Log In

Sunday, May 17: Santa Anita Park Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

May 17, 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 AnalysisView PDF File

RACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: B
Use: 5-Shines Her Light; 8-Lofty; 10-Querelle

Forecast: Lofty is a true course specialist, being perfect in three starts sprinting over the Santa Anita turf course, and she’ll be a short price to extend her streak while tackling open first-level allowance company today. The M. McCarthy-trained filly is clearly the quickest in the field and if she clears early without much effort she’ll be very difficult to catch, but at a short price. For back-ups you may want to consider Querelle, stuck way outside but a prototype late-running turf sprinter who will be rolling late but will need somebody else to soften up the favorite, and Shines Her Light, a reasonable maiden winner over this course and distance in her U.S. debut in early February and with every right to produce a forward move for the hot J. Sadler barn.

RACE 2: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: B-
Single: 1 – Miss Glorious

Forecast: There are too many unknowns in the first 2-year-old race of the year to have any real conviction in this four-and-one-half furlong dash but Miss Glorious did display good speed in the one workout that we were able to view (click on our workout report above) and as a daughter of Goldencents she has every right to win right now. Let’s hope that she breaks running from the rail and shows the kind of speed we believe she has. There are others in here that have credentials as well, so the best advice is to tread lightly.

RACE 3: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: B
Use: 1-Afternoon Heat; 4-Whooping Jay

Forecast: Although he hasn’t been out since February of 2019, Whooping Jay has proven he can fire fresh – he won his debut by more than five lengths – and the son of Square Eddie has given every impression in recent drills that he retains all of his speed. This state-bred first-level allowance sprint doesn’t have a whole lot of early zip signed on, so if ‘Jay breaks running he should be in the first flight throughout with every chance at 4-1 on the morning line for the always potent O’Neill/Gutierrez team. Afternoon Heat looked good easily handling a starter’s allowance field over this track in early March while earning his typical solid figure. A repeat of that race makes him tough on the raise, but we’re a bit concerned that his lack of gate speed from his rail post could spell trouble. We’ll use him as a back-up in our rolling exotic play but the main push goes to Whooping Jay.

RACE 4: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 4-Lovely Finish; 10-Liberalism

Forecast: Liberalism has been away since last August but the work tab at Los Alamitos should have her fit enough to fire a winning shot off the bench for a barn that has solid stats with layoff runners. The daughter of Broke Vow, runner-up in both of her starts at Del Mar, lands hot riding U. Rispoli, is comfortably drawn outside, and projects to be on or near the lead throughout. Lovely Finish is clearly the fastest mare in the field based strictly on speed figures and her sharp runner-up to Big Sweep (while almost eight lengths clear of the rest) in a similar spot in March was franked with ‘Sweep returned to beat the colts in a stakes sprint yesterday. The main concern is the barn, which has yet to win a race this year, and the 10-pound bug rider, who has yet to win race, anywhere. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with a very slight edge on top to Liberalism.

RACE 5: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: B
Use: 7-I Am Innocent; 9-Bud Knight

Forecast: State-bred maidens meet over a mile on grass in a challenging affair. I Am Innocent closed with interest to be a good runner-up in his debut and if he can transfer that dirt sprint form to two-turns on grass the son of Square Eddie will have an excellent chance to earn his diploma at a decent price. It’s been awhile since the B. Cecil stable has recorded a victory but in a moderate affair this Reddam homebred 3-year-old likely has upside that most of the others don’t and the recent work tab indicates improvement is probable. We’ll be happy if he leaves at or near his morning line of 6-1. Bud Knight is an eight-race maiden but finished second over this course and distance vs. similar in his last start in early February and not much more will be needed today. The speed figure earned in that race is better than par for this level and the third place finisher in that race already has come back to frank the form and win.

RACE 6: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: B
Use: 5-Tiger Dad; 7-Collusion Illusion

Forecast: Tiger Dad turns back to a sprint and a repeat of his ultra-impressive first-level allowance victory over this track and distance two runs back makes him the one to beat in a race lacking in the type of early speed that you’d normally see in a race like this. The son of Smiling Tiger should be comfortably placed either on the lead or just off it and then have every chance to duplicate his best effort. First or second in seven of 13 career starts, the C. Gaines-trained gelding retains regular pilot V. Espinoza and has run very well off brief vacations in the past Collusion Illusion, away since last September and tackling older rivals for the first time, lands the cozy outside post and could be a factor if he returns as well as he left. Winner of the Best Pal S.-G2 as a 2-year-old with a good speed figure, the M. Glatt-trained son of Twirling Candy has been working like he’s fit and could easily be better and faster after being given plenty of time to grow up and mature. St. Joe Bay was a beaten choice at Oaklawn Park while lacking his old speed and it’s possible the veteran gelding has lost a step or two along the way. But he’s a classy old pro and can’t be counted out while returning to the optional $62,500 ranks for the first time since being claimed for this price almost two years ago.

RACE 7: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: B
Use: 1-Sweet Devil; 3-Crystal Ball

Forecast: Crystal Ball has displayed plenty of promise in the a.m. and debuts over a mile – never an easy task – after being trained like a route-type in several of her recent drills (easy early, strong through the lane). This is a better than average field of maiden fillies and mares but this $750,000 2-year-old in training purchase gives every indication that she’s better than “better than average.” Sweet Devil displayed promise in a pair of starts during the winter and has been kept on edge with a series of steady, easy drills in the interim. This will be her first start on dirt but if she can transfer her grass form to the main track the daughter of Daredevil will be hard to beat, especially from her favorable draw. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; at 5-1 on the morning line Crystal Ball looks intriguing so we’ll put her slightly on top.

RACE 8: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: X
Use: 1-Fighting Mad; 5-Bellafina

Forecast: Bellafina is top class when she wants to be but is almost impossible to trust, having failed as the favorite no less than five times in her 14 race career, most recently at 7/5 in a stakes at Oaklawn Park last month when she broke slowly, lost position, and then ran off down the backstretch before understandably packing it in after a half mile. If she leaves cleanly today, the daughter of Quality Road should return to winning form, but at 6/5 on the morning line you know she’s going to be a heavy favorite once again. Fighting Mad is an extremely talented filly and could give Bellafina some serious competition, but this will be her first start since August and this race could be nothing more than a springboard to more serious two-turn races down the road. The daughter of New Year’s Day trains in the morning like future star but sprinting from the rail in her first start in nine months is problematic, to say the least. We’ll include her on a ticket or two as a back-up, but the main push must go to Bellafina.

RACE 9: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 5-Establish Justice; 10-Sutro; 11-Pasito

Forecast: Here’s a grass grab bag for restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming fillies and mares over a mile. Anything goes. Sutro drops into a seller for the first time and her only career win was accomplished over this course back in the winter of 2019. She missed most of the last year and the connections thought enough of her to protect her in two comeback races, so in this league the five-year-old mare may be able to get some of her confidence back. She’s a deep closer that will need racing luck and a decent pace to have her best chance. Let’s also include a couple of 12-1 shots on our ticket. Establish Justice had a bit of self-caused trouble when fifth of six in a tougher starter’s allowance turf miler in late February but if she can settle early, get some cover and then fight daylight at the head of the lane the daughter of Constitution has a chance to at least outrun her price. She’s looked pretty good in the a.m. of late and with just six career starts she’s not quite as exposed as some of the others. Pasito is hung way outside and just beat a weak band of maiden $20,000 distaffers on the main track, but the number wasn’t bad, and this will be her first start on turf. As a daughter of More Than Ready, why can’t she move up on it? Also, hot rider U. Rispoli stays aboard, so there’s that.

RACE 10: Post 5:00 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 2-Winning Element; 3-Unbroken Star; 5-Kiss Today Goodbye; 9-Striking a Pose

Forecast: The finale is a main track raffle for entry-level allowance older horses. Winning Element is facing more heat today than he he’s been used to seeing but his current form for hot trainer R. Hansen cannot be ignored. The City Zip gelding has a good stalking style that should keep him free of trouble and has speed figures that are a solid fit at this level. Striking a Pose won at first asking like a useful sort for M. Glatt, has done quite nicely in his morning preps since, and should be a live item despite today’s tougher task. The son of Majesticperfection projects to be part of the pace and then have his chance to show what he’s made of when the pressure is turned on. U. Rispoli, who rode ‘Pose in that debut win, jumps off to stay aboard Kiss Today Goodbye, a big figure maiden special weight winner at this one mile trip in late February. The son of Cairo Prince likely will settle somewhere in mid-pack and have dead aim from the quarter pole home. Unbroken Star will need to improve significantly in the numbers department but he’s a progressive son of Broken Vow fresh from a nice starter’s allowance win over this track and distance and continues to show well in his morning workouts. If there’s a hot pace – and there may very well be – he’ll be running on late at 12-1 on the morning line.