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Saturday, January 4 2020: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

January 4, 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 11:30 PT. Grade: B+
Single: 3-Elgofranco

Forecast: Elgofranco has two good races under her belt and an impressive recent solo training track drill that should have her primed for a significant forward move in this maiden special weight state-bred 3-year-old filly sprint. The daughter of Square Eddie projects to be on or near the lead throughout in what appears to be a below average race for the level, so at 5/2 on the morning line – we hope we can get it – she’s a straight play and rolling exotic single

RACE 2: Post 11:58 PT. Grade: B
Use: 3-Keno’d; 4-Phast Pharoah

Forecast: Keno’d was impressive previewing in the Timonium sale last May when breezing a quarter mile on the bullring in a quick :22 1/5 seconds and finally makes it to the post in this abbreviated turf sprint for newly-turned 3-year-olds. The son of Street Sense has done most of his work at San Luis Rey Downs but went a strong five furlongs in 1:00.1hg here last week to appear right on edge. He looks like an extremely live item at 4-1 on the morning for the always-potent O’Neill/Gutierrez trainer-jockey team. Phast Pharoah seems the best of the known element but just blew a three length mid-stretch lead at Los Alamitos last month and remains a maiden after five starts. The son of American Pharoah may improve with the switch to J. Rosario but has failed to hit the board in three previous outings on grass. Preference on top goes to Keno’d with Phast Pharoah serving as a back-up or a saver in rolling exotic play.

RACE 3: Post 12:28 PT. Grade: C
Use: 2-Royal Ranger; 3-Mike Operator; 5-Silver Fury

Forecast: This inscrutable bottom-rung maiden claiming extended sprint for older horses probably is best left alone, but for those playing rolling exotics the three listed above must be considered the main contenders. Silver Fury, second in a similar spot last month at Los Alamitos following a 13-month layoff, has a right to produce a forward move for the capable B. Heap barn and has the blinkers off angle that always catches our eye. As a 12-race maiden he’s a hard one to trust but on paper seems as good as any. Mike Operator in the frame in six of nine starts, has been knocking on the door, most recently finishing a close second at Los Alamitos after battling on the lead most of the way. He gets a major jockey switch to J. Rosario and on the basis of that alone is the likely choice and one to beat. Royal Ranger has low profile connections but actually ran okay when a close fourth vs. tougher foes in his debut at Del Mar in late November. If he can produce any kind of forward move, he’ll be right there.

RACE 4: Post 1:06 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 4-Kakistocracy; 5-Abusive Gary

Forecast: Kakistocracy finished full of run to be second and then galloped out strongly in a promising debut at Del Mar in late November and today stretches out to what should be a more suitable distance in this maiden turf miler for older horses. The son of Point of Entry sports a bullet workout since that race, so we’re expecting the C. Gaines-gelding to step forward considerably. At 5/2 on the morning line, he’s strictly the one to beat. Abusive Gary is worth including on a few tickets in you rolling exotics as well, especially at 10-1 on the morning line. The P. D’Amato-trained gelding continues to impress in morning drills and if he breaks with his field he could inherit the role as the controlling speed. Given that type of trip, the son of Boisterous could get brave and take this field a very long way.

RACE 5: Post 1:40 PT. Grade: X
Use: 1-Authentic; 4-Azul Coast; 6-Taishan

Forecast: Five of the six starters in this year’s edition of the Sham S.-G3 are coming off wins and are in various stages of development. We’re going to use three in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass the race. Authentic won at first asking like he was supposed to – he was bet down to 3/5 – and has since returned to train like a colt who’ll handle two turns. He’s pretty quick and likely will try gate-to-wire tactics from his inside draw. His B. Baffert-trained stable mate, Azul Coast, also was a debut winner but accomplished his task at this one mile distance, and actually ran a whole lot farther than that after being caught outside a bolting runner into the clubhouse and then remaining extremely wide thereafter. Still, the son of Super Saver was able to come away with authority, and while he probably didn’t beat a great group he did it the right way. Taishan was an extra game maiden winner here during the fall meeting and the colt he beat (Tizamagician) came back to graduate convincingly the other day. The son of Twirling Candy is competitive on numbers and has every right to develop with experience and distance.

RACE 6: Post 2:14 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 2-Oh Pretty Woman; 6-Sothalis; 8-Scarlet Heat

Forecast: Here’s a wide open turf miler for older fillies and mares that requires a spread; we’ll go three deep and hope to survive and advance. Let’s put the best price on top. Sothalis (12-1) is a daughter of Vronsky and therefore bred to improve a ton on grass, and recent works indicate this P. D’Amato-trained 4-year-old might be considerably better than her first two races indicate. She’s shown good early speed in her sprints, and if she can establish the pace without undue pressure she might take this field a very long way. Oh Pretty Woman, away for almost a year, also has looked good in a.m. preps and might be a better type this time around for J. Mullins. She attracts J. Rosario, has a good inside draw to ensure a ground-saving trip, and with some help up front could be a serious threat in the final furlong. Scarlet Heat will get plenty of play after finishing a close second in a similar affair at Del Mar in late November. The lightly-raced daughter of Unusual Heat retains F. Prat and with good racing luck figures be moving well in the final furlong.

RACE 7: Post 2:48 PT. Grade: X
Single: 1-Proverb

Forecast: Proverb was knocked down to odds-on in a similar first-level allowance affair in his local debut last fall but missed by head while more than four lengths clear of the rest. Not much more will be needed for the R. Baltas-trained colt to make amends today, though at 4/5 on the morning line he won’t be offering much in the way of wagering value. We’ll use him as a short-priced rolling exotic single but otherwise pass the race.

RACE 8: Post 3:24 PT. Grade: B+
Single: 3-Cleopatra’s Strike

Forecast: The 12-furlong distance of the Hollywood Turf Cup-G2 was a tad of his range, so Cleopatra’s Strike, a willing but tiring fourth in that race, returns to a more suitable middle distance in today’s San Gabriel S.-G2 and seems likely to regain his winning form. The veteran gelding, the winner of the John Henry Turf Classic over the local lawn during the fall season, has looked eager and sharp in recent drills, so we’re expecting the P. D’Amato-trained son of Smart Strike to simply out class his rivals while being reunited with “win rider” A. Cedillo. At 2-1 on the morning line he’s a strong straight play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 9: Post 3:58 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 1-Soldier Boy; 3-Hot Sean; 4-Truck Salesman; 7-Italiano

Forecast: This highly-contentious extended sprint for allowance optional claimers has several possibilities. Soldier Boy is better than his last race shows – he was compromised by a slow start and a wide trip – and his recent works indicate he can rebound in a big way for J. Sadler with a clean start from the rail. Though a tad light in the speed figure department, the son of Into Mischief is a perfect one-for-one over the Santa Anita main track and picks up J. Rosario, so at 5-1 on the morning line he offers a bit of value. Hot Sean hits hard at this level and has won four of seven career starts over the Santa Anita main track, clearly qualifying the veteran gelding as a horse-for-course. The B. Baffert-trained veteran gets a break in the weights with the shift to bug boy J. Diaz, Jr., and should draft into a good pace-stalking position and have every chance when the pressure is turned on. Truck Salesman is the quickest of the quick and will take them as far as he can. His only previous outing at Santa Anita resulted in a more than six length starter’s allowance win last fall and recent works indicate he’s somewhere near that form. Italiano may be the most dangerous of the deep closers and with some help up front could make his presence felt in the final stages. F. Prat stays aboard after guiding the son of Twirling Candy to a smart score vs. lesser at Los Alamitos last month.

RACE 10: Post 4:28 PT. Grade: B
Single: 12-Mariah Girl

Forecast: This nightcap is a messy turf sprint for older fillies and mares. Let’s try a flyer on a fresh face. Mariah Girl has trained like a decent type for M. Puype and this South American invader – group stakes-placed in Argentina last year – appears fit and ready for a top effort in her U.S. debut. Still six months away before actually turning four – she foaled in July on Southern Hemisphere time – the daughter of Exchange Range adds Lasix and may offer some wagering value at 6-1 on the morning line. Let’s try her in the win pool and as a rolling exotic single.