by Jeff Siegel
May 26, 2023
Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s Daily Santa Anita Handicapping Analysis, Wagering Strategies, and Workout Commentary identify those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.
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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+
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 2-Collectmythoughts 5-Sweet Mother May.
Forecast: Collectmythoughts broke poorly but then displayed good speed to move within range to the top of the lane before understandably fading out of the picture in a very fast, highly-rated race in her debut last month. A healthy series of three workouts indicates she came out of the race in good fashion, so with this drop into a restricted maiden special weight dash, the Brian Koriner-trained filly should be able to show her best stuff with a clean break from the gate. We like her on top but will also include the first timer Sweet Mother May, a good moving, athletic filly by West Coast from the Ron Ellis barn. She has dome some decent work in the morning, and while she’s probably not a quick sprinter type she could make her presence felt late.
RACE 2: Post: 1:30 PT Grade: C+
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 3-Slam Diego; 5-Tiergarten
Backups/savers: 4-Rose Barton.
Forecast: Slam Diego didn’t get the best of runs (squeezed back early, in heavy traffic late) when fifth beaten only two lengths in a similar starter optional claiming turf miler in early April and with a clean journey today she’ll be a major player in this five runner affair. In a race that seems certain to be slowly run early, the Peter Miller-trained filly is likely to inherit an ideal stalking trip and then have every chance to wear down the projected pacesetter Tiergarten close home. The latter can be the controlling speed if her connections choose that strategy and given that type of trip the recent $50,000 claim by Steve Knapp could win right back, though she’ll probably need a career top speed figure to do so. Rose Barton is worth tossing in as a backup. She has overseas form that is good enough to beat this field, and with the switch to the barn’s “go to” rider Kent Desormeaux, the return to turf, and the addition of blinkers, the Irish-bred filly has a right to step forward considerably.
RACE 3: Post: 2:01 PT Grade: X
Main ticket (in order of preference): 5-Worcester
Backups/savers: 4-Smart Mo
Forecast: Worcester is listed as the 3/5 morning line favorite in this five runner maiden main track miler and based on speed figures he’s a complete standout in his first start since returning from Dubai and an unsuccessful (to say the least) run in the UAE Derby-G2 in late March. His recent workouts have been okay, nothing great, so he’s probably not the type to take a real short price on, though he’ll need to regress considerably from his winter form to blow this opportunity. Smart Mo definitely has some ability, but the barn hardly ever cranks up its young stock first time out, so whatever you get today you’ll likely see better next time.
RACE 4: Post: 2:36 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket (in order of preference): 2-Good Boo Joo
Backups/Savers: 1-Awesome Taylor
Forecast: Good Boo Joo is well-placed to regain her winning form in this restricted (nw-2) $32,000 claiming turf miler for fillies and mares. She exits a series of tougher starter allowance events with speed figures that are considerably better than par for this level, so with a projected pace stalking trip (or as the controlling speed if Awesome Taylor doesn’t go from the rail) the daughter of Grazen should have no excuses. ‘Taylor shows up for a tag for the first time since her debut in October of 2021 and will greatly appreciate the softer assignment. He best chance is to make the running from the rail and hang on in a field lacking in closers.
RACE 5: Post: 3:08 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 1-Clooney; 8-Tiz Tok
Forecast: Clooney earned a career top speed figure (by far) when winning a restricted maiden special weight event over this track and distance last month and if he can turn in two alike the City of Light gelding should be capable of scoring right back in this starter optional claiming event. The lightly raced sophomore is guaranteed an ideal ground-saving, second flight and then be poised to pounce at the top of the lane. His John Sadler-trained stablemate Tiz Tok is the one he'll have to worry about the most. He was disappointing when beaten at 6/5 in the Turf Paradise Derby in mid-March but has been training like a much better type since returning from Arizona and his highly rated maiden $40,000 win two races back charts very well in this spot. Recent workouts indicate he’s ready for a significant forward move, though a good a trip from his extreme outside post may be a bit problematic.
RACE 6: Post: 3:40 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket (in order of preference): 4-Please Focus; 8-Inch
Forecast: Here’s a fairly contentious grass dash that requires some coverage in rolling exotic play. Please Focus has the route-to-sprint angle that we like, and though he managed to hang on and win over a mile last time out he seems most effective around one turf, having earned a career top speed figure when capturing a quick sprint three races back under these conditions. Top rider Juan Hernandez stays aboard and knows him well and should have this Irish-bred gelding on or near the lead throughout. Deep closing sprinter Inch is usually too little and too late (he has two wins and seven seconds and thirds) but if a pace meltdown materializes the Violence gelding may be heard from in the closing stages. He has a prior win over the course and recent numbers that are competitive. Thunderheart earned a strong speed figure when winning a restricted $32,000 claiming sprint over this course and distance last month, and if the Keith Craigmyle-trained gelding can repeat that type of performance in this stronger starter’s allowance dash the son of Dasher may be able to win right back. But that’s hardly a sure thing, since the opening quarter (:22 /35) of that race was soft and today’s race potentially contains quite a bit more heat. We’ll include him as backup but nothing more.
RACE 7: Post: 4:11 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 6-Organic
Forecast: Organic appeared home free after opening up in mid-stretch in a similar state-bred maiden sprint for fillies and mares earlier this month but hit a wall close home and was tagged in the closing stages. She shortens up a furlong today in her second start off a layoff, has worked twice since raced, and should be able to outrun this group unless one of the first timers is better than the works indicate. At or near her morning line of 5-1 the Neil Drysdale-trained daughter of Dads Cap is worth an aggressive play in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics.
RACE 8: Post: 4:44 PT Grade: C+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 7-Big Clare; 6-Sunshine Babe;
Forecast: The come-backing Big Clare is good enough to win this grass grab bag for California-bred first level allowance fillies and mares with her best effort, but her overall record (1-for-15 with nine seconds and thirds) makes her difficult to back with any degree of confidence. She is the ultimate one-paced grinder but has numbers from last year that are better than par for this level and she has run well off the bench in the past. Hopefully, her relatively brief work pattern at Los Alamitos will have her tight enough for a stable that excels (23%, strong ROI) with layoff runners. Sunshine Babe is usually a late factor but is another that has had a difficult time sealing the deal (1-for-19 with eight seconds and thirds). She actually has crossed the wire first on two occasions but was disqualified from a win last November at Del Mar. Madiha projects to enjoy a pace stalking trip from her good rail draw and may outrun her morning line of 12-1. She has finished first or second in four of seven career outings over the Santa Anita turf course and could easily hit the board again.