“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 (“TPC”) 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 individual
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: 12:30 PT Grade: B
Use (in order of preference): 5-Gold Phoenix; 6-I’ll Stand Taller; 7-Noble Reflection
Forecast: The Monday opener is a challenging downhill turf dash for entry-level allowance older horses. Gold Phoenix (TOC=7-1; ML=5/2) is an interesting Irish invader for P. D’Amato, whose record with these European imports first time in the States is outstanding, and profitable. Away for 11 months after graduating at first asking in an all-weather maiden affair over the left-handed Dundalk track, the four-year-old gelding has done some good work (see below) leading up to his local bow and lands F. Prat, so he certainly gives the appearance of being extremely live and well-meant. He’ll most likely settle somewhere in mid-pack and then take hold crossing the dirt strip. I’ll Stand Taller (TOC=3-1; ML=3-1) is a perfect one-for-one sprinting over the flat grass track at Santa Anita and has the proper style for the Hillside Course as well. He projects to secure a good second flight, stalking position and they have his chance when the pressure is turned on. There’s also the route-to-sprint angle that we like and back numbers that make this Cal-bred son of Square Eddie a fit in this open event. Noble Reflection (TOC=10-1; ML=5-1) has been burning up the track at San Luis Rey Downs for his first start since last May, and the R. Baltas-trained gelding projects to be the quickest of the quick. If he can shake loose coming down the hill without pressure, he could roll all the way to the wire at a nice price.
Gold Phoenix (January 9, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:00h TT). Grade: B
In blinkers, broke off several lengths behind Wellswort (5f, 1:01.4h, TT) and Carpe Vinum (5f, 1:02.3h TT) and circled that pair into the lane before proving clearly best to the wire without need of urging, late changing leads but looking solid for P. D’Amato, splits of :23.4, :35.4 and 1:00.2 on our watches, a bit slower than given but strong, nonetheless. Won only start last February at Dundalk over an all-weather surface in very good style, has all of his conditions, should be able to sprint or route on this circuit.
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Run Snappy (January 8, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:00.2h TT). Grade: B-
Swapped back to his left lead while being ridden aggressively through the lane in solo training track drill for J. Sadler, final quarter mile in a solid :24.2. Disappointed in comeback race last month at Los Alamitos, may need another race or two.
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RACE 2: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: X
Single: 1-Scream and Shout
Forecast: Scream and Shout (TOC=2/5; ML=4/5) really should be too quick for these and if she leaves cleanly from the rail, there should be no issues. The T. Yakteen-trained mare earned a career top speed figure when a strong second at Los Alamitos last month, and with any kind of forward at all – or if she merely runs the same race – she’ll be home free. At 4/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower, she’s a short-priced, no value, rolling exotic single.
RACE 3: Post: 1:33 PT Grade: B+
Single: 2-Floral Essence
Forecast: Floral Essence isn’t the morning line favorite (she’s the second choice at 3-1) but we have to believe at the J. Mullins-trained filly will be very difficult to beat with anything close to her best race. At this same maiden $50,000 level two runs back, the daughter of Candy Ride hit the front in mid-stretch before being worn down late while more than three lengths clear of the rest, and that performance should be more than good enough against this group. In her most recent start when facing straight maidens, she was somewhat victimized by a poor outside draw and was never a threat, yet even in defeat she ran well enough to earn a career top speed figure. As a win play and rolling exotic single, we’re expecting her to draft into a lovely ground-saving trip behind the leaders and then have her chance to kick home when ready.
Acoustic Shadow (January 10, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:00.4h TT). Grade: C+
Received same final time as workmate Picota (same time) but actually finished about a length behind at the wire on the inside, ridden through the lane while losing some of her steam in the closing stages, final three furlongs in :12 flat and :37.2. Was hoping for a bit better, seeking another maiden claiming turf affair.
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RACE 4: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: C
Use (in order of preference: 6-Verragio; 3-Careless Kitten; 5-Rocketcent
Forecast: Here’s a really yucky bottom-rung maiden claiming sprint for older horses. When Careless Kitten looks like the most logical top pick, you know there’s not much to work with. A 14-race maiden with middling speed figures from a low percentage outfit, he finished a modest third in a similar affair here on New Year’s Eve, but against this group he should be in the fray throughout. Verragio displayed some early speed in his debut before gradually fading. With that race under his belt, he may stick better today, especially if he can get loose on the lead. Obviously, with just one prior outing, he has room for improvement that most of the others don’t have. Rocketcent has never hit the board (he’s run six times, all at this level) but on pure numbers he’s reasonably competitive. At 5-1 on the morning line you may have to toss him in.
RACE 5: Post: 2:41 PT Grade: B+
Single: 3-Closing Remarks
Forecast: Since breaking her maiden in August of 2020, Closing Remarks (TOC=2-1; ML=5/2) has done nothing but compete in stakes races, the last three of which were Grade-1’s. An earner of nearly $300,000 and the winner of the Cal Cup Oaks exactly one year ago, the daughter of Vronsky finally gets some class relief with this drop into the first-level allowance ranks. After being eased in the American Oaks-G1 on opening day last month, she’ll race with Lasix for the first time and breezed well seven days ago (1:00 1/5, eighth fastest of 72) to give hope that she can bounce back against this much easier competition. At 5/2 on the morning line, she’s a win play and rolling exotic single.
Soaring Sky (December 28, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:01.4h TT). Grade: B-
Some late coaxing, final quarter mile in :25.2, fair to moderate for J. Sadler. Was a useful handicapper in Ireland; was a non-threatening eighth in U.S. debut in Del Mar Oaks last summer.
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RACE 6: Post: 3:15 PT Grade: B
Use (in order of preference: 6-Stormsider; 1-Black Storm
Forecast: Chicago invader Storminside (TOC=9/5; ML=3-1) looks well-spotted to provide his Midwest connections with their first local score in this $12,500 claiming sprint for older horses. An 11-time winner from 45 starts, this eight-year-old gelding always has been genuine and consistent and projects to be the controlling speed. His form indicates that when he clears the field, he’s very difficult to catch. We’ll also toss in Black Storm (TOC=5/2; ML=5/2), another pro’s pro, with nine wins from 44 starts, including six scores at Santa Anita. Game in victory in a similar event at Los Alamitos in December, the Treasure Ride gelding does his best work from off the pace, so if the pace comes up a bit quicker than projected, he should be heard from late.
RACE 7: Post: 3:45 PT Grade: C+
Single: 1-Neige Blanche
Forecast: Neige Blanche (TOC=2/5; ML=2/5) is 2/5 on the morning line in this year’s edition of the Astra S.-G3 and even at that price she might be an overlay. Extra game in victory over subsequent stakes winner Luck in the Red Carpet H.-G3 at Del Mar in November, the French-bred mare gets a far easier assignment in this five-runner marathon for fillies and mares. She’s a no-value, odds-on, rolling exotic single in a race that basically is hers for the asking.
RACE 8: Post: 4:15 PT Grade: B
Use: 5-Going With Style; 1-Unbroken Star; 2-Tembo
Forecast: Going With Style (TOC=2-1; ML=5-1), another Hawthorne shipper today that looks very live, could make it two wins on the day for trainer B. Vanden Berg, even though the recent form for the veteran gelding looks bleak. A recent sharp five furlong workout over the local main track caught the eye, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see the son of Overanalyze turn in a form reversal in this below par $20,000 middle distance seller. He once was more than good enough to win a race like this. Unbroken Star (TOC=7-1; ML=9/5) drops to his lowest level ever, picks up F. Prat, and projects to be forwardly placed throughout from his rail draw. A two-time winner over the Santa Anita main track, the son of Broken Vow is listed as the 9/5 morning line favorite (that sure seems a little short) even though he’s gone winless since June of 2020. We’ll also toss in Tembo (TOC=8-1; ML7/2), scratched yesterday for this more favorable opportunity. A winner of a restricted $20,000 at Los Alamitos last month in his first start over conventional dirt, the M. McCarthy-trained gelding continues to look good in the morning and should be set for another forward move. The analytics aren’t crazy about him, but we give him a legit look.
Tembo (January 8, Santa Anita, 4f, :47.4h). Grade: B
In blinkers, moderate claimer did okay while even but slightly second best with Friar’s Road (5f, 1:00.1h) for M. McCarthy, mild coaxing only through the lane, splits of :23.2 and :47.3 on our watches. Comes off game win at Los Alamitos and holds that form.
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Going With Style (January 9, Santa Anita, 5f, 1:00.3h). Grade: B
Mild late coaxing while getting over the ground nicely, splits of:23.1 and :47.4 from the half mile pole to the wire on our watches. Arrives form the Midwest in good shape, always has been a consistent gelding (first or second in 12 of 24 career starts).
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RACE 9: Post: 4:45 PT Grade: B
Use (in order of preference): 7-Nice Ice; 1-Bey Bye Bertie; 5-Trickle In
Forecast: Nice Ice returns to her preferred surface (turf), switches F. Prat, and after being used up on the pace last time out seems likely to receive the patient ride that she needs to have her best chance in this starter’s allowance event for fillies and mares. A three-time winner over the Santa Anita turf course, the veteran mare shows a couple of nice breezes at San Luis Rey Downs since raced, and with several back speed figures that are better than par for this level, we’re expecting the daughter of Northern Afleet to be along in time. Bye Bye Bertie should be included somewhere on your ticket as well. A game winner at this condition on the main track just eight days ago, the L. Powell-trained mare actually earned her career top speed figure when winning on turf last summer at Del Mar so we doubt the surface switch will bother her. From the rail, she’s guaranteed a ground-saving, pace-stalking trip. Trickle In is always dangerous as the controlling speed, and she’s the likely pacesetter after winning a $25,000 claiming turf sprint on New Year’s Day. Now in the R. Hansen barn following a claim and picking up Johnny V., the daughter of Temple City may be tough to catch if not respected.