Jeff Siegel’s Blog: Santa Anita Black Book


(For the week of March 24-27)

 DIS SMART CAT (March 24th, 6th race) – First-timer by Square Eddie didn’t receive all that much wagering action (6-1) but won like an odds-on favorite, pressing the early pace and then drawing impressively to record a 10 ¼ length triumph in fast time for trainer Matt Chew. California-bred sophomore filly is eligible to return in a starter’s allowance race and then still will have all of her allowance conditions at her disposal. Speedy filly should stay at least a mile, so there should be plenty of additionally winnable races for her throughout the spring.

DRESSED to a T (March 24th, 5th race) – Produced a strong but premature move entering the far turn, was caught very wide when vying for the lead, hit the front entering the lane and then battled bravely to the wire but missed by a head to Hiking in a gallant effort. The Ben Cecil-trained filly clearly would have won with a more patient (and ground-saving) ride, but the good news is that she gets another crack at similar entry-level allowance foes again next time. Turf specialist can handle any distance and seems likely to benefit from a jockey switch in her next outing.

EXCESSIVE KID (March 25th, 5th race) – Gradually rounding to his best form and seems ready to break through with a win following a strong runner-up try over 10 furlongs on turf when facing first-level allowance company. The Carla Gaines-trained five-year-old lacks a true turn of foot but can grind it out all day, so we’d especially like to see him at a marathon (12-furlong) trip next time out. Lightly-raced five-year-old has only four career outings, so improvement is likely with additional distance and experience.

HAWK (March 26th, 2nd race) – First-time starter by Fusaichi Pegasus predictably broke slowly from the rail sprinting and fell far back to trail by 10 lengths to the top of the lane, then found his best stride when straightened for home and finished with good energy without being knocked about, winding up fourth but only a length behind the second place finisher. Galloped out well and seems sure to improve a bunch next time for top trainer Richard Mandella, especially when given more distance to work with. Worth another look vs. maiden special weight company and should be a decent price.

PAPA JOEY (March 27th, 10th race) – Second-time starter made up a world of ground but simply ran out of room when winding up second, beaten less than two lengths, in state-bred Hillside Turf Course sprint won by Silver Summer. Sophomore gelding now has two good sprints under his belt and should be set to stretch out and win next time out for top trainer Phil D’Amato. Son of Papa Clem has yet to try dirt, but shouldn’t be inconvenienced by any surface.



(For the week of March 17-20)

 BELLEMENTARY (March 18th, 6th race) – Could not have been more impressive than she was winning her sophomore debut for trainer Phil D’Amato, and almost certainly will be a major player in 3-year-old fillies stakes around these part during the spring. The daughter of Bellamy Road graduated around two turns last October so you now she can run long, but the way she handled this competitive seven furlong first-level allowance field indicates she can be dangerous in good company either sprinting or routing. Her 3 ¼ length win – accomplished under a nice late hold without being asked for her best – rates a value of at least five lengths. Not ready for Songbird yet, but shouldn’t have to duck anything else on this circuit.

 BROWN’S BABY BOY (March 18th, 5th race) – Debuted in an expensive maiden claimer and may have been worth the money despite finishing second behind favored Gramsson in a surprisingly strong race for the level. Homebred son of Big Brown lacked early speed while settling in mid-pack, found his best stride inside the furlong pole and took hold to finish fastest of all, beaten a length and one-half before galloping out full of run far in front to the clubhouse turn. You’ll probably see him raised to straight maiden company next time; we wouldn’t be surprised if he’s tried over a distance of ground on turf, conditions for which he certainly is bred. Has a chance to develop into a decent sort for trainer Peter Eurton.

 HOTSY DOTSY (March 19th, 10th race) – First time starter by Unusual Heat wound up fourth in her debut in a hot race won by another debut runner, Tuscany Beauty, but made a very favorable impression in defeat and surely will go on to do some good things with added experience. The Scott Hansen-trained filly was far back early, commenced her rally wide into the lane and finished fastest of all to be beaten about six lengths before galloping out strongly past the clubhouse turn. Bred for turf and should stay a mile, so this San Luis Rey Downs shipper should be followed no matter why type of race she shows up in next time out.

 INFINITE LOOP (March 19th, 5th race) – Improving as gets acclimated and should be ready to finally earn his diploma next time for the Neil Drysdale barn. Made his U.S. debut down the hill last month when closing some ground late to finish fourth and then improved to wind up third when stretching out to a mile despite not getting the best of runs through the lane. Placed in 10 furlong events in Ireland last year, so the longer the better for this son of Unusual Heat. Next time, with more distance, he’ll be very hard to keep out of the winner’s circle.

MT VEEDER (March 20th, 8th race) – Appeared a bit rusty in his first start since September, and after breaking last from the rail and trailing early, the Bob Baffert-trained colt put in a nice late run to finish a steady third behind Iron Rob and Denman’s Call in a fast edition of the San Pedro Stakes. The lightly-raced son of Ghostzapper won a maiden and an allowance race during his juvenile campaign, so he’s really not eligible to anything other stakes if wants to remain with his own age group throughout the spring. Though he was unplaced in his only try around two turns last year (winding up sixth behind champion Nyquist in the FrontRunner S.-G1), he acts like he’ll eventually handle a mile, so Baffert has a few options. Grass shouldn’t be out of the question, either. Should be much fitter and sharper next time, no matter where he shows up.

TWIRLING TIGER (March 17th, 1st race) – Was best when beaten in $50,000 claiming turf miler for 3-year-olds and appears to have been a shrewd claim by trainer Tim Yakteen. Sophomore gelding has a reputation as a non-winner – and with one victory and eight seconds in 13 lifetime starts it’s probably somewhat deserved – but with better racing luck he surely would have been able to turn the tables on Colour Me Happy, who parlayed a perfect rally-wide trip to a half-length victory. Meanwhile, ‘Tiger lost all of his momentum when running into a roadblock entering the lane, recovered to loom a threat inside the furlong pole but just missed. When facing high priced claimers on turf over a distance of ground next time for his new connections, this son of Twirling Candy should finally get back on the winning track.



(For the week of March 10-13)

 ILLUMINANT (March 10th, 7th race) – This lightly-raced daughter of Quality Road does one thing very well – she routes on grass – and if kept on the lawn over a distance of ground she’ll maximize her potential. She’s had three such outings and the results are a nose defeat and then two thoroughly convincing daylight wins, most recently in a strong second-level allowance grass miler by more than four lengths. In this race she settled into an ideal stalking spot, accelerated quickly when turned loose, and then drew off to record a career top speed figure. Ready for listed stakes company and under these conditions the Mike McCarthy-trained four-year-old should easily be up to the task.

PEPPERMINT ZIP (March 11th, 6th race) – Second-time starter finished far back in his only prior outing last summer when beaten 18 lengths in a five furlong dash won by Nyquist but returned a much better colt when winning an off-the-turf maiden special weight sprint over a sloppy track while on the pace throughout. The race didn’t earn much of a speed figure, but since he’s a colt by City Zip he likely won’t reach his potential until getting his chance on grass. Next time, against a non-winners of two field down the Hillside course, the Phil D’Amato-trained colt should be an overlay (due to his weak number) but we won’t be surprised if he steps forward in a big way over a grass surface that he’s bred to love.

ROCKET FUEL (March 13th, 1st race) – Was extremely well-meant in his long-awaited racing debut but hooked a monster in Tribal Fighter and had to settle for second, beaten a little more than two lengths while nine lengths clear of the third horse in a fast, highly-rated state-bred dash. Gelded son of Cyclotron in the Bruce Headley barn is well-named – he’s a rocket – and next time vs. the same type of Cal-bred field he figures to be long gone.

STREET SWEETS (March 12th, 4th race) – First-timer starter walked out of the gate to be far behind early, found her best stride into the lane and made up a ton of ground to finish full of run when second to the equally promising Street Surrender while clearly needing the race and more ground to work with. Daughter of Street Sense should improve a ton with this experience behind her, so next time, assuming she breaks with her field, the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained sophomore figures to graduate. Would like to see her return in an extended sprint, or perhaps a Hillside turf maiden affair.

WEST MID (March 12th, 1st race) – Was victimized by a poor rail draw and traffic trouble in mid-stretch yet to kept to her task and wound up a willing third in a legitimate starter’s allowance sprint for fillies and mares. Likes to settle and make a run, and next time in an extended sprint with a bit more pace up front this daughter of Western Fame could produce a serious late bid. Connections don’t win very often, which is why this 4-year-old mare always leaves at a square price.

ZIP N BAYOU (March 12th, 2nd race) – Progressive filly was impressive breaking her maiden down the Hillside course two races back but didn’t get a chance to duplicate that effort when her allowance race was switched to the main track due to the rain. The daughter of City Zip seems considerably better on grass, but still performed well when second to the razor sharp Revenue Virginius while more than six clear of the rest. When switched back to turf next time this Jerry Hollendorfer-trained 4-year-old should get back on the winning track.



(For the week of March 3-6)

ATYPIQUE (March 5th, 1st race) – First-time starter by Tapit hadn’t shown much in the morning when working on dirt, but performed considerably better than expected when a fast-finishing runner-up in a downhill dash for older maidens. Was allowed to settle in mid-pack for the opening half, found room to rally and took hold to finish full of run behind the more experienced True Image while well clear of the rest. This Richard Mandella-trained colt is a much better mover on turf than he showed in his a.m. dirt drills, so we’re expecting this grandson of champion Halfbridled to remain on the sod. Next time, under these conditions or perhaps over a distance of ground, the good-looking grey will be hard to beat.

CHINA GIRL LOVER (March 3rd, 7th race) – Had his two-race winning streak snapped when winding up third, beaten a diminishing length, in a strong second-level allowance affair over 10 furlongs on turf. Certainly ran a winning race in defeat, and had jockey Dylan Van Dyke been able to save any ground whatsoever and find some cover along the way, this hard-knocking son of Lawyer Ron would have been along in plenty of time. It’s to his credit, given his atrocious trip that he finished as close as he did. Next time, with a decent journey, the Dan Hendricks-trained gelding should have no difficulties against similar opposition.

EL HUERFANO (March 6th, 5th race) – Was badly victimized by an extremely wide trip every step of the way and may have lost more ground than he was beaten by when winding up third behind the rail-skimming, front-running Lieutenant Colonel in a tougher-than-par second level allowance main track middle distance event. Had been a fairly useful performer on the Northern California circuit prior to being sent south to join the Peter Miller barn, and based on this race the California-bred colt looks to be considerably improved for his new stable. Can handle any surface – he was a stakes winner on dirt and stakes-placed on turf up north – so wherever he shows up next against similar competition he should be hard to handle with good racing luck.

FAITHFULLY (March 3rd, 6th race) – Despite still being a maiden after three starts, this Bob Baffert-trained filly has a chance to develop into a real nice sort in due time and seems set to earn her diploma in her next outing after a troubled runner-up try in a main track mile event. Was within range throughout but was caught in heavy traffic from the half-mile until being straightened form home, and once room materialized she finished eagerly but too late to catch Makena, who had gotten the jump on her with an in-the-clear wide rally on the stretch turn. A granddaughter of the superb race mare Heavenly Prize, this late-developing daughter of Smart Strike will run all day (and perhaps on turf as well), so we’re expecting her to graduate in her next start and then rise up the ladder thereafter.

INDYGO HOLIDAY (March 3, 2016) – Just starting to figure things out as a 4-year-old maiden claimer and should produce another forward move after improving considerably between his first and second race for trainer Sean McCarthy. Closed gap after a rough start when fifth in a bottom-rung maiden $20,000 sprint in his debut and then stepped forward big time when raised all the way up to the maiden $50,000 level while stretching out to a mile in his next start. Settled within range, had his best bid wide into the lane to vie for the lead, continued gamely until inside the sixteenth pole but weakened late and wound up fourth, beaten just over two lengths. Should be fitter and tougher next time and is worth strong consideration against a similar field on either dirt or turf.

MYSTERIOUS MIRACLE (March 3rd, 5th race) – Was used on the pace in her debut and faded when it counted, but employed a much different strategy in her second career start and improved a ton when a sharp runner-up behind Boat Drinks in downhill turf sprint for fillies and mares. The daughter of Congrats was taken back and allowed to settle by Prat, took hold crossing the dirt, angled outside for room and finished eagerly while well clear of the others. If she continues to progress with experience as expected, the daughter of Congrats should earn her diploma next time under similar conditions and could eventually be just as effective if not more so around two-turns, so trainer Phil D’Amato has a few options.

ONZAWAY (March 5th, 4th race) – Trainer John Shirreffs doesn’t often win with first-time starters, so not too much was expected when this daughter of Arch made her racing debut in a maiden special weight turf affair over a mile. Was taken back and allowed to lag to the top of the stretch, was asked to pick it up by jockey Alex Solis and responded quite willingly while making up considerable ground in the final furlong, eventually winding up fifth, beaten 3 ¼ diminishing lengths. Galloped out strongly and was past the entire field before the clubhouse turn while giving indication that she’ll appreciate more ground next time. Looks ready to earn her diploma when facing similar maiden company next time out.

SAVANNAH SKY (March 5th, 6th race) – Comebacking daughter of Sky Mesa picked a tough spot for her first outing since August and did well to finish a willing fourth despite suffering an obvious case of rust. Settled in mid-pack to the turn, moved within range while saving ground into the lane, continued gamely to the wire but ran out of steam late while in dire need of the race. The Richard Batas-trained 4-year-olds was making just her seventh lifetime start so she still has plenty of room to improve, and we’re expecting her to show it next time against a similar band of first-level allowance fillies and mares. Hasn’t yet been given a chance on turf and we’d love to see her afforded that opportunity next time out.



(For the week of February 25-28)

 ALWAZABRIDESMAID (Feb. 27th, 8th race) – Was making just her fifth career start, but, significantly, her first in blinkers, and the daughter of Kafwain left her previous form far behind with a dominating state-bred first level allowance score by more than six widening lengths. The Jerry Hollendorfer-trained 4-year-old might be able to handle a mile in due time, but for now she’s probably best left sprinting. Employs an effective stalking style and looks quite capable of moving up the ladder, especially as she becomes more experienced.

AUDACIOUS ANGEL (Feb. 27th, 9th race) – Daughter of City Zip was trying grass for the first time but it wasn’t the surface that got her beat; rather an unlucky trip that saw her lack room inside when attempting to rally through the stretch which eventually led to a fifth place finish, beaten just over two lengths. The Eddie Truman-trained filly has the potential to become a nice late-running turf sprinter, but first things first and that’s a maiden breaking effort against a similar group of 3-year-old fillies next time. Needs the same kind of ride, minus the trouble.

INSUBORDINATION (Feb. 25th, 8th race) – Was extremely well-meant in his racing debut but wound up two heads shy of winning when having to settle for third in a maiden special weight mile event on turf for 3-year-olds. Settled in mid-pack early, went after the leaders while being caught wide on the turn, loomed a bold threat entering the lane while battling for the lead but just fell short. Should benefit greatly from the outing and will be very hard to beat vs. the same group next time. Gelding has a chance to develop into a useful type and falls into the category of “must follow.”

KISS AT MIDNIGHT (Feb. 27th, 2nd race) – We had our doubts whether this daughter of Decarchy wanted to run long and/or on turf, but she passed the test when an excellent runner-up to Bert’s Melody in what turned out to be a fast, highly-rated first-level allowance event. Settled off the pace to the head of the lane, found room to rally inside the furlong pole and finished with good energy to be second while merely running of ground late. Now that she’s shown she can do this, trainer Richard Baltas has some options. Next time we’re expecting this ex-claimer to produce a winning late bid.

MALIBU SUNSET (Feb. 28th, 3rd race) – Didn’t record a particular fast time (1:37.97) but unbeaten son of Bernardini was as visually impressive as you could hope for in a representative first-level allowance race over a mile. Easily pressed the soft pace while well in hand, picked it up willingly when straightened for home and won without ever being asked for anything near his best, checking 1 ½ lengths in front in a margin of victory that doesn’t accurately reflect his superiority. Has a chance to become an important member of this class, and likely will be seen in a second tier stakes race for 3-year-olds next time out.

WATCH ME NOW (Feb. 26th, 9th race) – Was absolutely best in her racing debut vs. maiden $30,000 3-year-old fillies but suffered from bad racing luck and passive ride, resulting in a third place finish, beaten less than two lengths for all the money. Broke slowly and lost early position, moved within range without being sent hard midway, was caught extremely wide when passing foes on the turn and was fanned out into the lane, started to pick up ground again but was taken in hand at the sixteenth pole and allowed to finish on her own courage, perhaps costing her a better finishing position. The 3-year-old state-bred daughter of Don’tsellmeshort won’t likely make any mistakes against similar competition next time.



(For the week of February 15-21)

EVERQUEEN (Feb. 19th, 7th race) – Broke her maiden in a $75,000 claiming race last month and did so nicely, but it was her most recent victory – in a legitimate first-level allowance field – that really turned heads. The Ron Ellis-trained sophomore filly pressed the pace 1-off the rail to the head of the lane, then kicked clear quickly when given the cue and drew off powerfully to record a 2 ½ length score in 1:09.34 with a final furlong in an eye-catching :11.43. By Colonel John so she’s clearly bred to run farther, this rapidly improving filly could easily show up in stakes competition next time out. Don’t underestimate.

MONTEGO BAY (Feb. 21st, 5th race) – Seven-year-old has been to the post only 12 times during his career but now seems as healthy as he’s ever been. Returned off a six month layoff when surfacing for a $40,000 tag and was very well-meant, only to run out of room and finish second by a diminishing half-length in a better-than-par one mile grass affair. The Neil Drysdale-trained gelding is a one-paced grinder and probably will appreciate a bit more ground next time. If he came out of the race as well as he went into it, the son of War Chant should be able to produce a winning bid next time vs. similar.

MOONLIGHT DRIVE-ITY (Feb. 15th, 3rd race) – Raced in good company as a juvenile in Italy, placing in a pair of listed stakes, but seems a lot better than that based on this very impressive U.S. debut vs. first-level allowance 3-year-olds. Settled off the leaders while well in hand, was asked for run midway on turn while wide, gained complete control with authority once straightened for home and drew clear as much best. Had trained quite well on the dirt, so trainer Bob Baffert may have that option. Son of Red Rocks should run all day and probably deserves a chance in a Derby prep-type of race. Exciting prospect.

PAPA TURF (Feb. 20th, 1st race) – Had the misfortune of drawing the rail and catching a track that was not kind to inside speed, so when this veteran gelding established the pace and held on bravely to be second behind perfect tripper Airfoil, it was a noteworthy performance, indeed. Seems most effective when held up early in a stalking position and allowed to run late, so next time, with a more comfortable draw, this James Kasparoff-trained gelding could be very tough to deny. Fits in the $40,000 claiming bracket and can equally dangerous extended sprints up to seven furlongs.

PROWLING AROUND (Feb. 21st, 9th race) – First-time starter predictably broke slowly from her rail post position and then fell far out of it down the backstretch, but showed some grit to work her way into contention while wide into the lane and finished willingly to be third, beaten around five lengths. It wasn’t the world’s strongest maiden $30,000 claiming field, but this daughter of Ministers Wild Cat will benefit greatly from the experience and be tough to beat vs. the same type of competition next time. Added distance certainly won’t hurt this Steve Miyadi-trained sophomore.

RIGHTEOUS RULER (Feb. 15th, 6th race) – Debuting son of Tribal Ruler received plenty of wagering support and didn’t disappoint, scoring in clever fashion with a steady late bid in a representative field of California-bred 3-year-olds at the abbreviated distance of five and one-half furlongs. Settled in mid-pack while lacking good gate zip, steadily moved within range on the turn, angled wide and kept on coming to be up in time.   Probably will appreciate an extended sprint next time. Chance to be a very useful sort for the Cliff Sise, Jr. barn and should be followed up the ladder.

SHAZARA (Feb. 19th, 5th race) – Stood in the gate and lost all chance at the start in her racing debut vs. maiden special weight foes in an off-the-turf main track miler, but it was what she did late that caught the eye. Daughter of El Corredor found her stride into the lane and finished eagerly to be third, beaten only 5 ¾ lengths after giving away at least that and probably more at the break. Figures to improve a ton with this experience behind her for trainer John Shirreffs, so next time, perhaps on turf, she can earn her diploma at what should be a decent price.

TOUGH BUT NICE (Feb. 20th, 5th race) – Made this list two weeks ago and reappears after a very impressive first-level allowance sprint win vs. state-bred sophomores. Was always close up, responded when set down and drew clear with complete authority to earn a career top speed figure in just his fourth career start. This Hector Palma-trained colt can handle the dirt but his pedigree suggests he’ll be even more effective on grass. Would love to see him next time in a Hillside Turf sprint, even if matched with stakes-type competition. Not the smoothest of movers but sure gets where he needs to go in a hurry.



(For the week of February 11-14)

BOLO (Feb. 13th, 6th race) – There was nothing flukish about his victory in the Arcadia S.-2; it was superb on every level and stamps this son of Temple City as a major player in the older middle distance turf division, assuming that’s where he’s kept. Had been away since last summer and was tackling older foes for the first time, but, no matter, the Carla-Gaines-trained colt stalked favored Obviously throughout and simply wore that one down to run the mile in 1:33 flat and earn a career top speed figure. Clearly much better on turf than dirt and let’s hope he stays on the sod from here on in.

CALCULATOR (Feb. 13th, 7th race) – Was considered in some corners to be the second best 3-year-old prospect in the West last year behind American Pharoah, but after winning the Sham S.-G3 in January of 2015, the son of In Summation suffered an injury and missed the remainder of the year. However, he apparently has come back better than ever. Broke poorly and spotted the field at least five lengths, moved up quickly to be within range, circled the field to take control at the head of the lane, then fought off the perfect tripper (and previously unbeaten) Fusaichi Samurai) to win this seven furlong first-level allowance sprint bravely while earning a strong speed figure. Has a chance to be one of the better middle distance performers in the west if he can stay healthy.

COUNTRY ROAD (Feb. 12th, 5th race) – Trainer Neil Drysdale very rarely wins with first-time starters, so not much was expected from this debuting son of Thorn Song , who left at 18-1 in state-bred maiden special weight sprint down the hill. Broke slowly and lacked early speed (as expected) but responded late and finished with interest to be a promising third while needing the race badly. Bred to run on and should improve with experience and distance. No world beater, but won’t have to be against the type of competition he’ll be facing.

CRIMSON AND GOLD (Feb. 13th, 5th race) – Trained well leading up to her debut but didn’t receive much action (11-1) in a tough, contentious maiden special weight maiden track sprint. However, she ran to her works when rallying late finish a strong second behind the more experienced Always Believe and should be able to build on this performance for trainer Paddy Gallagher. Has speed, but apparently wants to settle and produce a run, so next time, with a bit more ground to work with, good-looking filly by Distorted Humor should be along in time. Nice prospect.

HOW UNUSUAL (Feb. 14th, 8th race) – Daughter of Unusual Heat was absurdly asked to face stakes competition in her racing debut in the Sweet Life down the hillside course and left at 50-1. Under the circumstances, she actually didn’t run all that badly, dropping far back early but then producing a good mid-race move to be within range after a half, only to run out of steam in the final sixteenth of a mile. She wound up seventh, beaten seven lengths, and that wasn’t terrible considering the competition. Next time, when realistically spotted vs. state-bred maiden sophomore fillies, she should run a whole lot better and be tough to deny.

LADY VALEUR-IR (Feb. 13th, 9th race) – Has a chance to be a major player in the sophomore filly turf division based on this eye-opening maiden special weight romp over a nine furlongs. Settled into a good stalking spot to the head of the lane, then took complete control when ready to win off by herself with plenty left in the tank. With just three starts under her belt, the Irish-bred filly has plenty of room for further development and mostly likely will be seen in added money events from here on in. Probably effective at a mile but should be at her best at nine furlongs and farther.

MALKO-IRE (Feb. 14th, 6th race) – Finished third at 9-1 when beaten just over a length in a first-level turf marathon and lost much more ground than he was beaten by when racing wide without cover every step of the way. Hit the front in mid-stretch, opened up a two length lead, but paid the price late and was worn down. Next time, against the same group, he’ll have no trouble against this same bunch with any time of decent, ground-saving journey. Relatively lightly-raced for Callaghan and has a pedigree that should allow him to develop with maturity. Decent type, for sure.

SENSITIVELY (Feb. 14th, 4th race) – Broke her maiden by a pole in her debut last year like a top prospect, but then went into the tank and never showed anywhere near that promise in three subsequent 2015 outings. Returned off a five month layoff for top trainer Phil D’Amato and was back on the beam, winning a first-level allowance sprint with speed to spare while earning a giant speed figure. Turns out she had a blood disorder that had knocked her flat, but that issue has been resolved so we expect this rapid daughter of Street Sense to maintain consistency this time around and perhaps stretch out successfully in due time. Up the ladder.



(For the week of February 11-14. 2016)

ADAIR (Feb. 4th, 8th race) – Making just his third career start as a newly-turned 4-year-old, bottom-rung maiden claimer had the misfortune of catching class dropper Uptown Rythem and had to settle for second after forcing the pace under constant pressure throughout. Though unable to withstand the winner, the Phil D’Amato-trained colt wound up three clear of the rest in a fast, highly-rated race for the level. Son of Tannersmyman also had finished second in his previous race, another highly-rated (and productive) event. Should be a short price to graduate next time even if raised to the M32,000 or M40,000 level.

CALM THE SEA (Feb. 5th, 3rd race) – Seemingly took forever for well-regarded filly to make it to the races – she worked six furlongs in 1:10 4/5 from the gate way back last May but then had to be stopped on – but the wait was worth it as the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained filly was highly impressive in her debut performance. Didn’t break all that well but moved quickly to be within range, responded when asked to accelerate into the lane and overpowered her rivals to win going away with an impressive speed figure. Assuming she came out of the race as well as she went into it, daughter of Stormy Atlantic seems capable of winning right back on the raise and moving up the class ladder from there. Bred to sprint but moves like a router, so her connections have the option of stretching her out right now or giving her one more run before trying her long.

DANZING CANDY (Feb. 4th, 7th race) – Son of Twirling Candy followed up a clever seven furlong maiden score with a gate-to-wire tally by more than five lengths while being raised to the first-level allowance condition and clearly is a colt with potential.   His speed figure indicates he’ll be a strong threat vs. stakes types on this circuit and a possible Derby candidate; however, the son of Twirling Candy still has plenty to prove, as this victory was accomplished under pristine conditions, which is to say on the lead without any pressure. He might not be a need-the-lead type, but if he is, he’s surely going to be tested next time out and thus we would treat this race, and his previous form, with some degree of caution.

FOURTH WATCH (Feb. 6th, 3rd race) – Daughter of Tapit hadn’t trained like much at all on dirt leading up to her racing debut but it wasn’t surprising that she performed much better when the lights were on, and over turf for which she was bred to excel. Half-sister to Eddie Read S.-G1 winner Jeranimo flashed tactical speed few knew she had to be within striking range and then exploded when room developed inside the furlong pole to win going away while displaying a long stride and athletic action. Clearly won’t be inconvenienced by added ground and has the makings of a very good grass performer. Take her right back on the one-level raise and then expect this Carla Gaines-trained filly to show up in added money events soon after.

GIANT EXPECTATIONS (Feb. 6th, 9th race) – Had trained like a very nice prospect leading up to his racing debut, but the son of Frost Giant had displayed some bad habits at the gate in his morning preparation so it was not surprising that he broke poorly and lost all chance at the start in what was a loaded race for maiden special weight 3-year-olds. However, after spotting the field several lengths at the break, the Peter Miller-trained colt – a $135,000 2-year-old in training buy last March in Ocala – produced an excellent display of speed to move within range into the lane and from there kept on nicely to win up fourth, beaten only 4 ½ lengths by future star Ten Blessings. Needs more work at the gate – and will get plenty of it before his next race – and when he conquers the problem he’ll have a chance to become productive race horse.

MELATONIN (Feb. 5th, 5th race) – Finally got a chance to show his stuff routing in his 10th career start and ran like he should have been two-turning all along. The Dave Hofmans-trained gelding, exiting a series of decent sprints (including a 3rd place finish in the Eddie D S.-G3 down the hill two races back) was sharp on the stretch out and after stalking the pace in hand, took control when ready into the lane to draw off in powerful fashion while earning a career top speed figure. The competition will get tougher from here on in, but the son of Kodiak Kowboy seems ready to take on listed stakes types on this circuit, or perhaps up north. No more sprints, please.

MISS DOUBLE D’ORO (Feb. 5th, 4th race) – Was nosed out in her comeback down the hill last month and appeared ready to stretch out and win, but found nine furlongs out of her range, and after looming a strong threat wide in to stretch ran out of steam and faded readily in the final stages, winding up fourth. The daughter of Medaglia d’Oro can handle two turns; however, a mile is her optimum trip so if she catches a similar band of second-level allowance fillies and mares at that distance the Neil Drysdale-trained filly should be able to make amends for this failure as the favorite.

TOUGH BUT NICE (Feb. 6th, 1st race) – Was best when beaten in a competitive starter’s allowance sprint but to add insult to injury, not only did he not win, the Hector Palma-trained colt was disqualified from second to third for trying to bull his way through traffic in deep stretch. The Kentucky-bred colt had the misfortune of drawing the rail in what was just his third career start; with any kind of decent draw he surely would have avoided the trouble that he encountered entering the far turn (forced to steady in tight quarters), not to mention the lack of a clear path in the final furlong. Against a similar field next time – especially if given the chance to run over the surface he’s bred for (turf) – the son of Good Journey should have no difficulty returning to the winner’s circle and the moving up the ladder from there.


Jeff Siegel’s Blog: Santa Anita Black Book

Jeff Siegel's Blog |

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