Jeff Siegel’s Blog: “What You Need to Know” for Santa Anita – Sunday, May 21, 2023

May 21, 2023

“What You Need to Know” – Santa Anita
by Jeff Siegel, 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 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

RACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 4-Kissed by Fire; 2-Irish Rose
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: Kissed by Fire displayed considerable promise in her debut last summer at Del Mar when second to Justique but then was unwisely thrown to the wolves in the Del Mar Debutante-G1 and wound up sixth of seven, beaten nearly 28 lengths. She returns in a below average maiden turf sprint with a series of workouts that should have her fit enough for the red hot Peter Eurton barn in a race that lacks early speed, so we wouldn’t be surprised if the daughter of Friesan Fire grabs control early and never looks back. Irish Rose ran well to be a closing second in her debut over this course and distance in mid-February but then went backwards when a disappointing seventh under similar conditions in her next outing. The Neil Drysdale-trained filly certainly is eligible to bounce back following a good series of recent workouts that includes a bullet :47 3/5 training track drill earlier this month. She might be most comfortable if held up early and allowed to run late.


RACE 2: Post: 1:33 PT Grade: X
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 5-Settecento; 4-Mongolian Ford
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast:There are two main players in the five-runner second race, a restricted (nw-3) $20,000 claimer for older horses over a mile on the main track. Settecento has hit the board in five of eight career starts over the Santa Anita dirt strip, most recently finishing a solid second despite a slow break and a wide trip. The Steve Knapp-trained gelding projects to fold over from his outside five hole draw into a good stalking position and then have every chance from there. Mongolian Ford looks like the controlling speed on paper, and if he can clear early without pressure he should take this field a long way. He’s just 2-for-18 in his career, but at least both of those wins were earned over this track. In a race that might be best left alone, we’ll double the race in rolling exotic play with a slight edge on top to Settecento.


RACE 3: Post: 2:06 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 2-Cyberviking; 4-Baladi
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: Here’s another five runner affair, this one for starter optional claimers sprinting on the main track. Cyberviking, a first-time gelding, arrives from Tampa Bay Downs seeking some of that valuable ship and win money for new trainer Phil D’Amato and has speed figures that make him a definite fit on this circuit. A bullet :59 3/5 local workout last week should have him primed and ready in a race that projects to find him on or near the lead throughout. Baladi is the one to fear most. An impressive winner with a career top speed figure earlier this month at seven furlongs, the Hector Palma-trained gelding should be just as effective at this shorter trip and seems likely to inherit a second flight, stalking position and have dead aim from the quarter pole home. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics, with Cyberviking getting the nod on top.


RACE 4: Post: 2:37 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 3-Leyas Candy; 5-Six Feet
Backups/Savers: 1-Johnny Podres

Forecast: Leyas Candy had a rough go of it when a close fourth (beaten a length) in a recent Hillside Turf Course sprint and with better luck today the son of Danzing Candy should be capable of rebounding with a winning effort in this entry-level allowance claiming extended dash over the flat course. The Mark Glatt-trained colt can be effective on the lead or from a stalking position, and based on the projected race he should be able to settle just off the front runners and then quicken when given his cue. Six Feet might be the quickest in the field, though there’s a possibility that the recent Los Alamitos winner Rock N Rye might keep him busy during the early stages. Today’s extra sixteenth of a mile isn’t likely to do him any favors, but if his improving pattern continues to the son of Stay Thirsty should be a strong factor throughout. Johnny Podres has been away since October and is realistically spotted for his return. The works have been slow and easy but that’s typical for this barn. We’ll be surprised if the Steve Miyadi-trained gelding doesn’t at least get a piece of it.


RACE 5: Post: 3:09 PT Grade: C+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 6-Last Call London; 7-Mici’s Express
Backups/savers: none

Forecast: Mici’s Express and Last Call London finished two-three in a fast race behind Going Mobile last month and are clearly the ones to beat in this abbreviated sprint for state-bred maiden two years. We doubt either one is a world beater but there probably isn’t one among the newcomers either, so let’s go two deep in our rolling exotics but otherwise sit out a race that is loaded with question marks.


RACE 6: Post: 3:41 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 4-Conclude; 2-First Peace
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: First Peace won a similar stakes for 3-year-olds over this course and distance last month and seems the logical pick right back after displaying the versatility to win on the lead or from a second flight, stalking position. He’s picking up four pounds off his most recent score, but other than that there’s no reason he shouldn’t fire a similar shot. Conclude finished fourth (beaten five lengths) behind ‘Peace when the met in the John Shear Stakes under these conditions in late April but the son of Collected didn’t leave cleanly in that race and never was able to display his best stuff. This race contains far less early speed than the last one, so if he breaks sharply there is every expectation that the Phil D’Amato-trained colt can duplicate his blazing maiden victory two races back. He’ll be a better price, so we’ll put Conclude on top but use both in our rolling exotics.


RACE 7: Post: 4:14 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 1-Hapi Hapi
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: Phoenix shipper Hapi Hapi is eligible for valuable ship and win purse money in this $12,500 main track miler and has plenty in his favor as the race’s second choice at 5/2 on the morning line. In the money in nine of 11 career starts over the Santa Anita main track and effective on the front end or from a stalking position, the son of Clubhouse Ride had his five race Turf Paradise win streak snapped when finishing third in a solid allowance race on grass last month, but this class drop – he’s still above his claim level – while returning to dirt should get him back on track. Let’s make him a win play and rolling exotic single.


RACE 8: Post: 4:41 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket (in order of preference): 6-Doris May; 2-Stressed
Backups/savers: 4-Hayley Levade

Forecast: We’ll spread the finale, a first-level allowance turf sprint for fillies and mares. Doris May looked good winning a state-bred dirt sprint last month with a career top number and she’s perfect in one start on grass, so the surface switch won’t be an issue. Clearly, this is a tougher assignment for the daughter of Dads Cap but with another forward move she should be highly competitive. If there is a concern, it’s that the Carla Gaines barn is mired in a cold streak. Stressed is a two-time winner over the flat course, most recently winning in gate to wire fashion over a solid starter’s allowance field. She may be forced to cope with more early zip today and is pretty much a need-the-lead type, so if she can shake clear early she’ll have a shot; otherwise, it may be tough sledding. Hayley Levade is back sprinting where she belongs and the speed figure she earned when beating maidens over this course and distance two races back makes her a reasonable contender at 6-1 on the morning line.

Jeff Siegel’s Blog: “What You Need to Know” for Santa Anita – Sunday, May 21, 2023

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