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Friday, February 07: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

February 7, 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 Workout Analysis: Today’s Workout AnalysisView PDF File

RACE 1: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: B
Use: 3-Austin’s Boy; 7-Perfect Affection

Forecast: Austin’s Boy ran a bit better than the line will show when a distant third after a slow start in a similar state-bred maiden turf sprint last month. The Idiot Proof gelding makes a positive rider switch to U. Rispoli and seems likely to produce a forward move in what appears to be a moderate race for the level. We’ll put him solidly on top but also include in our rolling exotics Perfect Affection, a route-to-sprint play for the D’Amato barn with a bullet training track workout since raced and likely to be dangerous from off the pace.

RACE 2: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: X
Single: 3-Canadian Game

Forecast: Here’s a race we have no plans on playing because suspicious class dropper Canadian Game – claimed for $25,000 last month and returning for $12,500 today – hardly is one to trust, though off his best race he should be a standout. The good news is that the A. Lerner barn is an amazing 38% with first-off-the-claim plays, so perhaps this pattern isn’t quite the negative that it is appears to be. The Curlin gelding is 1-for-18 but at least that victory was accomplished over this track and distance and the barn’s go-to rider Fuentes (32% combo this year) picks up the mount. You can use him as a no-value rolling exotic single or simply sit out race.

RACE 3: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B
Use: 4-Win Often; 6-Smiling Shirlee

Forecast: We have a hunch Win Often will move up considerably on turf – she’s a daughter of Vronsky and therefore eligible to do just that – and after winning a nice starter’s allowance sprint on the main track the D. Petersen-trained filly should fit very well in this state-bred first-level allowance dash. She likes to stalk and pounce, and that style generally works very well over this course at this distance. Smiling Shirlee was a bit out of her element when fifth in the Cal Cup Oaks over a mile last time out but she returns to a realistic level and shortens to a sprint, which we suspect is her preferred trip. A recent bullet half mile workout in :46 4/5 catches the eye. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics while slightly preferring Win Often on top.

RACE 4: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: B
Single: 4-Desert Smoke

Forecast: Desert Smoke has little to beat in this $10,000 claiming miler for fillies and mares, and after finishing a distant second in a highly-rated seven furlong sprint vs. slightly tougher last month she stretches out again, adds blinkers, retains A. Cedillo, and looks likely to be the controlling speed. First or second in 13 of 29 career starts, the veteran mare hasn’t won since September of 2018 but if there’s any gas left in the tank she’ll handle this task. Mostly by default, we’ll make her a rolling exotic single.

RACE 5: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: B
Use: 3-Bulletproof One; 4-Billy Batts

Forecast: This a fairly contentious sprint turf stakes for 3-year-olds and requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Bulletproof One is back sprinting where she belongs and based on her excellent runner-up effort over this course and distance in the Speakeasy Stakes vs. boys during the fall meeting the P. Miller-trained filly appears the one to beat. She was a respectable second over a mile in the Cal Cup Oaks last month but really wanted to no part of the trip; today she picks up A. Cedeno and can be dangerous on the front end or from slightly off the pace. Her stable mate, Billy Batts, is the one to fear most. A strong runner-up over a mile in the BC Juvenile Turf-G1 when last seen in November, the son of City Zip returns following a series of slow and easy drills at San Luis Rey Downs and based strictly on speed figures is more than good enough to win race such as this. He picks up good grass rider U. Rispoli, who’ll probably employ patient tactics.

RACE 6: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 1-Royal Insider; 3-Uno Dancer; 7-Lambeau

Forecast: Lambeau was an impressive maiden winner at this trip during the fall Del Mar season and makes his first start since in this first-level allowance middle distance main track affair, the first time this specific race has been written during the current Santa Anita season. The workouts in the interim have been slow and easy but we suspect the very expensive ($475,00) son of First Samurai is more than fit enough to fire another big shot. Royal Insider is guaranteed a good ground-saving trip from the rail and earned a number two races back when winning a $40,000 claimer that puts him in the picture at this level. The S. Knapp-trained gelding loves this main track (first or second in 5 of 7 starts) and can be dangerous on the lead or from a stalking position. Uno Dancer is an intriguing Maryland shipper now in the P. Gallagher barn making his first start since last spring. He’s a tad light in the speed figure department but has finished first or second in seven of 13 career starts and has won two of his last three starts, and his sharp local workouts indicate fitness.

RACE 7: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 4-Cosmic Cowgirl; 5-I Give Up; 9-Going to Vegas

Forecast: The second, third, and fourth place finishers of a recent maiden $75,000 turf miler for 3-year-old fillies return today in the same spot, and each has to be considered a contender, but we’ll look elsewhere and try Cosmic Cowgirl on top. The daughter of Malibu Moon shows up in a seller for the first time, has trained quite well of late at San Luis Rey Downs for R. Baltas, and has the kind of early speed that will make her quite dangerous on the front end if she’s able to make the running without pressure. Going to Vegas, runner-up in that common race Jan. 12, must overcome the outside draw but retains F. Prat and may not have to improve much based on her last performance. She projects to enjoy a stalking trip despite her poor draw. I Give Up adds blinkers for the first time after finishing fourth in the same race Going to Vegas exits and didn’t get the best of runs when doing so. The daughter of Candy Ride has been trouble-prone throughout during her four-race career; we’ll see if the equipment change can help her secure a clean journey.