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Saturday, May 23: Santa Anita Park Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

May 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 Makers:

2-Pneumatic (4-1)

Unbeaten in two starts with a pair of highly impressive performances, this sophomore son of Uncle Mo gets tested for class in the Matt Winn Stakes, a Grade-3 event that could serve as a steppingstone to the Belmont Stakes four weeks later. The Steve Asmussen-trained colt lands a favorable inside draw, has the tactical speed to secure a perfect ground-saving trip, and a closing kick that should keep his record spotless on the way to bigger and better things. There’s plenty of value to be found at or near his morning line of 4-1.

5 – Field Pass (4-1)

Rapidly developing and versatile 3-year-old returns to grass after a clever all-weather score at Turfway Park in this one mile listed stakes and seems well-spotted to extend his winning streak to three. His victory on turf two runs back in the Dania Beach Stakes at Gulfstream was superb, as the son of Lemon Drop Kid overcame severe traffic to get up in the final strides while displaying a turn of foot that only the good ones have. At 4-1 on the morning – assuming the race remains on grass – the Mike Maker-trained colt is a strong win play and rolling exotic single.

Today’s Workout Analysis: View PDF File

RACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: B
Use: 1-Much More Halo; 3-Big Cheddar; 7-Silardi

Forecast: Today’s opener is a challenging maiden turf sprint offering several first-time starters with credentials to run well. As it is, we’ll stick with those with experience. Silardi was well-meant in his debut at Oaklawn Park earlier this month, but after flashing early speed and then fading in a hot race the P. Miller-trained 3-year-old seems certain to improve for a barn that hits a spectacular 25% with a massive flat-bet profit with second-time starters. Additionally, as a son of City Zip, this gelding should improve a ton with the switch to grass and if that weren’t enough red-hot F. Prat takes the call. There should be some good value at 7/2 on the morning if you can get it. Much More Halo missed by head over this course and distance in a similar affair in late February and has trained steadily since. He’s guaranteed a ground-saving trip from the rail and should run his race, but after four starts the feeling is that he can’t really beat a good colt if in fact there’s one in here. Big Cheddar is 15-1 on the morning line and probably is a bit better than that. His only prior turf sprint resulted in a good second place finish with a career top speed figure and not much more will be needed to at least hit the board. We’ll have tickets using all three in our rolling exotics and then press with Silardi in the win pool.

RACE 2: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: B
Use: 2-Divine Armor; 4-Believe Now

Forecast: Divine Armor has plenty in his favor in this maiden special weight main track miler for older horses. Beaten a neck with a huge, career-top speed figure last time out over this track and distance while almost five lengths clear of the rest, the son of Include won’t have to improve much to handle this assignment. The one he may have to worry about the most is the second-time starter Believe Now, who ran better than the line shows in his sprint debut. The Uncle Mo colt was in traffic much of the way before responding when clear to finish a willing fourth and then galloping out strongly, indicating he’s likely to improve with experience and distance. The barn’s go-to rider V. Espinoza takes the call, and we suspect the son of Uncle Mo, following a fast recent five furlong drill (:59.3) will step forward for the M. McCarthy barn, which has excellent stats with second-time starters. Both should be used in rolling exotic play with the 8/5 morning line favorite, Divine Armor, the logical top pick and one to beat.

RACE 3: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: B+
Use: 2-Distant Vista; 4-Margot’s Boy

Forecast: Triple Crown nominated Distant Vista makes his U. S. debut after winning a moderate handicap over the all-weather surface at Dundalk in Ireland in December toting 138 lbs. while giving 21 lbs. to the runner-up (who did they think he was, Forego?). Three prior runs (including two on soft turf) didn’t amount to much, but this impressive performance was his first start in blinkers and led to the acquisition and importation to the U.S.. Once arrived, the son of Footstepsinthesand has looked very sharp in a series of training track drills that should have him fit and ready, so from a good inside draw and with F. Prat taking the call the Irish-bred 3-year-old appears extremely live and well-meant. As a saver, we’ll include on a ticket or two the improving Cal-bred Margot’s Bay, already a two-time winner over this course and distance with steadily rising speed figures and a clear pace advantage that will allow him to be the controlling speed. If not policed up front, the son of Clubhouse Ride could give ‘Vista a tough target to run down.

RACE 4: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 2-Tiz Wonderfully; 5-Perfect Ice Storm; 7-Tiz Master

Forecast: We’ll use three in this allowance optional claiming miler for fillies and mares but big ticket players may find the need to spread even deeper, it’s that kind of race. Perfect Ice Storm crushed a much softer restricted (nw-3) $16,000 claiming field over a track listed as “good” in her most recent appearance while earning a career top speed figure, one that puts her right in the hunt in this tougher affair. This will be her third start off a layoff for a filly that appears much improved from last year, so at 4-1 on the morning line the P. Eurton-trained Cal-bred gets a slight edge on top. Tiz a Master, in her second start off a layoff, stretches out for the R. Baltas barn. After finishing a solid runner-up in an open $20,000 claiming sprint that produced a career-top speed figure coupled with a good recent workout, she’s another that appears to be on the upgrade. We’re expecting the daughter of Ministers Wild Cat to fold into a comfortable pace-stalking position and then have her chance from the quarter pole home. The improving Tiz Wonderfully, a winner of three of her last four starts and potentially the controlling speed, earned a career top speed figure in her most recent score vs. modest $12,500 foes and today is protected in what we’ll assume is a sign of confidence. However, her work tab is sketchy and regular jockey V. Espinoza jumps ship to ride 12-1 Shanghai Barbie (huh?) so there are enough mixed signals to make this J. Cassidy-trained mare difficult to rely on. We’ll toss her in on ticket or two but that’s it. A case can also be made for the morning line (5/2) favorite Scarlet Heat, but this will be her first try on dirt and at her price that’s a bit too problematic for us.

RACE 5: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: B
Use: 2-Stubbins; 6-Wildman Jack

Forecast: Stubbins appears to have found his niche as a high-class late-running turf sprinter. His much-troubled fourth place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint-G1 over this course last fall was his best performance ever, and today he gets an extra half-furlong to work with in his first start off the bench while switching to superior grass rider U. Rispoli. He’s won following a long layoff in the past, and a bullet three furlong blowout (:34 flat) four days ago at San Luis Rey Downs catches the eye, so if he can leave cleanly and can launch his bid unobstructed, the son of Morning Line could tag the leaders. The 2-1 morning line favorite Wildman Jack looks like the controlling speed, conditions that produced a record-setting win in the Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint-G3 over the straightaway course in Meydan in early March. ‘Jack may be less effective over today’s round course but if he can shake loose without pressure he’ll be tough to run down. There is no question that both Cistron and Texas Wedge have the credentials to win a race like this as well; however, the former is just 2-for-14 over the Santa Anita lawn and the latter hasn’t quite yet beaten this level of competition. We’ll try to squeak by without them but if you feel the need to include one or both as a back-up, go right ahead.

RACE 6: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: C
Use: 1-Midnight Garden; 2-Sybil’s Kitty; 3-Real Good Deal; 7-Drop the Mic

Forecast: Honestly, nothing would surprise us in this bottom-level (nw-2) $12,500 sprint for fillies and mares. We’ll pass the race while going four-deep in our rolling exotics. Real Good Deal, in the photo when third in a similar event here in mid-March, makes a monumental jockey switch to F. Prat and on that basis alone should be the favorite and one to beat. The L. Powell-trained filly projects to settle into a second-flight stalking position and then have dead aim with it counts. Sybil’s Kitty, a close fourth in the same race Real Good Deal exits, switches to A. Cedillo and has the kind of speed to set or make the pace. On her best day, she’s right there. Midnight Garden won at first asking in a maiden $20,000 affair in March with a speed figure that makes her competitive at this level. She showed a bit of moxie in that rally-wide victory and if she can secure a good trip from the rail the daughter of Majestic Warrior should be right there. Drop the Mic has trained fairly well for a cheap sort for her first start since November. Her New Mexico isn’t half bad, and from her outside draw the G. Headley-trained mare should enjoy a soft, pace-stalking trip. Toss her in at 6-1 on the morning line.

RACE 7: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 2-Rstars and Stripes; 5-Lovely Lilia; 9-Samurai Charm

Forecast: Here’s another difficult affair, this one a starter optional claimer for 3-year-old fillies. Samurai Charm returns protected in her first start since September and lands F. Prat, so we’ll assume the she’s fit and ready following a solid series of drills at San Luis Rey Downs. She’s pretty quick in a field that doesn’t have any break-away speed types, so either on the lead or from slightly off the pace the P. Miller-trained filly may get the kind of trip that can bring out her best. At 6-1 on the morning line in an open fray, the daughter of First Samurai seems as good as any. Lovely Lilia returns from Oaklawn Park where she was unplaced in a tougher spot over a wet-fast track she may not have cared for. The daughter of Animal Kingdom shows a 15 length maiden-claiming win over the local main track that charts very well here, so off her best race the P. D’Amato-trained filly is a “must use.” Rstars and Stripes, a nearly 10-length maiden winner over the Santa Anita main track in February, has numbers that fit and offers long shot value at 12-1 on the morning line. She shortens to five and one-half furlongs and will likely be in the first flight from the get-go. We’ll try to survive and advance using just these three in our rolling exotics but not really with a great deal of confidence.

RACE 8: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: X
Single: 5-United

Forecast: United is 6/5 on the morning line and looks it on paper. The Giant’s Causeway gelding, second in both the Breeders’ Cup Turf-G1 and the Hollywood Turf Cup-G1 before winning the San Marcos S.-G1 in February over this course and distance, has trained like he’s ready to pick up where he left off when facing a field that he really should outclass. The R. Mandella-trained 5-year-old has enough tactical speed to be placed wherever F. Prat wants to be in a race flow that should be very soft during the early stages. He’s an obvious no-value rolling exotic single.

RACE 9: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 2-Vodka Twist; 9-Dr. Hoffman; 12-Salah

Forecast: Bottom-rung maiden $20,000 claiming routers meet in the finale; best advice is to use as many as you can afford to. Vodka Twist is a big class dropper likely to gain confidence at this bottom level. Blinkers are re-equipped, and in his first try on dirt and exiting a sprint the son of Distorted Humor should be find himself close up with every chance. If he can run at all, this would be a very good spot to show it. Dr. Hoffman was wiped out at the start in his debut vs. high-priced maiden claimers over a mile on grass and never really showed much thereafter, but this is an entirely different context, and with the switch to F. Prat the son of Alternation should be much more competitive. Based on his recent workouts the son of Alternation seems likely display a lot more early speed today, assuming he leaves with his field. Salah is a 12-race maiden and obviously not one to trust, especially from the extreme outside draw, but he’s dropping to the bottom while switching to U. Rispolo and has several back speed figures that are good enough to win.