“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-
Use (in order of preference): 11-Talklessworkmore; 8-Square Cat
Forecast: The Sunday opener is a grass grab bag over a mile for older state-bred maidens. We’ll try to get by using just two, but you may find the need to spread deeper than that. Talklessworkmore is stuck on the far outside 11 post position, but if he can somehow manage to get over and navigate a decent trip the S. Ruis-trained gelding should have as good a chance as any. A respectable third despite a troubled trip in a similar affair in late March, the son of Summer Front recorded a bullet half mile workout in :46 flat (fastest of 74) last week to indicate he’s ready to produce another forward move, so at 4-1 on the morning line we’ll put him on top. Square Cat, in the money in five of six career starts ran well enough to be second under these conditions last time out and really won’t have to improve much to win.
RACE 2: Post: 1:33 PT Grade: B-
Use (in order of preference): 7-Red Panty Night; 8-Liberalism; 9-Stoic Luna
Forecast: We’ll go three-deep in the second race, a $16,000 restricted (nw-2) claiming sprint for fillies and mares. Red Panty Night (TOC=5/2; ML=5/2) drops to her lowest level ever and is good enough to handle this task with a repeat of her bottom-rung maiden claiming win at Los Alamitos two races back. She was overmatched in her most recent start – a starter’s allowance sprint here in late February – but against this group the K. Mulhall-trained filly could get loose early and never look back. Additionally, she’s reunited with “win rider” R. Gonzalez and shows a steady, healthy recent series of workouts to indicate she’s right on edge. Liberalism (TOC=5-1; ML=6-1) is another dangerous class dropper that should be very competitive in this league. She projects to be part of the pace throughout and has numbers that fit. Stoic Luna (TOC=5-1; ML=4-1) is back sprinting on the main track, the scene of her 10 length maiden claiming win in mid-February. That race, if repeated today, makes her a major player.
RACE 3: Post: 2:05 PT Grade: X
Single: 5-High Connection
Forecast: High Connection (TOC=3/5; ML=4/5) destroyed at maiden field in his debut by 10 widening lengths and did so with a stakes quality speed figure, so if he can duplicate that performance on the one-level raise while stretching out around two turns he’ll almost certainly win right back at a very short price. The son of Connect certainly is bred to run long and seems certain to be the controlling speed without having to be sent. At 4/5 on the morning line and likely to be closer to half that on the tote, he’s a no-value rolling exotic single in a race that we’ll otherwise pass.
High Connection (May 1, Santa Anita, 4f, :47.4h). Grade: B+
Breezed outside Hopper (same time) while earning splits of :23.2 and :47.4, well in hand and finishing with plenty left. Broke his maiden easily in his debut and should be double tough on the raise. Acts like added distance will be easily within his scope.
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RACE 4: Post: 2:35 PT Grade: B+
Use (in order of preference: 5-Doncic; 3-Explosive
Forecast: Here’s a fairly contentious starter’s allowance extended turf sprint over the flat course that we’ve boiled down to two main contenders. Doncic has the proper style for this distance, improving speed figures, and a healthy work pattern since raced, so we’re expecting a career top performance from the son of Cairo Prince. The V. Cerin barn has been hot all meeting and we suspect jockey R. Curatolo will be on several live mounts in the coming weeks for this stable. Explosive, a clever winner over the all-weather surface up north in late March, has the route-to-sprint angle that we like and speed figures that make him a strong contender. The Liam’s Map gelding should find himself in an ideal pace-stalking position and then have every chance from the quarter pole home.
Explosive (April 30, Santa Anita, 6f, 1:13.4h TT). Grade: B+
In blinkers, breezing most of the way while coming the final five furlongs in solo training track drill in :24.1, :36.2 and 1:00.4. Looks plenty fit and ready for a sharp effort.
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RACE 5: Post: 3:07 PT Grade: X
Use (in order of preference): 4-Eda; 2-Empire Gal; 3-Elm Drive
Forecast: We’ll spread this year’s renewal of the Angel’s Flight S. for sophomore fillies while recognizing that Eda (TOC=Evens; ML=4/5) is the logical top pick and deserved favorite. But this may wind up being a more contentious race than anticipated by the punters. The daughter of Munnings, away for two months following her score in the Santa Ysabel S.-G3, will be seeking her fifth straight win for new trainer S. McCarthy, and has trained well enough to expect a good effort, but on pure numbers she’s not quite the standout than the form suggests. Debut winner Empire Gal (TOC=12-1; ML=4-1), so impressive at first asking at Del Mar in November, returns for M. McCarthy and has looked terrific in her a.m. drills. The daughter of Empire Maker cannot be underestimated. Elm Drive (TOC=11-1; ML=5/2) actually beat Eda last summer at Del Mar in the Sorrento S.-G3 and she, too, has trained like she’s ready to embark on a productive sophomore campaign. She won her debut by eight lengths at Los Alamitos last summer so you know she can fire fresh, and a :58 4/5 bullet five furlong workout (fastest of 64) last week tells us she’s fit and ready.
Empire Gal (April 30, Santa Anita, 5f, :59hg). Grade: B+
Best in team gate drill with Quintecents (5f, :59.4hg) while looking very impressive, splits of :232.4, :35 flat, :47 flat and :59.1 on our watches, never really asked much and finishing with something left. On the upgrade and will get tested for class next time out. Decent filly, at the very least.
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Elm Drive (April 25, 5f, 1:00.4hg). Grade: B+
Much best in team gate drill with Golf Drama (4f, :48.4hg), easy early in hand and then strong late without being asked, splits of :25 flat, :36.2, :48.1 and 1:00.4. Aways since October but is returning in strong fashion and should make a very nice 3-year-old.
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RACE 6: Post: 3:39 PT Grade: B-
Use (in order of preference): 8-Admiral Halsey; 7-National Road; 10-Twokidsfromdabronx
Forecast: Admiral Halsey has improving form, rising speed figures, and exits a productive race, so the War Front gelding should be ready to earn his diploma in career start number seven. He has the proper style for this extended sprint distance over the flat course and should have every chance from a second flight, stalking position. National Road is a Midwest invader making his first local start and his first since last June. He could be a better type this time around for new trainer M. Glatt. First Class Dad returned off a year layoff to run a bang-up second in a productive high-priced maiden claimer and is protected today while returning to grass. The J. Bonde-trained colt, a strong runner-up over the local lawn last year, is a fit on numbers and with a forward move today will be the one to fear most at a generous 8-1 on the morning line. A recent bullet workout (:46 3/5, fastest of 76) certainly catches the eye. Twokidsfromdabronx has shown some ability in the a.m. for R. Hanson and is worth tossing in as well at 5-1 on the morning line. A $200,000 yearling purchase, the son of Cupid certainly won’t have to be a world beater to act with these and we suspect he’ll be competitive at this level.
National Road (April 10, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:00.4h). Grade: B
In blinkers, final half mile in :23.4 and :48.1. light coaxing only, something left late. Been away since last June but is returning in good shape and seems fairly fit. Lightly-raced and may be better than shown.
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Twokidsfromdabronx (April 30, Santa Anita, 4f, :47.1hg). Grade: B
In blinkers, very nice gate drill, not particularly fast early but finishing strongly and with plenty left in team gate drill with Don’tcrossthedevil (4f, :49.2hg) and Classic California (4f, :59.4hg), splits of :23.4, :35.1 and :47 flat on our watches. Cupid gelding looks to have some talent and should make the entries soon.
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RACE 7: Post: 4:11 PT Grade: B-
Use (in order of preference): 7-Never Sway; 11-Quick Take
Forecast: This maiden $50,000 sprint for older state-bred fillies and mares came up soft. Never Sway has numbers that are good enough to win and looks ready to break through after three successive runner-up efforts against competition that was softer than what she’ll see today. She was almost four lengths clear of the rest in her most recent outing and though she’s already had five chances she may still have some improvement in her. Quick Take is a first-time Lasix user and has shown enough early speed to be dangerous in a race without much in it. Freshened since December, the sophomore filly should enjoy a clean trip from outside draw, so at 5-1 on the morning line she’s worth including on your ticket.
RACE 8: Post: 4:42 PT Grade: B-
Use (in order of preference): 3-Grandiosely; 8-Topolina; 1-M Is for Magic
Forecast: The known element in this soft maiden $50,000 claiming turf sprint for fillies and mares doesn’t inspire let’s go with a fresh face. Grandiosely finally makes it to the post at age five and this homebred daughter of City Zip is bred to love turf and has workouts at Los Alamitos that catch the eye, though fast times are the norm over a surface that always plays quick. The barn has strong stats with debut runners (20%) so at 5-1 on the morning line she’s worth a good look. Topolina has proven form at the level and after finishing a weakening third in a much stronger straight maiden affair over this course and distance in mid-March she drops for the money run while switching to good young rider R. Curatolo. M Is for Magic is a 13-race maiden and not one to trust, but on pure numbers she’s right there with the rest of them and from her rail post she’s guaranteed a good ground-saving trip. We’ll use all three in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Grandiosely.
RACE 9: Post: 5:13 PT Grade: B+
Single: 2-Bold Endeavor
Forecast: Though we’re not convinced either one has to win, stable mates Triple Tap (TOC=6/5; ML=8/5) and Defunded (TOC=3-1; ML=4-1) should receive the bulk of the play in this second-level allowance main track miler for older horses. Here is the problem: ‘Tap has speed figures that have stagnated, and the once-promising half-brother to American Pharoah has failed when well-backed in each of his last three starts. He’s listed at 8/5 on the morning line and offers no real value at that price. Defunded hasn’t been out since winning an entry-level allowance race at Del Mar last summer, and while he has worked well for his return, the gelded son of Dialed In shows speed figures that are lower than par for this level. So, where does that leave us? Bold Endeavor (TOC=10-1; ML=5-1), away since September, has looked especially sharp in morning drills for M. Glatt (excellent with layoff runners) and shows numbers that are good enough to win at this level. First or second in eight of 14 outings over the Santa Anita main track, the son of Bernardini went a bit stale after a tough summer campaign but after several months of R&R should fire a huge shot fresh. At 5-1 on the morning line, he represents strong wagering value as a win play and rolling exotic single.
Bold Endeavor (April 23, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:01h). Grade: B
In blinkers, caught him from the half mile pole to the wire in :23.1 and :47.4 without being asked, sharp and eager on the comeback trail for M. Glatt. Coming back in good shape and should fire a good shot fresh.
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RACE 10: Post: 5:43 PT Grade: A-
Single: 5-Noble Reflection
Forecast: This starter’s allowance/claiming turf miler has several entrants that on paper qualify as major contenders but have proven to be untrustworthy. So let’s look elsewhere. Noble Reflection (TOC=12-1; ML=8-1) stumbled badly at the start and lost all chance when far back in a main track miler in mid-March and before that was disappointing in a pair of sprints following an extended layoff. He drops into a claimer for the first time, switches to one of the barn’s “go to” riders (J. Bravo) and blew out a half mile in a sizzling :45 4/5 (fastest of 31) nine days ago to have him cranked and ready. With good racing luck today, the son of Liam’s Map has a chance to produce a form reversal. He earned a stakes-quality speed figure in his second career start sprinting at Oaklawn Park last year, so the talent is there, and at 8-1 on the morning line the R. Baltas-trained gelding could find himself as the controlling speed and never look back. Let’s take a stand and make him a win play and rolling exotic single.
Noble Reflection (April 23, Santa Anita. 5f, :59.4h). Grade: B+
Sharp as a tack in solo breeze, final three furlongs in :36.2, plenty left late. Has to be better than recent races show. Will have big look with a class drop.
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