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Sunday, February 16: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

February 16, 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
Single: 5-Bella Vita

Forecast: Bella Vita was extremely well-meant in her debut last month, but after a slow start, a wide trip, and perhaps hitting the front too soon the expensive daughter of Bayern was tagged right on the money by another very talented filly, She’s Devoted, in a similar state-bred turf sprint for sophomore fillies. The S. Callaghan-trained filly, a $400,000 purchase last year at the OBS April sale, seems sure to improve with that bit of experience behind her and should simply outclass this group of Cal-breds. She’s 5/2 on the morning line (you won’t get it) and looks like the surest winner on the program and a logical rolling exotic single.

RACE 2: Post 12:58 PT. Grade: B
Use: 6-Short of Ez; 7-Papa Turf

Forecast: Short of Ez returns to his win level after being overmatched in starter optional claiming company last month, and anything close to his five-length romp two runs back probably beats this field. Papa Turf, now nine years old and a veteran of 62 previous races, makes his first start since early November and is a seven time winner over the Santa Anita main track. His recent works indicate he’s doing well for the J. Mullins barn and he is reunited with A. Cedillo, who was aboard in a 12-lenth romp under these conditions two races back during the fall season. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.

RACE 3: Post 1:28 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 3-Kissable U; 4-Lucky Babe; 5-Warren’s Empress; 10-Creer

Forecast: Here’s a grass grab bag for sophomore state-bred fillies over a mile on turf. Use as many as you can afford to. Warren’s Empress stretches out to a distance she’s bred to like, exits a hot race and adds blinkers, so we’re expecting the daughter of Clubhouse Ride to step forward for a barn that does very well with second-time starters. Lucky Babe was a distant third in her debut sprinting on grass and is another with every right to improve with experience and distance. Creer is stuck way outside but showed improvement when a non-threatening runner-up over this course and distance in a similar affair last month. With another forward move today she should be in the thick of things again. Kissable U has some early speed, and if she can shake loose early she might get brave. Toss her in somewhere at 8-1 on the morning line.

RACE 4: Post 1:58 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 2-Lane Way; 6-Charlatan

Forecast: Lane Way was a promising third behind Nadal in one of the hottest maiden sprints in memory and if doesn’t go backwards it will take something extra special to deny him in this six furlong sprint for 3-year-olds. The R. Mandella-trained son of Into Mischief retains F. Prat and shows two nice recent workouts to indicate he’s right on edge. Charlatan is a fast-working first time starter from the B. Baffert barn that brought $700,000 as a yearling. The son of Speightstown has been doing some excellent work from the gate leading up to this race for a barn that hits at a remarkable 29% with debut runners. Lane Way is the proven commodity so we’ll put him on top but include both in our rolling exotics.

RACE 5: Post 2:28 PT. Grade: B
Use: 5-Johnny Podres; 8-If Id Told You; 9-Fly the Sky

Forecast: Johnny Podres was visually quite pleasing winning a maiden two-turner over the all-weather surface at Golden Gate Fields last month with a career top speed figure and his only prior try on grass resulted in a solid runner-up performance in November. A progressive son of Grazen, the S. Miyadi-trained colt is a devout stretch runner in a field that promises to have faster than par early fractions. At 8-1 on the morning line, he’s worth a bit of gamble. Fly the Sky won a state-bred first-level allowance event over this course and distance last month and not much more will be needed to win this open affair. He has plenty of speed but doesn’t need the lead to win, so the extreme outside draw might not be a negative for a colt with his style. If Id Told You is improving with each start for G. Mandella, and the number that he earned when breaking his maiden last November at Del Mar makes him a fit. Recent works indicate that he should be fit enough to pick up where he left off.

RACE 6: Post 2:58 PT. Grade: B
Use: 2-Afternoon Heat; 3-I Belong to Becky; 5-Tigre Di Slugo

Forecast: Tigre Di Slugo didn’t get the best of trips when third in a similar first-level allowance sprint last month but with better luck today from a better post the lightly-raced 5-year-old can make amends. F. Prat stays aboard and should have this son of Smiling Tiger doing his best work from the quarter pole home. Afternoon Heat was a half-length in front of ‘Slugo when runner-up in that same highly-rated race, has trained well since, and should be within range and have every chance once again. The S. Knapp-trained colt switches to J. Rosario and projects to be in a good pace-stalking position throughout. I Belong to Becky crushed a much softer restricted (nw-3) $16,000 field last month over this track and distance and earned a speed figure that makes him very competitive despite the class hike. We’ll prefer Tigre Di Slugo on top but include all three in our rolling exotics.

RACE 7: Post 3:31 PT. Grade: B
Use: 4-Shines Her Light; 6-Laura’s Light

Forecast: Laura’s Light makes her sophomore debut for P. Miller after displaying considerable ability in three starts during a productive two-year-old campaign. A sharp sprint maiden winner at Golden Gate Fields in November, the daughter of Constitution subsequently was a strong runner-up in the Jimmy Durante S.-G2 at Del Mar and then in late December captured the Blue Norther Stakes over the local lawn in gate-to-wire fashion. She’s been kept on edge with a series of good drills at San Luis Rey Downs, so she’s logically the one to beat again, though at 6/5 on the morning line there’s not much value to be found. Shines Her Light graduated at this trip just 16 days ago and is wheeled back quickly into stakes competition, a fairly ambitious move by J. Sadler. On numbers, she should at least get a piece of it, so rolling exotic players might consider including her on a back-up ticket while reserving the main punch for Laura’s Light.

RACE 8: Post 4:02 PT. Grade: B
Use: 3-My Journey; 7-Speakerofthehouse

Forecast: The finale is a bottom-rung maiden claimer for older horses. My Journey stretches out again, continues to train like a gelding with more ability than he’s shown, and may offer a bit of value at 6-1 on the morning line. The son of Good Journey can be expected to employ gate-top-wire tactics and in a field like this he could get very brave if not pressured early. Speakerofthehouse, second under similar conditions last month, should fire a good shot but he’s a 14-race maiden and not one to count on. Both can be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll have extra tickets keying My Journey on top.