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Jeff Siegel: What You Need to Know - Santa Anita | Saturday, September 30, 2023

by Jeff Siegel

September 30, 2023

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s Daily Santa Anita Handicapping Analysis, & Wagering Strategies 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 Descriptions:
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: A-
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 1-Tapatio Leo
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 2-Double Jab; 9-Catemaco.

Forecast: Tapatio Leo is unproven on grass, but if he can transfer his main track form to turf in this first level allowance dash for Cal-breds, the Peter Miller-trained gelding can score right back after graduating three weeks ago with a powerful speed figure at Del Mar. The son of Stay Thirsty represents inside speed, and if he leaves cleanly from the rail he should be able to outfoot this group every step of the way. He’s generously listed as the second choice on the morning line at 3-1 but it wouldn’t surprise us if he goes favored.


RACE 2: Post: 1:30 PT Grade: C
Main ticket: (in order of preference): 1-Park City; 4-Sippin N Kissin
Backups/Savers/Underneath: none.

Forecast:: This restricted (nw-2) $16,000 claiming miler is a bottom-of-the-barrel affair with nothing to trust. Tread lightly. Park City is less exposed than the other contenders, so we’ll reluctantly go with him on top. He easily disposed of a maiden $20,000 group at Del Mar earlier this month in just his sixth career start while earning a career top speed figure, and from his inside draw the Dan Blacker-trained sophomore is guaranteed an ideal ground-saving trip. He’ll need another forward move to win but may have it in him. On pure form, Sippin N Kissin is the one to beat, but his overall record (1-for-26, winless in eight starts at Santa Anita) combined with his grinding, one-paced style, makes him impossible to back with any degree of confidence. Yet, he actually could win. In a race that is best left alone, we’ll try to survive and advance using just these two.


RACE 3: Post: 2:00 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 4-North East Star
Backups/savers/Underneath: none.

Forecast: With the overnight scratching of Make It Snow, North East Star inherits the role as the strong favorite in this turf sprint for older fillies and mares. She lacks a true turn of foot and has encountered self-caused trouble because of that in her first three local outings, but if she can mount a rally and not get stopped, the Irish-bred sophomore in Phil D’Amato’s barn should earn her diploma in a rather lackluster race for the level.


RACE 4: Post: 2:30 PT Grade: B+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 5-Bartholdy; 6-Tejon Pass
Backups/Savers/Underneath: none.

ForecastThere appears to be two main players in this maiden special weight sprint for juveniles, with the preference on top to the promising first timer Bartholdy. The son of Mendelssohn breezed a furlong in a quick :10 flat at the OBS April sale before bringing $300,000 through the ring, and his local drills have been equally if not more impressive. An exquisite mover with a long, athletic stride, he should be plenty fit and ready for a big try first crack out of the box, so if he makes no mistakes the Simon Callaghan-trained colt should be very difficult to beat. He’s listed at 8-1 on the morning line but we’re not counting on that. Tejon Pass is the best of those that have raced and can be expected to produce a significant forward move after drawing the dreaded rail (and getting left at the gate) in his debut at Del Mar in a fast race won by Slider earlier this month. The son of Justify rallied wide, finished with interest to be a respectable fourth, and could make a serious run for it if he leaves with his field. Mike Smith stays aboard, and the Peter Miller barn has solid stats with the second-time starter angle.


RACE 5: Post: 3:05 PT Grade: X
Main ticket (in order of preference): 2-Impact Warrior
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 4-Cornelia Fort.

Forecast: Impact Warrior should outclass this field. The Irish import finished an excellent second in her U.S. debut at this level in July at Del Mar and then lost nothing in defeat when third behind Anisette in the Del Mar Oaks-G1 in her most recent outing last month. Back with allowance company and switching to top grass rider Umberto Rispoli, the Phil D’Amato-trained filly has a distinct edge in the speed figure department and is likely to verify her short-priced favorite’s role.


RACE 6: Post: 3:37 PT Grade: B-
Main ticket (in order of preference): 2-Dr. Schivel; 3-Arabian Lion; 4-Fort Bragg; 8-Speed Boat Beach
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 7-Sir Atticus; 9-Spirit of Makena.

Forecast: This year’s edition of the Santa Anita Sprint Championship is highly contentious and requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Defending race champion Dr. Schivel is the likely choice and one to beat. He can be a bit lazy in the morning, so his recent drills don’t point him out, but he’s always loved the Santa Anita main track, so you have to expect he’ll deliver one of his better runs today. Meanwhile, trainer Bob Baffert has three legitimate entrants, and while we’re not sure if all three will actually start, each has a right to be included somewhere on your ticket should they do. Arabian Lion was below form when a fading third in the tragedy-marred Jerkens Memorial S.-G1 over a wet track at Saratoga but his sizzling score in the Woody Stephens S.-G1 (109 Beyer figure) two runs back was simply outstanding. However, his workouts in the interim have been good but not great, so we’re not quite sure he’s back to where he was. Stable mates Speed Boat Beach and Fort Bragg have credentials as well; the former has been burning up the track in preparation for his comeback, and since he won his debut we know he can fire fresh, while the latter has been primarily a two-turn runner throughout his career but this shortening in trip makes him intriguing.

RACE 7: Post: 4:09 ET Grade: C+
Main ticket (in order of preference): 9-Sassy Prancelot; 11-Safa; 4-Asada Fries
Backups/Savers/Underneath: none.

Forecast: Sassy Prancelot has been training exclusively at Los Alamitos for her debut so we have no workout videos to lean on but based on her connections and the relative strength (or weakness) of this maiden juvenile filly state-bred turf sprint field she is enticing enough to rate top billing. Bred to win early and attracting top rider Juan Hernandez, the daughter of the good filly sire Sir Prancelot shows a decent series of workout times for trainer Phil D’Amato, and in a field where there is nothing to embrace among those that have raced we’ll make an educated guess while hoping to get near her morning line of 6-1. Safa and Asada Fries, distant two-three finishes behind Mirinda in a fast, highly rated dirt sprint at this level, have a look if they can repeat the same kind of their effort over the local lawn.


RACE 8: Post: 4:41 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 3-Slow Down Andy; 2-Defunded
Backups/Savers/Underneath: none.

Forecast: Slow Down Andy turned in a valiant effort when third in the Pacific Classic-G1 earlier this month, doing as well as he could over a 10 furlong distance that might have been a tad far for him. Today, he cuts back to a mile and one-eighth over a main track we know he likes, so the son of Nyquist should have every chance to secure the first Grade-1 win of his career. The pace projects to be moderate, so we’re expecting the Doug O’Neill-trained colt to be within striking range and have every chance. Defunded is the Awesome Again S.-G1 defending champion and a five time winner over the Santa Anita dirt track. He was off the board in his two Del Mar outings but could easily snap back to top form over a main track he clearly prefers. He switches to speed rider Edwin Maldonado, so we’re expecting to see him on or near the lead throughout.


RACE 9: Post: 5:13 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 6-Lane Way; 7-I’m a Gambler; 2-Bran
Backups/Savers/Underneath: none.

Forecast: Lane Way found five furlongs too sharp when a non-threatening fifth in the Green Flash H.-G3 at Del Mar earlier this month but with benefit of the extra furlong and one half of the Hillside layout the son of Into Mischief can regain his winning form. Successful in the Clocker’s Corner Stakes over this course and distance two runs back last winter, the Richard Mandella-trained gelding gets conditions that are made to order for his style, and with two sharp workouts since raced we’re expecting his best effort to be delivered. I’m a Gambler was an excellent turf sprinter overseas and this route-to-sprint maneuver may be just what he needs to regain his best form. The Mark Glatt-trained is a strong fit on speed figures and should be rolling late. Bran was a bit rusty when unplaced in the Green Flash in his first start in nearly a year. The John Sadler-trained French-bred is a two time winner under these conditions, and with any type of forward move he’ll be a major factor from the furlong pole to the wire.


RACE 10: Post: 5:45 PT Grade: B
Main ticket (in order of preference): 5-Astronomer; 4-Hong Kong Harry
Backups/Savers/Underneath: 7-Twist.

Forecast: We’re not quite sure that Hong Kong Harry is as good as he was last year – he’s winless this year and has failed as the favorite in two of his last three starts – so while we’ll certainly concede that he’s good enough to win this year’s edition of the City of Hope Mile S.-G2 with his best race, we’ll use him but certainly not single him. A listed stakes winner at two, the lightly raced and developing Astronomer offers a reasonable gamble at 6-1 on the morning. He’s unproven at this level, but with just six starts (and three wins) the Simon Callaghan-trained son of Air Force Blue has a high ceiling and could be ready to successfully take this hike in class. In a race that projects to have moderate early fractions, he should be on or near the lead throughout and have his chance to pull off a mild surprise when the pressure is turned on from the quarter pole home.