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Saturday, June 20: Santa Anita Park Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

June 20, 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 Analysis: View PDF File

RACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: B
Use: 2-Utalknboutpractice; 7-Count Alexei

Forecast: Count Alexei lost a heartbreaker in his racing debut over this course and distance last month, flashing good speed to make pace, opening up into the lane while appearing home free but then getting tagged right on the money in a legitimate race for the level. The B. Koriner barn has excellent stats with second-timers so we’re expecting this Cal-bred son of Vronsky to run at least as well if not better while facing what probably is a lesser group than he encountered first time out. He’s 8/5 on the morning line and may go lower. Utalknboutpractice, fourth in the same race ‘Alexei exits, walked out of the gate, fell far back, found room to rally into the lane, put in a good run from the quarter pole until the sixteenth pole, and then lost some of his steam in the final stages. He’s another from a barn (P. Miller) whose second-timers usually move forward, so if this son of Just Phillip breaks better today he could be a danger. The monumental jockey switch to F. Prat won’t hurt, either. We’re expecting the winner to be one of these two, so both should be included in rolling exotic play, with preference on top to Count Alexei.

RACE 2: Post 1:02 PT. Grade: B+
Single: 5-Keeper Of the Stars

Forecast: This year’ edition of the Wilshire S.-G3 drew seven starters, two of which will get most of the play. The easy way out is to double the race using both favorites in rolling exotic play, but there will be little wagering value in taking that approach, so we’ll zero in on Keeper Ofthe Stars. The daughter of Midnight Lute has developed in a versatile and consistent performer in the West Coast distaff middle distance turf ranks, and after winning both the Buena Vista S.-G2 and the Gamely S.-G1 over the local lawn we’re expecting the J. Wong-trained filly to fire another winning shot. Equally effective on the lead or from a second flight stalking position, she continues to train well, and may even have more improvement in her. It’s tough to fault Toinette – she’s a perfect four-for-four over the Santa Anita turf course - and although she’s been away since early December the daughter of Scat Daddy has shown the ability to fire a winning shot fresh. If it turns out that she’s simply the better filly, so be it.

RACE 3: Post 1:33 PT. Grade: B
Use: 4-Adens Dream; 5-Jan’s Reserve

Forecast: We’ll double this five-runner $32,000 claiming sprint, with Jan’s Reserve given a very slight edge on top over Adens Dream in a race in which early pace projects to be moderate at best. Jan’s Reserve is winless in six starts over the Santa Anita main track but exits a strong, productive race, has breezed very well since that mid-May allowance dash (his first start in more than a year) and takes a realistic drop in class for the money run while landing the cozy outside draw. The M. Puype barn has superior stats with second-off-layoff runners and this son of Ready’s Image is plenty fast enough on pure numbers. Adens Dream may be the controlling speed and given that type of trip he could be hard to run down. He’s a first-off-the-claim for the capable A. Kitchingman outfit, switches to the barn’s go-to rider E. Maldonado and is a tough, veteran gelding who knows how to win races. On his best day, he’s more than capable of wiring this field.

RACE 4: Post 2:02 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 5-Sweet Sonny; 8-Moonhall Milly; 9-Vegas Palm; 11-Officious

Forecast: This turf sprint for maiden special weight fillies and mares drew a full field of 12, and that’s always nice to see. We’ll go four deep in our rolling exotics and hope to get a decent price home. Sweet Sonny flashed good speed for a half in a similar spot in her debut last month before gradually weakening and has returned to train very well for trainer B. Koriner, whose second-timers often step forward in their next outings. A sharp recent drill gives hope that this daughter of Twirling Candy will do just that, so at 8-1 on the morning line we’ll put her on top and hope she can secure the early lead and roll all the way to the wire. Moonhall Milly, a close third in the same race Sweet Sonny finished seventh in, broke slowly in that race and then rushed up to be within range inside before staying on well to hit the board. If she leaves with her field today, the Irish-bred filly could be hard to handle and may, in fact, go favored. Vegas Palm, a good second in that same race, seems to have found her niche as a turf sprinter (draw a line through her route races and she’s pretty good) and the G. Mandella-trained mare is a “must use” in the exotics. Hopefully, she gets the patient ride she prefers. Officious was well-beaten in her only outing last fall and was stopped on; it’s certainly possible she’ll be a better type this time around as her recent training track workouts suggests. The daughter of City Zip is drawn a little farther out than we’d prefer but should be in the first flight outside and then have her chance to show what she can do.

RACE 5: Post 2:32 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 1-Alvaaro; 4-All American Hero

Forecast: All American Herowas out of his element in his first outing since last June when unplaced in a tough first-level allowance grass sprint but drops for the money run and has numbers last year in Canada that chart very well against this group. The Hard Spun colt has done almost all of his racing on turf or synthetic, but this will be his first start for a tag and if he handles the dirt he’ll be a strong factor at 6-1 on the morning line. Alvaaro has been away since last October but returns in a proper spot (Nw-2, $25,000) for D. O’Neill and lands F. Prat, so we’re going to assume he’s fit and ready following a slow but steady series of workouts at San Luis Rey Downs. He’ll need to break well from the rail but if the lightly-raced son of Old Fashioned can negotiate a good trip he can win. We’ll try to survive and advance using just these two in a shaky affair that you may find the need to spread deeper.

RACE 6: Post 3:02 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 1-Psycho Dar; 2-Unbridled Ethos; 5-City Rage; 6-Whooping Jay

Forecast: Here’s another difficult turf sprint with several possibilities. We’ll go four-deep in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass the race. Whooping Jay looked good winning his comeback last month vs. state-bred rivals while earning a sharp numbers and could be capable of scoring right back in open company. His only prior turf race was quite good (second in the Speakeasy S. as a 2-year-old) and his style suggest he can win on the lead or from a stalking position. A recent :59 4/5 workout (second fastest of 60) should have him right on edge. City Rage, a solid runner-up over this course and distance in a similar affair last month, has the makings of a useful late-running grass sprinter and such tactics surely will be employed again today. With good racing luck the son of City Zip will be heard from late. Unbridled Ethos overcame traffic to quicken late and win from Cal-bred foes under these conditions last month, and while the field itself wasn’t particularly strong the performance was quite good. This will be his second start off an 11 month layoff and with only slight improvement the J. Mullins-trained gelding, with just five career starts, may be able to move up the ladder if he can stay healthy. Psycho Dar, away since last summer but with the kind of early speed that can take a field like this gate-to-wire, goes for a barn (S. Miyadi) that is always dangerous with off-the-bench runners. You always have to hold your breath in the final 50 yards – the son of Storm Wolfe has been known to give it up under pressure – but on pure numbers he’s a fit so we’ll toss him in as well.

RACE 7: Post 3:32 PT. Grade: C+
Use: 6-Multiplier; 7-Ax Man

Forecast: Ax Man and Multiplier – one-three when they met two races back – square off again and both are more than capable of winning with anything close to their best race. Ax Man filled the race for McKinzie when showing speed and then fading in the Triple Bend S.-G2 (he wasn’t knocked about when tiring in the lane) and is back where he belongs today while being reunited with “win rider” M. Smith. Arguably most effective around two turns, the son of Misremembered catches a very soft pace scenario and should either be on the lead or in a comfortable pace-stalking position. The concern is that he’s 8/5 on the morning line and has been known to burn money when heavily-backed. Multiplier, beaten a neck in the Big ‘Cap in March, certainly has races that can win but is just 3-for-27 lifetime and is winless since 2018. The veteran gelding will have every chance from a second flight position under F. Prat. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and hope that at least one of them brings his “A” game.

RACE 8: Post 4:02 PT. Grade: A-
Single: 5-Brickyard Ride

Forecast: Brickyard Road is simply too fast for these. The rapidly-developing son of Clubhouse Ride just scorched the main track when beating a starter optional claiming field by almost 10 lengths while earning a career top speed figure, one that buries this group if he can repeat it. And based on his workouts since that race, the C. Lewis-trained colt can do just that. The switch to turf doesn’t concern us at all and a low profile jockey should keep the price acceptable, so at 5/2 on the morning line he’s a win play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 9: Post 4:32 PT. Grade: X
Single: 1-Collusion Illusion

Forecast: We’re not wild about the rail draw for Collusion Illusion but it really shouldn’t matter. The Grade-2 winning son of Twirling Candy returned at least as well as he left when in his first outing as a 3-year-old trounced a very strong second-level allowance field of older horses (runner-up Tiger Dad came back to win a state-bred stakes) with a career top speed figure. The M. Glatt-trained colt probably will have to rally from last (of five) to win, but with F. Prat staying aboard that won’t be asking too much. At 4/5 on the morning line he’s a logical, no-value, rolling exotic single in this year’s edition of the Laz Barrera S.-G3.

RACE 10: Post 5:02 PT. Grade: B
Use: 1-Sacred Rider; 2-Margot’s Boy; 7-Indian Peak

Forecast: Sacred Rider is a hard-knocking, dependable Golden Gate shipper with the proper style for this nine furlong trip, and we’re expecting the son of Lucky Pulpit to produce the last run in a race that should have a proper amount of early speed. He’ll probably have to beat his fellow Northern California-based Indian Peak (twice a winner over Sacred Rider up north) and under M. Smith is clearly the most dangerous of the deep-closing types. Truthfully, they’re hard to separate. Devout front-runner Margot’s Boy is a perfect 3-for-3 over the local lawn but may be a tad vulnerable at nine furlongs, especially with sprinter-stretching-out Bam Bam Again in the field. He’s too good of a colt to dismiss so we’ll toss him somewhere as a saver or a back-up.

RACE 11: Post 5:32 PT. Grade: C
Single: 3-World Affairs

Forecast: This modest bottom-rung maiden claimer drew a field of seven with nothing in it to truly embrace. World Affairs, a $260,000 OBS April sale purchase, is being tossed into the scrap heap, but as a 4-year-old with just two career starts the connections clearly are ready to move on. On pure form he’s not terrible, so we’ll put him on top by default, and if it’s not him, it could be any of the other six (yes, even Fabio at 50-1 with the blinkers off angle could be used). Tread lightly, or better yet, don’t tread at all.

RACE 12: Post 6:02 PT. Grade: B
Use: 4-Blackout; 6-Boogalute; 7-Shadow Sphinx

Forecast: The finale is a starter’s allowance turf miler loaded with question marks. The morning line favorite is Shadow Sphinx, scratched out of a short field on June 5 and un-raced since January of 2019. The R. Baltas-trained gelding actually has trained quite well for his comeback and has a prior win over the local lawn, so if he’s feeling up to it the son of Pioneer ofthe Nile, with “win rider” F. Prat aboard, certainly is good enough (and this barn is off-the-charts with come-backers). Blackout has numbers that fit, and though he’s been sprinting of late the French-bred gelding is more than capable at this trip, having finished first or second in four of seven career starts over the Santa Anita lawn. With regular pilot Prat opting for Shadow Sphinx, capable A. Cedillo takes the call and should have this gelding on or near the lead. Boogalute has races that make him dangerous but will be making his first career start on grass. He’s not really bred to improve on the lawn, but if he can handle it he can make some noise.