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Saturday, November 02: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

November 2, 2019

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the 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 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.

Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.
Grade B=Solid Play.
Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.
Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.

The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.

RACE 1: Post 10:07 PT. Grade: B
Use: 4-Just Grazed Me; 8-Girls Know Best; 9-Escapade

Forecast: The opener is a highly competitive turf sprint graded stakes for fillies and mares with at least three strong possibilities. Give the projected pace flow, we’ll put Just Grazed Me slightly on top in a race that may very well set up beautifully for a second-flight stalker. The daughter of Grazen just won a nice state-bred stakes over this course and distance with a career top speed figure, and with plenty of speed signed on she may inherit the same type of trip that she capitalized on last time out Girls Know Best and Escapade will ensure a blazing pace and could do each in, although both are high quality types so if one manages to shake loose from the other this race could turn in to a parade. ‘Best has won 12 of 23 during her career and consistently earns strong speed figures while Escapade, drawn comfortably outside, has the luxury of stalking and pouncing if J. Castellano chooses that strategy. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics in a race might depend on how fast the opening quarter of a mile is run.

RACE 2: Post 10:42 PT. Grade: A-
Single: 3-Roadster

Forecast: Roadster won the Santa Anita Derby-G1 last spring but has been started and stopped on a couple of times since and today returns in the listed Damascus Stakes over a seven furlong trip that he absolutely should love. The son of Quality Road won his debut sprinting so we know he can fire fresh, and his workouts in recent weeks have been the best of his career. The B. Baffert-trained colt gets blinkers and I. Ortiz, Jr. and is more than fast enough on speed figures to win in his first try vs. older horses. He’s the second choice on the morning line at 7/5 (Flagstaff is 6/5) but we wouldn’t be surprised if he goes favored. We’ll make him a straight play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 3: Post 11:17 PT. Grade: B
Use: 8-Neptune’s Storm; 9-Kingly

Forecast: This looks very much like a carbon copy of the Del Mar Derby-G2, a race in which Nolde won in a cavalry charge over Originaire, Neptune’s Storm, Hakberry, and Kingly, the two-through five finishers in that race, all within a length and one-half of each other at the wire. So, what will be different today? Kingly is intriguing, he’s the controlling speed, removes blinkers, and exits the tougher City of Hope Mile-G2 when fourth, beaten a neck, against older horses after leading the way until the final strides. We love the blinkers off angle that B. Baffert is using and given the lack of pace in this race we’re expecting the son of Tapit to take control early and never look back. Neptune’s Tune returns from New York after capturing the Hill Prince S.-G3 with a similar pace-stalking trip that he’s liable to inherit today. A winner of four of six starts over the Santa Anita turf course, the R. Baltas-trained gelding should draft in behind Kingly and then have every chance to wear that one down in the final stages. We’ll try to get by using just these two in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Kingly.

RACE 4: Post 11:55 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 1-Covfefe; 4-Come Dancing; 9-Spiced Perfection

Forecast: Covfefe is strictly the one to beat in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint – she has two wins on her resume that earned speed figures good enough win this race – but the daughter of Into Mischief must leave from the rail, not the best place to be in an extended sprint. If she breaks running she’ll be forced to commit to a pace duel, and if she takes back she’s liable to encounter traffic trouble along the rail. Give the projected trip, she’s a vulnerable 2-1 morning line favorite, but you still have to use her. Come Dancing leaves the comforts of own backyard in New York for the first road trip of her career, and it’s anybody’s guess if she’ll be able to duplicate her outstanding Eastern form at Santa Anita. The daughter of Malibu Moon likes to stalk and pounce and projects to enjoy that type of trip. Her career top Beyer speed figure of 114 was earned when winning the Distaff H.-G3 earlier this year at Aqueduct at today’s distance of seven furlongs. Spiced Perfection is slower on speed figures that her two main rivals but she overcame a ton of trouble to win the TCA S.-G2 at Keeneland last month and today should have clear sailing outside to compliment her good late kick. She’s been first or second in five of seven career starts over the Santa Anita main track, another positive factor. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics.

RACE 5: Post 12:33 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 2-Pure Sensation; 4-Shekky Shebaz; 5-Stubbins; 9-Final Frontier

Forecast: The fifth race, the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, is a mad dash over five furlongs that borderline inscrutable. We’re going to go four-deep but not with any great conviction; best advice is to include as many as you can afford to in rolling exotic play. Pure Sensation is an eight year old tough-as-nails gelding 11 career wins at this abbreviated sprint distance. He’s fresh from a facile score in the Turf Monster S.-G3 at Parx in early September while earning a legitimately strong speed figure, and if he duplicate that effort today he could very well win. The C. Clement-trained gelding will bust out and go from his inside draw and hope to shake loose early and hold on late. Shekky Shebaz might not be quite as quick at ‘Sensation but he’s fast enough to be in the first flight from the get-go and in two starts since joining the high percentage J. Servis barn the Cape Blanco gelding has registered a pair of triple-digit speed figures, most recently just missing as the favorite in the listed Belmont Turf Sprint when worn down late by Final Frontier. The latter has a big look in this race as well; the son of Ghostzapper is genuine and consistent and should be heard from in the final furlong from slightly off the pace. Stubbins appears to have found his niche as a late-running turf sprinter and returns home after springing a mild surprise in the Woodford S.-G2 at Keeneland last month. He’s reunited with F. Prat, who has won on him in the past, and with good racing luck the son of Morning Line figures to bearing down dangerously in the final stages.

RACE 6: Post 1:10 PT. Grade: B
Use: 2-Improbable; 4-Mr. Money; 5-Omaha Beach

Forecast: Omaha Beach came back better than he left when winning the Santa Anita Sprint Championship last month in what was his first outing since going to sidelines with a throat issue on the eve of the Triple Crown. The R. Mandella-trained colt opts for the BC Mile rather than the Sprint, which on paper appears to be the correction based on field strength. The son of War Front has trained nicely since his win, so we expected he’ll run at least as well if not better on the stretch out. Mr. Money is most effective as a miler but has been competing – mostly successfully – in longer races due to the lucrative purses offered to 3-year-old in the late summer and fall. At this distance, the son of Goldencents should fire his best shot, and his best surely will give Omaha Beach considerable competition. Improbable has trained better than he has since the winter, but his issue always seems to surface before the race, in the starting gate, where the son of City Zip has been known to get restless and off balance which leads to poor starts. If he just stands still and then breaks with his field, the B. Baffert-trained can run with anybody. On the chance that he does, you have to include him in rolling exotic play.

RACE 7: Post 1:54 PT. Grade: B
Use: 2-Sistercharlie; 4-Billesdon Brook; 12-Fanny Logan

Forecast: Sistercharlie has won seven of eight starts in her two campaigns and is the defending Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf champion. There is little reason to believe she won’t repeat, as the Irish-bred mare has been sparingly raced this year and enters today’s championship event fresh, sharp, and on top of her game. She’s won on five different turf courses since being imported from France, so we suspect she’ll have no difficulty handling Santa Anita’s firm ground. The danger, if any, comes from a couple of European imports. Billesdon Brook won the Sun Chariot S.-G1 at Newmarket last month with a career top Timeform rating, so if she can turn in two alike (not always her strong suit) the English-bred filly may give the favorite something to worry about. Fanny Logan, top trainer J. Gosden’s only entrant in the two day festival, is untested in Grade 1 company but the daughter of Sea the Stars has won three straight with rising ratings and will get Lasix and F. Dettori for her U.S. debut. The daughter of Sea the Starts must overcome the extreme outside draw (not where you want to be at 10 furlongs on this course) but at 15-1 she has to be tossed in somewhere.

RACE 8: Post 2:36 PT. Grade: B
Use: 4-Mitole; 6-Shancelot; 9-Imperial Hint

Forecast: Imperial Hint may have won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at the drawn. He’ll leave outside the two other main speeds, which will afford him to the luxury of settling early, advancing in the clear wide when ready and then pouncing when called upon at the top of stretch, very similar to the trip he enjoyed in his career top winning performance in the A. G. Vanderbilt S.-G1 at Saratoga in late July, The son of Imperialism may be small in stature but he’s all racehorse, having won 14 of 23 career stars, and the way this race shapes up he should reproduce his best form and be very hard to beat., Mitole, a top class sprinter in his own right but beaten more than seven lengths by Imperial Hint in the Vanderbilt, has no option but to bust out and go after drawing inside of Shancelot (arguably the quickest sprinter leaving the gate) and Imperial Hint. A winner of nine of 13 during his career including the Forego S.-G1 at the Spa in his most recent appearance, the S. Asmussen-trained colt has been training over the deep Santa Anita main track for about a month and recently turned in a sizzle gate drill to indicate he’s fit and ready. Shancelot was nailed in the final jump in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship last month and before that was third in a photo in the Jerkens S.-G1 – both losses at 30 cents on the dollar – but with that race over the track and the switch to J. Ortiz, the son of Shanghai Bobby could come close to his freaky runaway victory in the Amsterdam S. (by 12 lengths with a 121 Beyer speed figure) that would make him almost impossible to catch.

RACE 9: Post 3:20 PT. Grade: B
Use: 6-Got Stormy; 9-Circus Maximus; 10-Without Parole; 11-Uni

Forecast: The Breeders’ Cup Mile is another deep and contentious affair requiring a deep spread in rolling exotic play. Circus Maximus is a two-time Grade-1 stakes winner from England, most recently winning the Prix du Moulin de Longhamp in early September with a career-top Timeform rating in an effort that, if repeated today, makes him the logical top pick. The son of Galileo has excellent tactical speed, should have no difficult with the from ground of the local course, and always has been a relentless bull dog under pressure in the final furlong. If he can secure a decent early position, he’ll be hard to contain in the lane, Got Stormy is a Grade-1 winner vs. the boys this year and is very fast and tactical when she’s on her game. Her win in the Fourstardave S.-G1 at Saratoga was a career top performance and puts her right in the thick of it today. Uni will be rolling late and if she gets some help up front and good racing luck along the way the C. Brown-trained will be the most dangerous of the deep closing types. Price player should consider the other C. Brown entrant, 20-1 Without Parole, in exotic play. A Group-1 winner at Royal Ascot as a 3-year-old, the son of Frankel has been stale and off form ever since, but he’s making his first start since the spring, his first start in the States, his first with Lasix, and his first since for this terrific barn. Recent workouts have been outstanding, so beware.

RACE 10: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 4-Midnight Bisou; 5-Dunbar Road

Forecast: Midnight Bisou very possibly will be the shortest price favorite in the entire two-day Breeders’ Cup festival. Perfect in seven starts this year and a legitimate Horse of the Year candidate, the daughter of Midnight Lute is almost impossible to find fault with. Although eastern based in the past two years for S. Asmussen, she actually began her career on the West Coast and won three of our starts over the Santa Anita main track before being sent East for greater glory. She’s been training her for the better part of a month, has looked terrific, and should settle in the second flight and then exert her superiority when called upon. We’ll make her a logical short price rolling exotic single for small ticket players; if you can afford to toss in Dunbar Road as a back-up or saver, you might consider doing so just in case ‘Bisou, for whatever reason (none that we can think of) fails to fire. The Alabama S.-G1 stakes winning daughter of Quality Road may have been victimized by a lack of pace when narrowly missing in the Spinster S.-G1 last month but is reunited with “win rider” J. Castellano and should show up with her best stuff today.

RACE 11: Post 4:40 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 2-Acclimate; 9-Bricks and Mortar

Forecast: Bricks and Mortar, like Midnight Bisou in the previous race, is attempting to complete the year undefeated and there’s little reason to be believe he won’t, even though the Breeders’ Cup Turf, at 12 furlongs, will be the farthest race of his career. Shouldn’t matter, especially at Santa Anita, where the first quarter mile of a race at this distance is downhill. The son of Giant’s Causeway most recently won the Arlington Million-G1 in mid-August so he’s fresh, training well, and ready for another explosive performance. He’s 9/5 on the morning line but we suspect will go lower. On paper, Acclimate looks overmatched, but he’ll be the controlling speed over a course he loves and given the easy front-running trip that we envision the P. D’Amato-trained gelding could take this field a very long way. He’s 20-1 on the morning line for a reason, but the veteran gelding is razor sharp and his recent form indicates he’s ready for a possible career top performance. You should find room on your ticket for him somewhere.

RACE 12: Post 5:44 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 6-Elate; 7-Higher Power; 10-Vino Rosso; 11-Code of Honor

Forecast: This hasn’t been the strongest year for the older horse division, so nothing would surprise us in the one of the most wide open and challenging Breeders’ Cup Classics in recent memory. Vino Rosso shows a win over this track and distance during the summer meeting when he captured the Gold Cup at Santa Anita, and most recently he crossed the wire first in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, only to be disqualified on a controversial call in a race that awarded to Code of Honor. The latter also has on his resume victories in the Travers S.-G1 and two other graded events, and, as a 3-year-old, appears to be improving and maturing with every start. Higher Power won the 10 furlong Pacific Classic stylishly two runs back and then lost his best chance when stumbling at the start in the Awesome Again S.-G1 here last month. He can bounce back. Having said all that, let’s go with the mare, Elate, on top. She’s perfect in three starts at the classic American distance of a mile and one-quarter, looks marvelous on the race track since arriving locally last week, and has the kind of grinding style that almost always is effective over this very deep Santa Anita main track. It would be quite a story that on the 10-year anniversary of Zenyatta’s storied win in this race on the track, another mare could win it. And she could.