Jeff Siegel’s Blog: “What You Need to Know for Santa Anita – Sunday, May 26, 2024

Jeff Siegel’s Santa Anita “What You Need to Know
Sunday, May 26, 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.

View Jeff Siegel’s Prime Plays Video

RACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: C+
Main Ticket: 6-Marks Hip; 5-Hot Box; 2-Del Mar Jerry.
Backups/savers: 7-Jamming Eddy; 4-Time to Party.

Forecast: The Sunday opener is a borderline inscrutable $25,000 claiming turf sprint in which each of the entrants have positive and negative angles in their past performance chart. Best advice is to spread as deeply as your budget allows because no result would surprise us. Marks Hip shows the route-to-sprint angle that we like and this return to a sprint could be what puts him over the top. He’s won at this distance in the past and he’s won over the local lawn, so after finishing a solid third at this level over a mile last time out the son of Goldencents returns in two weeks with numbers that are good enough to beat this field. The negative? He’s finished off the board in 14 of 20 career starts and isn’t one to trust. Hot Box ran quite well over this course and distance two runs back when finishing a close third against a slightly softer band. However, he hasn’t won a race in two years, and while he’s a strong candidate to at least hit the board the B. Koriner-trained gelding hasn’t really been punching it in under pressure in his last several starts. Del Mar Jerry can act with these based on his best efforts but is unplaced in three career outings on grass. Perhaps at this level the son of Mastery will show he can handle the sod, but as a voided claim for $50,000 two races back the M. McCarthy-trained gelding certainly has a condition question.

RACE 2: Post: 1:34 PT Grade: B-
Main Ticket: Lula Bella
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: We’re flying blind in this state-bred maiden juvenile filly dash, as we have no workout video to access Lula Bella , the morning line favorite at 2-1, but we have seen tape on several of the others and none of them have trained like win early types. So, let’s go with the Stanford filly trained by L. Mendez, who always has excellent stats with the first time starter angle. Two of her most recent three workouts were three furlong bullet gate works, so we’ll assume she’s got speed, as many of her sire’s offspring do. Still, for us, it’s a bit of a guessing game, so we suggest you tread lightly.

RACE 3: Post: 2:06 PT Grade: B-
Main Ticket: 4-Half Nelson
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: Half Nelson was more than five lengths clear of the rest when second in a similar affair over this track and distance last month and if she can turn in two alike – no slam dunk for a filly that is winless in nine starts over the local main track – she can handle this assignment. On pure form, she’s a need-the-lead type, though in a field with just four other runners the daughter of Lord Nelson shouldn’t have to work too hard to achieve the role as the controlling speed. You can use her as a no value rolling exotic single or simply pass the race.

RACE 4: Post: 2:38 PT Grade: B
Main Ticket: Lahaina Flavor
Backups/Savers: 4-Single Track Mind (Ire); 1-Explain This Audit; Mega Moon.

Forecast: Here’s another spread race, this one a starter’s allowance affair over nine furlongs on turf while preferring on top the improving and developing Lahaina Flavor. The Point of Entry gelding was visually pleasing in victory over the local lawn two runs back and then in his most recent race produced another forward when fourth but earning a career top speed figure despite losing ground throughout and being pushed wide entering the lane. He’s back with “win rider” U. Rispoli, and in what projects to be a slowly run race early on the P. Gallagher-trained five-year-old, normally a deep closer, may be able to settle within range in the second flight and then be able to kick home when turned loose.

RACE 5: Post: 3:10 PT Grade: B-
Main Ticket: Pavel’s Etoile; 4-Swift Harmony
Backups/savers: 3-Thirst in Vegas.

Forecast: Though she shows nothing flashy on the work tab, Pavel’s Etoile has trained like a filly with some ability, and in an unclassified 2-year-old state-bred filly sprint the A. Garcia-trained juvenile should be highly competitive. Her drills have been accomplished without being asked, and we suspect (hope?) she’ll display plenty of speed when asked to finally show it. At 5-1 on the morning line the daughter of Pavel seems as good as any and better than most in this abbreviated sprint that didn’t come up particularly strong. Swift Harmony flashed :21 4/5 early speed in her debut before steadily fading, but with that race under her belt the J. Periban-trained 2-year-old seems certain to be on or near the lead and stick around a lot longer this time.

RACE 6: Post: 3:42 PT Grade: B-
Main Ticket: Mubtadaa; 7-Dandy Man Shines (Ire).
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: We’re not sure why Mubtadaa has been missing in action since winning in good style in mid-March (he didn’t record a workout in April), but he has a history of firing fresh, so we’ll assume that the V. Cerin-trained gelding in okay and ready to roll in this second level allowance turf miler. Most effective as the controlling speed and likely to inherit that type of trip in a field that doesn’t promise much pace, the son of War Front has won three outings from five starts over the Santa Anita grass course and projects as the one to beat once again. Dandy Man Shines was a non-threatening second at 4/5 at this level last time out and doesn’t seem to have the same turn of foot that he displayed last year during a promising sophomore campaign that saw him win a stakes and place in a graded affair when facing his own age group. Furthermore, he’s winless in seven starts on the local turf course and his speed figures, while highly competitive at this level, seem to have stagnated. We have to use him, but he may be vulnerable.

RACE 7: Post: 4:14 PT Grade: C+
Main Ticket: 5-Rumble King; 3-I’m a Bad Boy; 1-Infamous Angel; 6-Go Go Prancer.
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: R Heisman is the obvious top pick but must draw in from the also eligible list, so we‘ll handicap this race under the assumption that he’ll remain in the barn. Rumble King brought $225,000 through the ring as a yearling and debuts in this California-bred juvenile sprint without a whole lot to worry about among the competition. He’s done pretty well in the morning for trainer S. Knapp, whose first time starters have been outrunning their workouts of late with a win percentage (22%) that is quite strong. One of the stable’s “go-to” riders (T. Pereira) gets the call, so this son of Stay Thirsty looks very much like a live item. I’m a Bad Boy is another one of those L. Mendez entrants that must automatically be considered. A recent bullet :35 1/5 gate drill (fastest of 28) caught the eye. Infamous Angel has been training at San Luis Rey Downs, which is 80 miles out of range of our cameras, but the son of Pavel shows two bullet drills on his work tab, including a :47 flat drill just five days, so let’s assume he can run a least a little bit. Go Go Prancer has appeared to be a quick type on video and J. Bonde always has been a quite capable trainer with young stock. Toss him somewhere on your ticket.

RACE 8: Post: 4:46 PT Grade: B
Main ticket: Loterie (Ire); 7-Sweet Delta Dawn.
Backups/savers: 2-Runyon Canyon; 10-Willa T.

Forecast: Loterie (Ire) has failed as the favorite in each of her three starts since being imported from Ireland, but she’s run well enough to keep her on the “follow” list under the expectation that she’ll break on through eventually, perhaps today. Strong in the speed figure department and stakes placed last summer at Del Mar, the P. D’Amato-trained sophomore has been trouble prone (some of it her fault) but with clear sailing today she’ll definitely be a major player. Sweet Delta Dawn had a couple of outings in Ireland last year and ran reasonably well. Her Timeform ratings were moderate, but she has every right to be a better type in her U. S. debut for hot trainer R. Baltas.

RACE 9: Post: 5:14 PT Grade: X
Main ticket: Adare Manor
Backups/savers: none.

Forecast: Adare Manor is listed as the 3/5 morning line favorite in this year’s edition of the Santa Margarita S.-G2 and likely will leave even lower than that. First or second in 10 of 11 starts over the Santa Anita main track, she has recorded back-to-back triple digit Beyer figures and none of the other four entrants have numbers that are even remotely close. In what appears to be a mere formality, the B. Baffert-trained daughter of Uncle Mo is an obvious rolling exotic single.

RACE 10: Post: 5:40 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket: 4-First Peace
Backups/savers: 8-Lane Way; 9-Johnny Podres.

Forecast: First Peace is a genuine and consistent turf sprinter and is especially effective coming down the Hillside Turf Course (two wins, two seconds, in four start). Fast on numbers and with the type of tactical speed that should keep him free and clear of trouble, the M. Glatt-trained colt projects to enjoy an ideal stalking trip and then have every chance to go on when set down. Though missing at odds-on under these conditions when a solid runner-up in the Siren Lure Stakes last month, the son of Funtastic should make amends today while offering excellent wagering value at or near his morning line of 4-1.

Jeff Siegel’s Blog: “What You Need to Know for Santa Anita – Sunday, May 26, 2024

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