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Sunday, February 23: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

February 23, 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-Classy Ruler; 2-Regal Beauty; 3-Merneith

Forecast: Any one of those listed above appear capable of winning, so we’ll include all three in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass the race. While all three are extremely talented and promising, each was beaten as an odds-on favorite last time out. Merneith appeared headed to victory in her debut but then shortened stride in the final sixteenth and was worn down late. The B. Baffert-trained filly continues to impress in the a.m. and as a daughter of American Pharoah should have no trouble handling today’s two-turn mile trip. Her stablemate, Regal Beauty, cost herself a debut win when she walked out of the gate in an abbreviated sprint and then flew home but just ran out of room. She’s another that gives every indication that added distance will do nothing but help her. Classy Ruler, second in both starts with strong speed figures, likely will get the patient ride she needs for M. Smith and may be most dangerous from off the pace.

RACE 2: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 2-Rstars and Stripes; 3-Mosienko; 4-Secret Square

Forecast: Secret Square has the route-to-sprint angle we always like and with J. Rosario riding her back the daughter of Square Eddie looks capable of producing the last run from a good second flight position. She’s probably most effective sprinting, so today’s conditions appear ideal. Rstars and Stripes was visually quite pleasing winning her debut in a maiden $50,000 main track sprint, but she certainly didn’t have a whole lot behind her. Now in the S. Knapp barn via a claim, the daughter of Coil gets a bit of a class test but could be up to the task. Mosienko, like Secret Square, has the proper style for this distance, switches to M. Smith, and with better racing luck today than last time could make her presence felt from mid-pack. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics and then have a few extra tickets keying Secret Square on top.

RACE 3: Post 1:29 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 2-Challah; 6-Zorich

Forecast: Zorich missed by a head in a similar starter’s allowance affair over this track and distance last month and a repeat of that effort today probably will be good enough to win. Never worse than second in three career starts over the local main track, the M. Glatt-trained gelding projects to enjoy a good stalking trip outside and then have every chance from the quarter pole home. Challah is reunited with “win rider” F. Prat after finishing second in a dead-heat with Zorich last time out. They were impossible to separate last time and they figure just as close again today. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics with a very slight edge on top to Zorich.

RACE 4: Post 1:59 PT. Grade: B+
Single: 3-Murad Khan

Forecast: Murad Khan has been a middle distance specialist throughout most of this career but gets a chance to show his stuff in a grass sprint today and gives every indication that he’ll thoroughly enjoy the turn back in trip. He’s a first-off-the-claim for D. O’Neill (strong stats), retains F. Prat, and has recent speed figures that are better than par for this second-level allowance affair. We’re expecting the son of Raven’s Pass to settle off the pace and blast home, so at 9/5 on the morning line we’ll make him a straight play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 5: Post 2:29 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 4-Sara Crewe; 6-Rickie Nine Toe’s; 9-On the Verge

Forecast: Maiden $50,000 claiming sophomore fillies sprint six and one-half furlongs in what appears to be a fairly wide open affair. Best advice is to use as many as you can afford to in rolling exotic play. Sara Crewe drops in for a tag for the first time, exits an infinitely tougher race in which she got bounced around at the start and was forced very wide, and picks up J. Rosario while returning to conventional dirt for the first time since finishing second in her debut last summer at Pleasanton. Rickie Nine Toe’s has solid form at the level, having hit the board in all four career starts. She was more than four lengths clear of the rest last time out and projects to be part of the pace throughout. On the Verge missed by a neck in her debut vs. similar and has a right to produce a forward move. Today’s extra half furlong may be of some help. (Full disclosure, this handicapper is a part owner of Sara Crewe).

RACE 6: Post 3:01 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 1-Bella Chica; 3-Civil Suit; 6-Rainwineandhereiam

Forecast: Rainwineandhereiam is a first-timer from a barn that is capable with debut runners and shows and extended series of workouts at San Luis Rey Downs that indicate ability and fitness. She’s a four-year-old daughter of Stormin Fever being protected in straight maiden company, so we’ll assume she’s well-liked by her connections. Bella Chica returned off a long layoff to finish a solid second on turf last month and not much more may be needed to earn her a diploma. If she breaks cleanly from the rail, the daughter of City Zip should draft into a comfortable second-flight, ground-saving position and then have dead aim from the top of the lane to the wire. Civil Suit, third in the same race ‘Chica exits, makes her second career start but her first with blinkers, so a significant forward move is possible. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with a slight preference on top to the newcomer, Rainwineandhereiam.

RACE 7: Post 3:32 PT. Grade: B
Use: 2-Bold Endeavor; 4-California Street

Forecast: Bold Endeavor and California Street were badly overmatched in the San Pasqual S.-G2 earlier this month but both return to reality today in this second-level allowance main track miler and both should be able to regain their best form. ‘Endeavor shortens to what probably is his preferred trip and catches a pace scenario that figures to greatly promote his front-running style. The switch to J. Rosario won’t hurt, either. California Street has numbers that fit and represents the most dangerous of the closing types. Both should be included in rolling exotic play, with preference on top to Bold Endeavor.

RACE 8: Post 4:03 PT. Grade: B
Use: 1-Desmond Doss; 2-Southern King; 3-Proud Pedro

Forecast: Proud Pedro is overdue for a win and seems capable of producing a sufficient late kick after being reunited with “win rider” F. Prat. His only prior victory came over the local lawn at nine furlongs; today he gets a chance to do his thing over a mile and one-quarter. Southern King, a strong runner-up under similar conditions in his first start since arriving from the east and joining the P. Miller barn, retains J. Rosario and should draft into a perfect ground-saving, pace-stalking trip from his inside draw. The Animal Kingdom gelding shows two recent bullet drills at San Luis Rey Downs to indicate he’s spot on. Desmond Doss was victimized by a slow pace in a tougher spot on Cal Cup day but lands the rail, drops in class, continues to train well, and seems likely to produce a forward move in his third start off a layoff.