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Friday, January 3: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

January 3, 2020

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 MakersView Video

Today’s Workout AnalysisView PDF File

RACE 1: Post 12:00 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 1-Union Station; 6-Fast as Cass

Forecast: Fast as Cass is the morning line favorite at 8/5 in this modest restricted (nw-2) claiming miler pretty much be default; he’s a first-off-the-claim play for high-percentage Los Alamitos-based connections with good recent form and speed figures that fit. The son of Unusual Heat is hardly one to trust – he’s just 1-for-19 in his career - but at least that win came over the Santa Anita main track. Union Station projects to enjoy a good ground-saving trip, has hit the board in his last two, and should be heard from in the final stages. These are the two we’ll be including in our rolling exotics in a race that probably should be left alone.

RACE 2: Post 12:32 PT. Grade: X
Use: 3-I Belong to Becky; 5-Roaring Fork

Forecast: This restricted (nw-3) $16,000 claiming sprint attracted only five starters, so there’s really not much we can do with it. I Belong to Becky returns to his claim level for high percentage trainer P. Miller and seems the logical top pick, though at 9/5 on the morning line he won’t be offering much in the way of wagering value A repeat of his win a state-bred first-level allowance race two runs back makes him the one to beat. Roaring Fork has been away since last March and has been primarily a miler throughout his career, but in a soft spot the Mineshaft gelding figures tough off his best effort if he’s fit and ready. The works look good enough and from his outside draw A. Gryder has the option to pop and go or stalk and pounce. The winner probably will be one or the other, so we’ll double the race in rolling exotic play while otherwise sitting it out.

RACE 3: Post 1:04 PT. Grade: B+
Single: 4-Lucky Ms Jones

Forecast: Lucky Ms Jones continues to impress in the morning and finally gets a chance to compete over nine furlongs, a trip that should promote her deep closing style. The lightly-raced five-year-old mare (just six starts) acts like she’s ready for a significant forward move, so with good racing luck and a decent pace to chase she seems quite capable of producing the last run. At 5-1 on the morning line, she’s a straight play, rolling exotic single, and our first Day Maker on the Friday Santa Anita program.

RACE 4: Post 1:36 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 2-Diosa; 3-Bellazano

Forecast: Here’s another restricted claimer, this one for non-winners of two $12,500 claiming fillies and mares over six and one-half furlongs. Bellazano drops to her lowest level ever and should enjoy an ideal pace-stalking trip and have every chance to seal the deal in the final furlong. Her only prior victory came over this track and distance during the fall meeting in a race that earned a speed figure good enough to win at this level. Diosa, in her first start off a layoff, probably is a tad quicker than Bellazano so we’re expecting her to establish the running inside, assuming she returns with her old speed. The workouts indicate she’s doing well, and it may be significant she picks up A. Cedillo, who jumps off Bellazano to ride her. Additionally, the R. Hess, Jr., trained filly has a prior victory over the local main track, so she’s strictly the one to beat, though at 8/5 on the morning line there’s not really much value to found. Both should be used in your rolling exotics.

RACE 5: Post 2:08 PT. Grade: B+
Single: 8-Invincibella

Forecast: Invincibella final drops into a claimer for the first time (a nw-2, $25,000 event) and should greatly appreciate the softer company. Though never a serious threat in a string of first-level allowance events since being imported from England, the H. Palma-trained filly has consistently earned speed figures that are better than par for this level, and in a race that should have enough early pace to compliment her late-running style, she appears primed for a breakthrough performance. At 7/2 on the morning line, she’s a straight play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 6: Post 2:38 PT. Grade: B+
Single: 3-Shanghai Keely

Forecast: Bay Area shipper Shanghai Keely exits a series of stakes races, most recently a strong third place effort in the Golden Gate Debutante in late November, and vans down for this first-level allowance event while adding blinkers for the first time and stretching out again. From the high-percentage A. Herbertson barn, the daughter of Shanghai Bobby should be quick enough to be on or near the lead throughout, and with improving recent speed figures she seems likely to continue her improving pattern. At 3-1 on the morning line she’s a Day Maker, a strong straight play, and rolling exotic single.

RACE 7: Post 3:08 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 1-Coalinga Road; 9-Rookie Mistake

Forecast: The main contention in this state-bred maiden 3-year-old turf sprint is drawn on the rail and the far outside. Coalinga Road will be tough if he breaks cleanly from his inside draw; the C. Gaines-trained gelding flashed good speed in a competitive dirt sprint at Del Mar in his debut last month and weakened late to wind up fourth, but better can be expected today. There’s no reason the son of Quality Road won’t handle the surface switch. Rookie Mistake, second in the same race Coalinga Road exits, seems likely to settle into a pressing or stalking position and should have every chance from there. With three races under his belt, the son of Square Eddie may have a bit less room to improve than his main rival, but he does show a strong third place effort in his only prior grass outing here during the fall meeting so we know he’ll handle the course. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll give a very slight edge on top to Coalinga Road.

RACE 8: Post 3:38 PT. Grade: B
Use: 5-Buyback; 9-Katsaros

Forecast: Katsaros drops to her lowest level ever and appears to have found a proper spot to earn her diploma. The J. Sadler-trained daughter of Curlin projects to enjoy clear sailing from her outside draw in this bottom-rung extended sprint for older fillies and mares in what will be her first career start on dirt. Based on a pedigree and an exceptional recent training track drill, she should be hard to beat. Buyback is worth including on a ticket or two in your rolling exotics as a saver or a backup. Beaten at 3/5 when third in a tougher maiden claimer at Los Alamitos last month, she’s probably not one to trust, but on pure numbers she’s a fit at this level and with only three prior outings may be capable of improving.

RACE 9: Post 4:08 PT. Grade: B
Single: 2-Querelle

Forecast: The finale is a messy starter’s allowance turf miler for fillies and mares. We can spread the race or take a stand, and in this case we’ll simply try to be right singling Querelle, who has a lot going for her on raw data. She’s a first-off-the-claim for P. Miller (33% with a strong flat-be profit with this angle), switches to J. Rosario, is a fit on speed figures, and owns a closing style that should be promoted in a field with plenty of committed early speed. On the negative side she’s yet to hit the board in four career starts over the Santa Anita turf course, but those races came in tougher first-level allowance events and in this league she should be capable of producing the last run. At 3-1 on the morning line we’ll use in both in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.