The selections contained within are geared to rolling exotic players. The basic strategy is to isolate those horses that should be included in rolling daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and pick-6.
It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the exact rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.
Unless otherwise noted, all horses listed in the analysis should be used in rolling exotic play. Usually there will no more than three horses listed; occasionally, Jeff will go four-deep in his rolling exotic play and on a very rare occasion he will recommend a “buy the race” strategy.
The selections are available every racing day after 9 a.m. (PST). For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.
Top selection indicated in bold-face.
A=Highest degree of confidence.
C=Least preferred, or pass.
X=likely winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.
Saturday, September 29, 2018
RACE 1: Post 12:00 PT. Grade: B
Use: 2-Improbable; 7-Stretford End
Forecast: Improbable has been a “talking horse” for a few weeks now and makes his debut for Baffert in the Saturday opener following a series of impressive local a.m. preps (his six-furlong drill Sept. 17 earned “Best of the Morning” status, see workout). A strong, powerful son of City Zip that brought $200,000 at Keeneland as a yearling, he seems like the real deal for a barn that has been on a terror of late with debut runners. He’s 9/5 on the morning line but is certain to go lower. Stretford End, a $600,000 March 2-year-old in training buy, will provide the main competition; the Callaghan-trained son of Will Take Charge has done everything the right way leading up to his debut and gets Prat and the cozy outside draw. Preference on top goes to Improbable but you may want to consider Stretford End on a backup ticket for protection.
RACE 2: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 3-North County Guy; 7-Forest Chatter
Forecast: This is a below par race for first-level allowance state bred sprinters competing over five furlongs on grass as Santa Anita ushers in a new series of turf races that will begin on the backstretch, not the Hillside course. We’ve got the race down to three, but not with a large degree of confidence. Forest Chatter isn’t what he once was, but the veteran gelding is eligible for this race after being entered for the optional claiming price of $16,000, his lowest level ever. Whether or not his five prior wins down the hill means much over the flat turf course isn’t known, but with Rosario taking the call and a healthy recent work tab at San Luis Rey Downs, there’s a reason to believe there’s still some life in the old legs. North County Boy removes blinkers and tries grass for the first time in his first-off-the-claim for Baltas (superior stats with this angle). He’s very dangerous under the assumption that he’ll produce a significant forward move, especially with the switch to Pratt. Let’s try to get by using just these two, but if you feel the need to go deeper, go right ahead.
RACE 3: Post 1:01 PT. Grade: X
Single: 8-Offshore Affair
Forecast: Offshore Affair adds blinkers, lands the good outside draw and wins this if there’s nothing special among the newcomers (and there doesn’t appear to be). The son of Lucky Pulpit, second vs. similar in his last pair, isn’t fast on speed figures but against this group probably doesn’t have to be. If it’s not him, it could be anybody, so let’s make the Gaines-trained colt a no-value rolling exotic single but otherwise pass the race.
RACE 4: Post: 1:33 PT. Grade: B
Use: 2-Neptune’s Storm; 8-Omaha Beach; 11-Flying Scotsman
Forecast: This is a competitive mile turf event for 2-year-olds with several possibilities. Flying Scotsman closed a gap sprinting in his debut at Del Mar last month while giving every indication that he’ll improve a ton with experience and distance. Today he gets his chance to show it, although the extreme outside post does him no favors. Omaha Beach flashed some ability in his debut under similar conditions, finishing with interest to be third beaten two lengths while having every chance from the top of the lane to the wire. He was “supposed” to win – he left at even money – so maybe his reputation was a tad inflated. We’ll give him one more look. Neptune’s Storm has the two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern and a grass pedigree, and from a good inside draw we suspect gate-to-wire tactics will be employed. At 5-1 on the morning line, he’s a “must use.” Let’s go with Flying Scotsman slightly on top but include all three in our rolling exotic play.
RACE 5: Post 2:05 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 2-Short of Ez; 6-Fire to the Wire; 8-R Cha Cha
Forecast: Fire to the Wire finished a good second in a nw-3 $20,000 claimer at Del Mar last month, was claimed by Carava, and today drops a notch to a restricted (nw-3) $16,000 affair. That’s not always a healthy sign but if the Sapphire Cat gelding has at least one good one left he should beat this field, especially over a main track he’s been known to like (in the money in six of seven career starts). R Cha Cha was a voided claim when third in the same race Fire to the Wire exits, so there’s a question of his condition as well. However, from his nice outside draw the O’Neill-trained gelding should draft into an ideal pace-prompting spot and have every chance. If this race were at Los Alamitos, Short of Ez would be the logical top selection (he’s two-for-two there), and he still may be. Away since last December but waiver protected for Puype, the lightly-raced gelding earned a giant number when last seen winning a $16,000 nw-2 affair at Los Al, and the recent work tab looks promising. We’ll include him.
RACE 6: Post 2:38 PT. Grade: X
Use: 2-Gunmetal Gray; 4-Game Winner
Forecast: Game Winner is the legitimate 6/5 morning line favorite in this critical prep for the BC Juvenile after a superb debut maiden win closely followed by a thoroughly convincing victory in the Del Mar Futurity, with both earning powerful speed figures. This will be his first start around two turns but he’s by Candy Ride from a mare by A. P. Indy so he should get nothing but better as the distances increase. Gunmetal Gray already has won at this trip, graduating by almost seven lengths at Del Mar last month with a legitimate stakes-quality figure. He should give Game Winner a scare, if nothing else. This is a pass race for gambling purposes; rolling exotic players may choose to single Game Winner and perhaps also include Gunmetal Gray in a back-up role.
RACE 7: Post 3:05 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 4-Noivo; 7-Icy Street; 10-Red King
Forecast: Icy Street has the most upside in this first-level allowance turf miler, but we haven’t seen him since November of last year so it’s conceivable that he’s a race away from being at his best. The son of Street Boss has a series of solid workouts leading up to this race, but his lack of tactical speed probably means he’ll need some help up front. However, on pure numbers he’s right there with these. Noivo has the benefit of recent racing and is steadily improving, having won a maiden affair at Del Mar last month in his fifth career start. He’s a bit slower on figures than Icy Street but is lightly raced and developing steadily. Red King offers a bit of a chance at a price (he’s 12-1 on the morning line) in his second off a layoff for Cerin. Both of his prior races over the Santa Anita turf course were good; with decent fractions up front he has a chance to make some noise from off the pace.
RACE 8: Post 3:35 PT. Grade: B
Use: 1-Conquest Flatterme; 6-Dulce Ride; 9-Moon Kitty
Forecast: Dulce Ride is unproven on dirt, though she’s certainly bred for it and continues to train impressively at San Luis Rey Downs. After two route tries at Del Mar she returns to one corner in this entry-level allowance extended sprint for fillies and mares and looks capable of producing the last run while reunited with her “win” rider Prat. Conquest Flatterme seems strictly the one to beat, rail and all. Beaten a neck under similar conditions at Del Mar in early August, she returns to Santa Anita, where three of her four career wins have been accomplished. Elliott stays aboard, knows her well, and should have this Cerin-trained mare in the first flight throughout. Moon Kitty got away with a soft opening quarter and blitzed a $32,000 claiming field with a career top number earlier this month. Now in the Carava barn and protected in her first start for new connections, the daughter of Wildcat Heir has a prior win over the Santa Anita main track, a good outside draw, and two easy works since raced. She’s hooking more heat today but has shown in the past the ability to stalk and pounce so Roman has that option if the race flow dictates it.
RACE 9: Post 4:07 PT. Grade: B+
Single: 5-Der Lu
Forecast: Of the six runners in the Chandelier Stakes, Der Lu may be the most likely to enjoy the race’s two-turn trip. The daughter of Orb stalked the pace in her sprint debut before opening up resolutely when set down to win clear like a filly who was just getting warmed up. The number was legit, too. Her workouts since that early August victory have been strong for Baffert – she had a “Best of the Morning” drill recently (see workout) - so we’re expecting her to take this step up in class in stride. Morning line favorite (9/5) Bellafina is a quality sprinter but she took forever (final quarter mile in 28 seconds) to win the Del Mar Debutante while giving every indication that seven furlongs was just about as far as she wants to go (and she didn’t change leads, either). She removes blinkers, so maybe they’ll try to rate her. Meanwhile, Mother Mother, second in the Debutante after making the running, adds blinkers today and lands the rail, so perhaps she’ll inherit the role as the pacesetter. Bottom line is that Der Lu is the one filly in the field that is almost certain to run a well routing as sprinting (or better), so let’s take a stand and single her in our rolling exotics and hope to get close to her 4-1 morning line in the straight pool.
RACE 10: Post 4:41 PT. Grade: B
Use: 6-Vasilika; 8-Cambodia
Forecast: Vasilika has won six straight and eight of her last nine, most recently defeating runner-up Cambodia by a bit more than a length in the John C. Mabee Stakes at Del Mar. This edition of the Rodeo Drive Stakes over 10 furlongs is a rematch, with Vasilika picking up four lbs. while Cambodia two pounds, for those who think weight matters. We’ll stick with Vasilika as a top pick while recognizing that Cambodia’s best effort could easily be good enough to turn the tables.
RACE 11: Post 5:12 PT. Grade: X
Use: 5-West Coast; 6-Accelerate
Forecast: Both West Coast and Accelerate are using the Awesome Again Stakes as a prep for the Breeders’ Cup but Accelerate has been racing right along while West Coast has been off since the Dubai World Cup in late March. Fresh from a dominating win in the Pacific Classic, the Sadler-trained horse should be a bit sharper than his main rival, and with wins in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita and the Santa Anita Handicap before that, the son of Lookin At Lucky clearly is no longer just a Del Mar specialist. You can lock up the race using both in rolling exotic play or just stick with Accelerate as a short price single.
RACE 12: Post 5:43 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 5-Hey Negrita; 10-Ms. Bad Behavior
Forecast: Not sure if Hey Negrita is good enough to win this downhill turf sprint stakes for fillies and mares but the rapidly improving daughter of Langfuhr must be considered strongly in rolling exotic play and even in the straight pool if you can get close to her morning line of 5-1. She was visually quite pleasing winning a first level allowance two-turn miler at Del Mar last time out while earning a career top speed figure, and today’s turn back in trip shouldn’t bother her in the least, as her only prior sprint outing resulted in a facile debut maiden win over the all-weather surface at Turfway Park. When fillies start to get good for Baltas, they usually stay good, so we’ll see if she can produce the last run under Van Dyke. Ms. Bad Behavior also sports the route-to-sprint angle, having finished a respectable fourth (beaten three lengths) in the Del Mar Oaks last month. She’s won over the tricky Hillside Course in the past and is reunited with “win” rider Desormeaux, who should have her in a perfect pace-stalking position from the get go. These are the two we’ll be using on our rolling exotics; Hey Negrita will be the better price so we’ll have a few extra tickets keying her on top.