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Saturday, February 15: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

February 15, 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: C
Use: 3-Tequila Joe; 5-French Getaway; 6-Swamp Souffle; 7-Tough It Out

Forecast: The Saturday opener is an inscrutable mid-level claiming affair over nine furlongs. Rarely do we go four-deep in our rolling exotic play but this one requires such as spread. Tequila Joe moves up a notch to the $32,000 level but is more than capable of winning off his best race. He gets an extra furlong to work with and may be capable of producing the last run. Tough It Out is re-equipped with blinkers and switches to F. Prat after finishing a close sixth in the same race that Tequila Joe just finished third in. The veteran son of Grazen is a grinder that shows two prior wins over the local lawn. French Getaway exits a much tougher race and this return to the claiming ranks could wake him up. He’s another that should be doing his best work from off the pace. Swamp Souffle won the common race with Tequila Joe and Tough It Out and must be considered, though he has history of following up his victories with a clunker. Anything goes here.

RACE 2: Post 12:58 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 1-Kirsch Truffle; 7-Slew South

Forecast: Slew SouthKirsch Truffle, away since April and making her first start since joining the P. Miller barn and just her fourth overall, could easily be better than shown. The work tab at San Luis Rey Downs seems reasonable, and from the rail under A. Cedillo the daughter of Trappe Shot can be expected to show tactical speed.

RACE 3: Post 1:28 PT. Grade: B
Use: 2-Leatherneck; 4-Bad Beat

Forecast: Leatherneck is back sprinting where he belongs and a repeat of his solid maiden $50,000 debut win at Los Alamitos should be good enough to beat this starter’s allowance field. This six and one-half furlong distance seems ideal for this late-running son of Congrats, so if he can a get a bit of help up front the J. Bonde-trained colt can be along in time. We’ll also include Bad Beat. The Danza gelding returned off a six month layoff to run quite well when crossing the wire second (subsequently disqualified to third) in a similar affair on grass last month while earning by far a career top speed figure, and with another forward move today he should be in the thick of things throughout. He’ll race without blinkers for the first time (love that angle) and projects to be part of the pace throughout.

RACE 4: Post 1:58 PT. Grade: X
Single: 3-Sky Jumper

Forecast: Sky Jumper is the obvious top pick but his pattern is suspicious. Purchased for $200,00 as a 2-year-old in Ocala last year, the B. Baffert-trained gelding performed reasonably well when a close third in straight maiden company on turf last month but today is being tossed away for $50,000, hardly a sign of confidence from his connections. That said, the son of Jump Start continues to look good in the morning, so if he has at least one good one left he should easily handle this assignment. You can play him as a no-value rolling exotic single or just sit it out.

RACE 5: Post 2:28 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 4-Satanta; 6-Factorial; 8-Battle of Memphis

Forecast: This turf sprint for restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claimers has a number of question marks that makes it difficult, so we’ll use three and hope that’s enough. Factorial may be as good as any. The D. O’Neill barn hasn’t enjoyed much of a meeting so far, but this gelding returns to his claim level and has several back speed figures that are better than par for this level, so we’re expecting one of his better efforts. A willing third in a starter’s allowance dash over this course and distance last month, he’s always been most effective when held up early and allowed to run late and we’re expecting that type of strategy to be employed today. Battle of Memphis sporting the blinkers off angle, turns back to a sprint, drops to a realistic level, and is another with past numbers that make him dangerous. The Irish-bred gelding has primarily been a two-turner throughout his career but we suspect this trip will suit him better. Satanta broke his maiden at first asking like a nice prospect but hasn’t been close since. This drop into restricted claiming company could make a big difference, as could the switch to grass. With F. Prat taking the call, the J. Mullins-trained gelding deserves one more chance.

RACE 6: Post 3:01 PT. Grade: B-
Single: 1-Bowl of Spaghetti

Forecast: Bowl of Spaghetti, away since April but returning in a logical spot, doesn’t have a whole lot to beat in this bottom-rung maiden claimer so we’ll put him on top strictly by default (it’s either him, or anybody). When last seen, the P. Miller-trained gelding flashed good speed before weakening late in a straight maiden turf sprint, and if comes back as well or better he just might be able to outrun this weak field. How weak? Calder Vale, a 24-race maiden, looks like a major player on pure form. We’ll use Bowl of Spaghetti as a single in rolling exotic play single but otherwise not get involved.

RACE 7: Post 3:34 PT. Grade: B+
Single: 1-Kakistocracy

Forecast: Kakistocracy is a progressive son of Point of Entry fresh from a maiden win over this course and distance in his second career outing and with a very sharp recent workout since that early January win he’s likely to produce another significant forward move is likely. Drawn comfortably inside to ensure a ground-saving trip in this first-level allowance optional ciaimer, the C. Gaines-trained gelding retains D. Van Dyke and projects to draft into a comfortable second flight position and then have every chance to quicken when ready from the quarter pole home. Let’s make him a strong straight play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 8: Post 4:07 PT. Grade: X
Use: 4-Hard Not to Love; 5-Mother Mother

Forecast: Hard Not to Love won the La Brea S.-G1 over this track and distance on opening day in late December and will be favored to repeat, but while she certainly it’s no slam dunk. The one-eyed daughter of Hard Spun has a negative four pound weight shift compared to chief rival Mother Mother, who finished a good third in the La Brea after being forced into a hot pace duel. The early fractions of this race should be considerably softer, so after winning the Kalookan Queen S. last month the B. Baffert-trained filly could be set for another forward move. Truthfully, these two are very difficult to separate, so rather than split hairs we’ll include both in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass the race.

RACE 9: Post 4:37 PT. Grade: B
Use: 6-Absolute Unit; 7-Frasard; 8-Jurgen

Forecast: The finale is a fairly competitive maiden special weight turf miler for 3-year-olds that has at least three major contenders, all of which are worthy of inclusion in rolling exotic play. Absolute Unit stretches out for the first time and has the pedigree to improve as the distances increase, so we’re expecting another forward move from the son of Will Take Charge after a strong runner-up effort in a grass dash last month that earned him a career top number. F. Prat stays aboard and should have this P. Eurton-trained colt within striking distance every step of the way. Frasard was burned up on a hot pace in a recent highly-rated nine furlong maiden grass affair and paid the price late, but at this shorter trip with patient tactics the L. Powell-trained English-bred colt should be much more formidable in the final stages. This switch to D. Van Dyke ensures the proper type of trip and ride. Jurgen made his U.S. debut under similar conditions on New Year’s Day and didn’t do badly, winding up fourth beaten just a length after being somewhat intimated when trying to rally along the rail in the final furlong. The son of Kitten’s Joy certainly can improve for a stable that has solid stats with second-off-layoff runners.