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Sunday, December 29: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

December 29, 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.

Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders

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.

Today’s Day Makers: View Video

Today’s Workout Analysis: View PDF File*

RACE 1: Post 11:30 PT. Grade: B
Single: 10-Conquest Cobra

Forecast: Conquest Cobra drops sharply in class after being overmatched in starter’s allowance company earlier this month at Los Alamitos. He’s more than capable of winning at this level, and with presence of F. Prat in the saddle combined with a comfortable outside draw he should be tough to beat, assuming he has at least one good one left. In a race we’d rather not get too involved in, we’ll make him a straight play and rolling exotic single at or near his morning line of 3-1.

RACE 2: Post 11:58 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 1-Restless Rambler; 2-Lil Milo; 7-Castle

Forecast: This competitive allowance optional claiming turf sprint offers several possibilities; we’ll go three-deep and hope that’s enough. Lil Milo returns to grass and seems well-placed to regain his winning form. The Rocky Bar gelding has an ideal pace-stalking style and strong enough speed figures to beat this field with his best effort. T. Baze stays aboard and knows him well. Castle is especially effective in these abbreviated grass sprints, and after winning the California Flag H. over this course and distance during the fall meeting returns in a logical second-level allowance affair. He earned a career top speed figure in that win but today must pick up 7 lbs. Restless Rambler is the quickest of the quick and has only one way to go from his rail post, on the lead for as far as he can. A first-off-the-claim play for M. Glatt (a powerful 29% with this angle), the 10-year-old gelding is moving up in class but has won 19 races during his long career and therefore a “must use” in you rolling exotics.

RACE 3: Post 12:28 PT. Grade: X
Single: 6-Ava’s Charm

Forecast: Ava’s Charm flopped in her only prior race at Churchill Downs when backed down to 6/5 and then was turned out so obviously something went wrong. She’s trained like she’s fit and ready for her comeback and remains well regarded by the B. Baffert barn, so from her cozy outside draw the daughter of Maclean’s Music should have every chance to display her true form. At 6/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower, she’ll not offer much wagering value other than as a short-price rolling exotic single.

RACE 4: Post 1:08 PT. Grade: B
Use: 8-Reducta; 9-Broadbeach-Ire; 10-Lady Timmy Ho-Ire

Forecast: Broadbeach was a huge price (33-1) in her debut at Newmarket in August but ran surprisingly well, finishing a strong second while well-clear of the others. She makes her U.S. debut for S. Callaghan off a string of moderate drills, so perhaps she’s one of those that just doesn’t do much in the morning. However, a repeat of her debut effort in this maiden turf miler for juvenile fillies probably will be good enough to win, and with J. Rosario taking the call she has the look of a live item. Reducta, another European import with ability, retains F. Prat after finishing a solid third in a similar affair at Del Mar in her recent U.S. debut. She’ll be running on late. Lady Timmy Ho, third in both her career starts including a good effort in her U.S. debut for R. Baltas last month at Del Mar, retains D. Van Dyke and is another with a right to step forward. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with a slight preference on top to Broadbeach.

RACE 5: Post 1:40 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 3-Concord Jet; 7-Temple Knights; 8-Saddle Bar

Forecast: Concord Jet continues to impress in the a.m. and drops to his lowest level ever. While winless in four starts over the Santa Anita main track, a repeat of either one of his second or third races back charts very well here, so we’ll put him on top but certainly not single him. Saddle Bar, comfortably drawn outside, is another class dropper seeking his proper level and should have every chance from a stalking or pressing position. With just six career starts, the son of Tapizar still has plenty of room to improve, so with any kind of forward move he’ll be right there. Temple Nights, a good runner-up behind a next-out winner in a similar restricted (nw-2) $12,500 claiming sprint here in early November, fits on speed figures and goes for the strong Glatt-Espinoza trainer/jockey combo. He likes to settle early and produce a late run so this extended sprint distance should be to his liking.

RACE 6: Post 2:14 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 5-Royal Act; 8-Kanderel; 9-Smooth Like Strait

Forecast: Royal Act was very impressive winning at first asking two-turning on grass from a poor outside post position in his racing debut at Del Mar last month and has been quite sharp in the a.m. since, indicating that the son of American Pharoah is ready to take on better company and win right back. The P. Eurton-trained colt should be forwardly place throughout and have every chance to wear down the likely pacesetter (and recent stakes winner) Smooth Like Strait when the pressure is turned on from the quarter pole home. ‘Straight stretched out successfully as the controlling speed in the C. B. DeMille S.-G3 at Del Mar earlier this month and similar front-running tactics surely will be employed once again. The son of Midnight Lute has produced a forward move in each of his four career outings and will be very hard to beat if he goes unpoliced on the front-end like last time. Kanderel seems certain to improve after finishing 11th of 13 in the DeMille. A bullet recent workout and the switch to M. Smith are positive factors for the son of Candy Ride, who can be a threat with a repeat of his strong maiden debut win over this course and distance during the fall meeting.

RACE 7: Post 2:48 PT. Grade: B
Use: 1-Nora’s Joy; 8-Venetian Harbor

Forecast: Nora’s Joy finished second in both of career starts to date while having the misfortune of hooking stakes quality opposition. She’s one of those that probably can’t beat a real good filly, but it takes one to beat here. Freshened since September, adding blinkers, and continuing to impress in the morning, the daughter of Street Sense looks very much like the one to beat in this extended sprint for juvenile fillies. Let’s hope she can avoid trouble from the rail. Venetian Harbor was a strong second when well-backed at even money in her debut at Del Mar but her effort came on grass and today we’ll find out if she can be as effective on dirt (and, as a daughter of Munnings, she should have no surface preference). The R. Baltas-trained juvenile has been kept on edge with series of good drills at San Luis Rey Downs and picks up J. Rosario. We’ll prefer Nora’s Joy slightly on top but include both in our rolling exotics.

RACE 8: Post 3:24 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 2-Guitty-FR; 6-Laura’s Light

Forecast: Guitty had an impossible trip in the recent Jimmy Durante S.-G3 from an extreme outside post position, so the result can best be ignored. A smart winner of a maiden turf affair at Del Mar in early November and then repeating on the raise a in a first-level allowance score three weeks later, she’s much better drawn today, gets a projected race flow that should complement her late-running style, and switches to J. Rosario. It all adds up to a major effort at 5-1 on the morning line. Laura’s Light made the running and continued gamely to the wire to be second in the same race Guitty exits in what was just her second career start following a nice maiden sprint win up North. She’s catching a bit more early heat today, but the daughter of Constitution probably isn’t a need-the-lead type. We’ll have a few extra tickets keying Guitty on top but include both in our rolling exotics.

RACE 9: Post 3:58 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 4-Miss Stormy D; 8-Eternal Endeavor

Forecast: Miss Stormy D earned a giant number breaking her maiden in her seventh career start (but her first on dirt), and now that her connections realize she’s better on the main track than she is on grass the daughter of Tapizar might string a few wins together. A repeat of her last race beats this field and an impressive series of workouts in recent weeks indicates she’s ready to do just that. Eternal Endeavor seems worth including as a back-up or a saver in your rolling exotics. Sparingly raced but with plenty of ability, the L. Powell-trained mare seeks her third straight score after winning a restricted claimer and then a starter’s allowance sprint, and while her numbers don’t quite match up with our top pick she does have the proper style for this extended sprint distance and room for further improvement.

RACE 10: Post 4:28 PT. Grade: B
Use: 3-Big Runnuer; 6-Torosay

Forecast: Big Runnuer is lightly raced, thoroughly genuine, and effective sprinting or routing. Nosed out in a good mile event at this level earlier this month at Del Mar, the V. Garcia-trained colt turns back to an abbreviated turf dash and projects to inherit an ideal pace-stalking strip. Fast enough numbers with further improvement likely, the son of Stormy Atlantic gets top billing. Torosay graduated over this course and distance two races back and is the likely controlling speed. He’s a bit slower on numbers that ‘Runnuer but is another lightly-raced gelding with some upside and is reunited with “win rider” R. Bejarano. Toss him in on a few tickets as a saver.