Log In

Saturday, May 16: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

May 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 Makers:

Churchill Downs – 7th race (4:08 ET)
5 – Say Moi (5/2)
Union Rags filly didn’t get much play (12-1) in her debut but turned in an extremely impressive performance when overcoming a slow start to finish an excellent second to a hot favorite while winding up more than six lengths clear of the rest in a fast, highly-rated race at Gulfstream Park in late March. The W. Mott-trained filly shows three easy breezes at Payson Park since that race, retains Johnny V., and with a clean break today should have no difficulty handling this maiden special weight field. She’s 5/2 on the morning line but seems likely to go lower, so you may receive better value by using her as a key in rolling daily doubles, pick-3’s and pick-4’s.

Churchill Downs – 10th race (5:44 ET)
11 – Aurelia Garland (8-1)
Was a very impressive maiden debut winner early in her juvenile campaign, winning by five-widening lengths when trained by Wesley Ward, but hasn’t start in more than a year and today returns in this first-level allowance race for new conditioner Rodolphe Brisset. She was actually entered but scratched in a similar race at Gulfstream Park a few weeks back, so she’s more than ready following a series of sharp workouts, including a bullet half-mile drill in :48 flat (fastest of 17) drill at Palm Meadows just 12 days ago. With I. Ortiz, Jr. in the saddle and at 8-1 on the morning line, she’s worth strong consideration both in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.

Golden Gate – 6th race (3:15 PT)
4 – Praise and Honor (5/2)
Promising daughter of Honor Code makes her debut following a string of impressive workouts that should have her ready to win at first asking in a competitive maiden dash restricted to 3-year-olds. Produced by the New York stakes-winning sprinter Going to Kukaro, this $330,000 yearling purchase would have started several weeks ago and finally gets an opportunity to launch her career for the potent jockey/trainer combo of Jonathan Wong and Ricky Gonzalez. She’ll offer good wagering value at her morning line of 5/2 if you can get it.

Today’s Workout AnalysisView PDF File

RACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 7-Street Image; 12-Ultimate Mystery; 14-Little Sydney

Forecast: Lil Sydney didn’t get the best of runs in a similar bottom-rung maiden claimer for older horses in late March, lacking room at a critical stage entering the lane and then finishing as best he could to be second while nearly three lengths clear of the rest. He’s drawn on the far outside today – hardly ideal but at least he’ll have a clear run – and is being re-equipped with blinkers while projecting to fold into a good second flight, stalking position. Ultimate Mystery exits the same race, closing a huge gap to be third after breaking slowly and being steadied to lose all chance. He’ll have a furlong less to work with today so he’d better break well and lay a lot closer if he’s going to have a legitimate look, but at 8-1 on the morning line he’s worth including. Possibly the one to catch is the come-backing Street Image, now in the W. Spawr barn after being away since last July at Los Alamitos. The son of Street Sense has a couple of back speed figures that are better than par for this level, so if he displays his old early speed off the bench for his new connections he could shake loose early and never look back. One of this barn’s “go-to” riders, T. Pereira, will try to keep him together in the final furlong.

RACE 2: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: B
Use: 2-Songofthedesert; 7-Wishful

Forecast: First level allowance fillies and mares sprint five and one-half furlongs in a race that doesn’t really have any breakaway speed types. Songofthedesert certainly is quick enough to be on or near the lead, and after fading to fourth in her most recent start in mid-March the J. Wong-trained mare shortens up a furlong to what may to be her preferred trip. First or second in seven of 15 career starts, she’s looked good in the morning in the interim and A. Cedillo stays aboard. Wishful is 2-for-4 over the Santa Anita main track but 0-for12 everywhere else, so the L. Powell-trained daughter of Storm Wolf seems like the one to beat. She prefers to settle behind the leaders and then kick home and projects to enjoy that type of trip while being reunited with “win rider” F. Prat. These are the two we’ll include in our rolling exotics, with Songofthedesert, certain to be the better price of two, getting a slight edge on top.

RACE 3: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: B
Use: 4-Navetta; 5-Himiko; 12-Fierce for Sol

Forecast: On paper this has the makings of a strong race for the level, a maiden sprint for fillies and mares on grass, that features a couple of hot-shot first-timers and several others that have run well enough to warrant consideration. Navetta had a poor draw in her debut and was virtually eliminated at the start to fall far back, but then produced a steady rally to enter contention into the lane and kept to her task to finish second, beaten just over a length, while arguably much best. She gets a chance to verify that favorable impression under similar conditions today and hopefully will leave with her field this time. Since that early March outing the J. Sadler-trained 4-year-old has done some very good work in the morning, so a forward move is likely. The B. Baffert barn is represented by two fast-working first-timers. Fierce for Sul had the misfortune of drawing the far outside post, but the daughter of Speightsown has displayed some excellent gate speed in the a.m. and should come out flying. A $650,000 OBS March sale purchase last year, she finally makes it the post with a healthy series drills that should have her plenty fit, and this abbreviated sprint distance should be right up her alley. Himikoalso has displayed intense speed in her morning trials. A $1 million weanling purchase by American Pharoah, she debuts on grass, a surface that most of her sire’s offspring seem to prefer. As well as she’s trained on dirt, you have to think that she’ll do even better on the sod. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics; due to experience over the course we’ll give Navetta the edge on top.

RACE 4: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B
Use: 1-Law Abidin Citizen; 3-Justinian; 6-Multiplier

Forecast: Justinian is a lightly-raced progressive colt facing a field of proven graded stakes performers in this allowance race with conditions that make just about anybody who wants to be eligible. The good-looking colt seeks his third straight score, and while his speed figures aren’t quite where they need to be, another significant forward move is possible for the B. Baffer-trained 4-year-old. We’re expecting him to be the controlling speed, and if not respected the son of Justin Phillip may prove troublesome from gate to wire. Multiplier missed by a neck in the Santa Anita Handicap-G1 in hist most recent outing while earning a triple-digit Beyer speed figure for the first time in his 25-race career. A one-paced grinder who may find this mile journey a bit sharp, he still must be respected based on the company lines he’s been keeping. Law Abidin Citizen won the Longacres Mile-G3 at this distance last summer and may have been a tad short when weakening to finish fourth in the San Carlos S.-G2 in his comeback in March. The concern is that he’s never really been at his best over the Santa Anita main track – he’s just 1-for-9 – so the most we’ll do is use him as a back-up or a saver.

RACE 5: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: B
Use: 1-Worthy Turk; 2-Kris’ Wild Kat

Forecast: The main contention is this restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming turf miler is drawn inside. Worthy Turk returns from the Bay Area, stretches out, drops in class, and switches to grass, so the P. Miller-trained gelding has plenty of reasons to return to winning form. Always most effective when held up early and allowed to run late, the son of Lemon Drop Kid is assured a good ground-saving trip and when produced by A. Cedillo at the head of the lane should be able manufacture a winning late kick. Kris’ Wild Kat, away for a year and unproven around two turns, is realistically spotted upon his return and has trained well enough to expect a good effort off the bench. While there are others in here who can show speed, the son of Wildcat Heir strikes as a need-the-lead type, so we suspect F. Prat will let him roll early and hope that he can see out the journey. Preference on top goes to Worthy Turk but we’ll have tickets using both in our rolling exotics.

RACE 6: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: B
Use: 7-Bettor Trip Nick; 8-Big Sweep; 9-Phantom Boss

Forecast: Bettor Trip Nick is back sprinting where he belongs and will be adding blinkers for the first time, so we’re expecting a return to top form by this Bay Area-based gelding in this state-bred sprint stakes for 3-year-olds. Plenty quick but not a need-the-lead type, the son of Boat Trip should be in the first flight throughout while having to deal with the fast debut winning filly Big Sweep right alongside. Both have earned speed figures that are good enough to win, but because ‘Nick is the more seasoned of the two we’ll give him the edge on top. ‘Sweep didn’t have a whole lot behind her in her win over this track and distance in March but did it the right way and despite having to face the boys must be given a strong chance right back. Also, because she’s drawn outside the other main speed, she might settle into a stalker’s role under F. Prat and it will be interesting to see how she performs if such tactics are employed. Phantom Boss launches a comebacker and if he can reproduce last year’s form he’ll not be without a chance. A maiden winner over the local main track last June and then victorious in the Bashford Manner S.-G3 at Churchill Downs later that same month, the J. Periban-trained colt is comfortably drawn outside and will have every opportunity to stalk and pounce. Based on his recent workouts, the son of Shackleford should be fit enough.

RACE 7: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: B
Use: 2-She’s Our Charm 3-Strike At Dawn

Forecast: She’s Our Charm was visually very impressive winning a first-level allowance event over this course and distance in early March, cutting out wicked fractions and then finding more when challenged the length of the lane. The victory produced a career-top speed figure, and the daughter of Candy Ride has trained extremely well since, so we’re expecting the R. McAnally-trained filly to handle this class hike in stride. She’s most effective on the front and new jockey B. Blanc would be advised to forego any type of rating tactics and simply put her on the lead. Strike At Dawn probably found the mini-marathon distance of the Red Carpet H.-G3 a tad too far when last seen last fall – she wound up a close fourth after hitting the front at the furlong pole – but in her first start in more than five months and dropping back to a mile the daughter of Declaration of War is the clearly the most dangerous of the closing types. Both should be used in your rolling exotics; we’ll have extra tickets keying She’s Our Charm on top.

RACE 8: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 2-Bella Vita; 5-Bulletproof One

Forecast: Bulletproof One is clearly the quickest filly in the field and seems the logical favorite, though there are a few in here that have beaten her in the past and her only prior outing over the deep Santa Anita main track was disappointing, albeit over a seven-furlong trip that probably was too far for her. A back-to-back winner over the Golden Gate Fields all-weather surface in March and training steadily since then at San Luis Rey Downs, the P. Miller-trained filly will once again try to take them as far as she can. Bella Vita gets tested on dirt for the first time and there’s no reason – at least based on pedigree – why she won’t handle the main track just as well if not better than grass. The S. Callaghan-trained filly failed to stay a mile when worn down late in the China Doll Stakes in March but is another that is fresh and dangerous and training extremely well over the local main track. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics; at 6-1 on the morning line Bella Vita will be the better price of the two so we’ll press with her in the win pool if she closes anywhere near those odds.

RACE 9: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 1-Heywoods Beach; 10-Instanbul; 11-Fire Polish

Forecast: Older maidens meet over a mile in a typical grass grab bag that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Istanbul, away since November of 2018, returns for J. Cassidy after a series of excellent drills over the main track and could easily be a better type now than when he was showing promise as a 2-year-old. The long-fused son of He’s Had Enough will be doing his best work from the quarter pole home, and with a decent pace to set things up he may be able to tag the speed. Worth noting is that he finished second to subsequent Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster in his debut and was a decent fourth behind stakes winning Bob and Jack and Grade-1 winner Omaha Beach in his only try two-turning on grass. Heywood Beach is progressing with racing for J. Sadler, lands the good rail, and projects to inherit an ideal ground-saving, second flight trip. The son of Speightstown continues to work well, so another forward move is likely, especially under outstanding grass rider U. Rispoli. Fire Polish is a big price (12-1) on the morning line and probably is worth using as a back-up or a saver. A first-time starter by Hard Spun and therefore bred to love turf, he’s done some sneaky good work in the morning for a barn that hardly ever wins with a debut runner but at the very least he’s worth checking out for future reference.

RACE 10: Post 5:00 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 5-Sorriso; 8-Hapi Hapi; 9-U. S. Danger; 11-Desert Swarm

Forecast: The finale is a maiden $50,000 claimer for state-bred older horses and on paper looks like a raffle, so let’s take a few shots. Hapi Hapi returns off a long layoff for C. Lewis following a pair of non-productive but troubled outings last summer. In both cases the son of Clubhouse Ride got off poorly and never got untracked but he’s actually trained reasonably well for a maiden claiming type in recent weeks and could be a better sort after maturing over the winter and spring. Obviously, he’ll need to break with his field this time, but if he does the 3-year-old gelding could improve considerably, and at 20-1 on the morning line he provides a chance for tote-busting payoff in a race in which the favorites may be vulnerable. U. S. Danger is another huge price chance in a wide open affair. Unplaced in a much-troubled straight maiden state-bred sprint in December at Del Mar, the son of U. S. Ranger has more early speed than that race allowed him to show, so against this softer group he has a very good chance of outrunning his 15-1 price, especially if he gets out of the gate in good order. Desert Swarm drops into a seller for the first time in his second start off layoff for B. Koriner. The son of Desert Code returns to the main track and should be forwardly placed in a field without much early speed. The number he earned when fourth on turf last time out makes him a solid threat, but whether or not he can repeat that type of race on dirt remains to be seen. The second-time starter Sorriso was an okay third in his debut on grass, drops into a claimer and removes blinkers. The M. Glatt-trained gelding certainly has a right to move forward under the conditions.