from Ireland, an allowance win over the flat track and then a sharp victory in the John Shear Memorial S. down this tricky downhill hillside course last month. The P. D’Amato-trained sophomore has maintained his edge in the interim with a series of strong drills, so there should be no reason he can’t extend his streak to three. At 9/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower, the English-bred colt is a logical win play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 6: Post: 3:39 PT Grade: C
Main Ticket: 6-Bella Renella; 4-Awesome Taylor.
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: This is a treacherous $16,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares with nothing to trust. Bella Renella has been away for almost three months and according to her workout pattern has missed quite a bit of time, but she’s a five time winner over the Santa Anita main track and has several speed figures in her chart that are better than par for the level, so if she healthy she can win. However, her low profile connections don’t inspire confidence and at 2-1 she won’t be offering much value. Awesome Taylor, herself absent for two months, looks on paper to be the one to fear most. She has some back form that makes her a threat but she’s winless in six starts over this dirt track and the barn has only won one race this year. Maybe the best advice is to tread lightly or pass the raced altogether.

RACE 7: Post: 4:11 PT Grade: B+
Main Ticket: 5-Big Hat Willie; 2-Moody Jim (Ire).
Backups/savers: 1-Calm Seas.

Forecast: Big Hat Willie didn’t have much luck in a pair of dirt track outings at Oaklawn Park but once back home the son of First Samurai quickly regained his winning form with a sharp pace-pressing win in a starter allowance $50,000 affair over a mile on grass last month. In fact, all three of his turf starts have been outstanding and with a nice half mile breeze at San Luis Rey Downs last week to tick him over the P. Miller-trained gelding should be primed for another major effort. He’s never been 10 furlongs, but today’s distance isn’t likely to be a problem for him. Moody Jim (Ire) is a three time winner over the Arcadia sod and though up in class today the Irish-bred gelding is in prime form and is another who should have no difficulty with this mile and one-quarter journey. Look for him to be doing his best work from the quarter pole home.

RACE 8: Post: 4:43 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket: 6-Clooney
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: When last seen last summer at Del Mar, Clooney was winning a $16,000 middle distance main track claimer with authority and was promptly claimed by trainer S. Knapp. However, he came out of the race worse for wear and had to be turned out, but he returns today in this $20,000 main track miler for a barn with solid layoff stats while being waiver protected in a sign of confidence. Never off the board in three outings at Santa Anita and with a series of sharp, breezing drills to have him fit and ready, the son of City of Light retains “win rider” T. Pereira and may be capable of picking up where he left off. Let’s take the bait and use him in the win pool and as a rolling exotic single and hope to get close to his morning line of 7/2.

RACE 9: Post: 5:15 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket: 5-Dealers Special
Backups/savers: 2-Legitimate Target (GB); 4-Baldoro.

Forecast: Dealers Special, off the track since last October and making a positive trainer switch to R. Baltas, is a first time Lasix user for a barn that boasts superior stats with layoff runners and also makes the always dangerous maiden to maiden claiming class drop. The stable’s “go-to” rider U. Rispoli takes the call and we’re expecting this son of Upstart to be rolling from the quarter pole home. In a moderate field for the level and at an enticing 5-1 on the morning line, he’s a win play and rolling exotic single.

Jeff Siegel’s Blog: “What You Need to Know” for Santa Anita – Sunday, May 19, 2024

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