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Monday, January 20: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

January 20, 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 12:30 PT. Grade: X
Use: 1-Merneith; 4-Gidgetta

Forecast: Merneith has trained like something extra special for her debut but at 4/5 on the morning line and needing the deal with the rail the daughter of American Pharoah won’t be offering any wagering value. That said, she’s plenty fit, appears to have a ton of talent, and certainly is expected to win. Gidgetta finished with purpose to wind up a promising third in a very hot race at Del Mar in her debut in late November and also has looked quite good in the a.m. in her recent drills for R. Baltas. She switches to J. Rosario and gets an extra half furlong to work with, so the favorite better not make any mistakes. In a race that probably is best left alone, we’ll include both in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Merneith.

RACE 2: Post 1:01 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 1-Discreet Diva; 3-Whoa Nessie

Forecast: We’ll double the second race, a restricted (nw-3) $16,000 claiming miler for fillies and mares. Bay Area shipper Whoa Nessie removes blinkers (always like this angle) and drops to a realistic level while being reunited with “win rider” A. Cedillo. She doesn’t need the lead to win and projects to within striking range throughout. Discreet Diva crushed a restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming field during the fall meeting but hasn’t been seen since, and this return for $16,000, while realistic, isn’t a real sign of confidence. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with J. Rosario (who picks up the mount), we wonder why regular pilot F. Prat, who doesn’t ride the race, will watch from the room. Tread lightly here.

RACE 3: Post 1:32 PT. Grade: B+
Single: 3-Beguiled

Forecast: Beguiled finished far back in her debut sprinting on grass at Del Mar but we strongly suspect she’s a whole lot better than that. After hopping in the air to lose early position and then racing in some traffic to the head of the lane, the daughter of Orb angled to the rail and finished eagerly before galloping out strongly in front in a strong race for the level while giving every indication that she’ll thrive with more distance. Since that race the daughter of Orb has trained nicely for P. D’Amato (solid stats with second-time starters), so a significant forward move is to be expected. At 6-1 on the morning line she’s a strong straight play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 4: Post 2:04 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 3-Awesome Alessandra; 4-Slewbury Park; 6-On the Verge
Forecast: This below average maiden $50,000 state-bred 3-year-old filly sprint lacks depth, so a little certainly will go a long way. Slewbury Park exits a much stronger straight maiden affair up north and before that was a solid runner-up in a similar affair at Los Alamitos, so there’s every expectation that the daughter of Slew’s Tiznow will be highly competitive against this group. A couple of nice recent drills at San Luis Rey Downs, including a bullet three-furlong gate work, should have her on edge. Awesome Alessandra has hit the board in three of five career starts, though her speed figures are rather weak. Still, she’s a major player by default. On the Verge was entered in a straight maiden race a couple of weeks ago but didn’t draw in. The fact that her connections were willing to give her a chance in that tougher spot can be taken as a positive, and even through the works aren’t fancy the K. Mulhall barn is quite capable of winning with a first timer, so let’s toss her in as well.

RACE 5: Post 2:36 PT. Grade: B
Use: 4-Originaire; 5-Barristan The Bold; 8-Foray

Forecast: Foray always has been a need-the-lead type but with the presence of long shot Midnight Swap in the field the veteran gelding may be relegated to a stalker’s role. The J. Sadler-trained son of Eskendreya, freshened since mid-November and with a strong recent series of drills, is reunited with “win rider” J. Velez and always has liked the local lawn, so we’ll give him slight preference on top but also include a couple of dangerous closers on our ticket. Barristan the Bold turned in a decent U.S. debut effort when fourth in the Mathis Bros. Mile-G2 on opening day and with any kind of forward move today the son English-bred gelding should be heard from late, especially with the switch to F. Prat. Originaire also should be a late factor; the Irish-bred colt was a strong second in the same race Barristan the Bold exits and with some help up front (which may or may not happen) his deep closing style could make him dangerous.

RACE 6: Post 3:07 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 1-Mr. Nasty; 2-Bog Hoof Dynamite

Forecast: Big Hoof Dynamite, a solid runner-up in a maiden $50,000 extended sprint here earlier this month, stretches back out to a mile, retains F. Prat, lands a nice inside draw, and simply should have no excuses in a modest affair for the level. Low profile connections notwithstanding, the son of Data Link seems the solid choice and may go lower than his morning line of 8/5. We’ll also include Mr. Nasty in our rolling exotics. With the classic two sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern and adding blinkers from his rail post, the R. Baltas-trained sophomore seems likely to flash improved early speed and could be especially dangerous if he’s able to establish the pace without much pressure. He produced a forward move between his first and second starts according to his speed figures and if he can improve again, the Strong Mandate gelding may give the favorite serious competition.

RACE 7: Post 3:37 PT. Grade: B+
Single: 1-Carressa

Forecast: Carressa couldn’t have been more impressive than she was demolishing a first-level allowance field over the Del Mar main track in late November while earning a stakes-quality speed figure, and since then she has put together back-to-back bullet workouts to indicate further improvement is likely. This will be her first try on grass, and the step up in class is a concern, but this daughter of Uncle Mo should be on or near the lead from the get-go and appears capable of springing a mild surprise at 5-1 on the morning line. Let’s make her a strong straight play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 8: Post 4:07 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 3-Muskoka; 5-Cross Town

Forecast: Cross Town doesn’t have much to beat in this bottom-rung maiden claiming miler for older horses, so let’s somewhat reluctantly put the V. Belvoir-trained gelding on top based on current form that should be good enough to handle this modest task. In the money in his last four starts in similar company, the Cross Traffic gelding is fairly solid on speed figures and was more than four lengths clear of the rest over this track and distance in his most recent appearance. Muskoka nosedives to the bottom and has earned grass speed figures that make him a threat, though he was beaten double digits in both of his two prior dirt races. The Twirling Candy colt probably is worth including somewhere on a ticket or two as a saver in rolling exotic play.