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Sunday, September 27: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

September 27, 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.

The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.

Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.

RACE 1: Post: 12:30 PT Grade: B-
Use: 6-Spanish Count; 7-Gregdar

Keys to the Race: (view video)

Forecast: Gregdar was nosed out in his only outing in 2019 – a productive maiden $25,000 sprint at Golden Gate Fields 11 months ago – and returns in a below standard maiden $50,000 sprint that should be within his capabilities. The work tab that includes a bullet half mile drill (:48 flat, fastest of 24) earlier this month for new trainer P. D’Amato should have him fit and ready, and the presence of U. Rispoli in the saddle indicates that the Greydar colt is well-meant off the layoff. At 5/2 on the morning line we like him on top but we’ll also include Spanish Count, shortening up to a sprint for the first time. The R. Baltas-trained gelding adds blinkers, retains A. Cedillo, and can be expected to produce a forward move in his second start off a layoff and just his third career start overall.

RACE 2: Post: 1:01 PT Grade: X
Single: 3-Flash Magic

Keys to the Race (view video)

Forecast: Flash Magic had the misfortune of hooking North America’s best 2-year-old filly, stable mate Princess Noor, in her debut at Del Mar last month but displayed extreme promise even in defeat when a game runner-up while almost five lengths clear of the rest in a fast, highly-rated affair. She returns with blinkers on while switching to L. Saez and looks every bit the 4/5 that she’s listed on the morning line. The daughter of Pioneerof the Nile won’t be offering any wagering value in this five runner affair but can be used as a short-price rolling exotic single in a race that we’ll otherwise pass.

RACE 3: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: B
Use: 5-Conquest Cobra; 7-El Huerfano

Keys to the Race (view video)

Forecast: Old pro El Huerfano has been popular at the claim box of late and is back in M. Glatt’s barn after being haltered for $12,500 in early August at Del Mar. The eight-year-old gelding is double jumped in class in this main track miler in what we’ll take as a sign of confidence, and with five career wins over the local main track he appears perked up for a major effort following a bullet three furlong drill (:36 1/5, fastest of 21) earlier this month. F. Prat stays aboard and should have him in a comfortable pace-stalking position outside throughout. Conquest Cobra might be worth including on your ticket as well. Always most effective when on or near the lead, the V. Belvoir-trained gelding returns to dirt (his preferred surface) and should get the aggressive ride he needs from L. Saez. First or second in nine of 19 career starts over the Santa Anita dirt surface, he’s a fit on recent numbers and more than capable of winning at this level when he’s on his game.

RACE 4: Post: 2:07 PT Grade: X
Single: 1-Fighting Mad

Keys to the Race (view video)

Forecast: Fighting Mad is listed at 2/5 on the morning line in this four-runner edition of the Zenyatta S.-G2, a race that serves as the final West Coast prep to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff-G1 at Keeneland next month. She’s the controlling speed from the rail, and anything close to her best race will be more than sufficient for this B. Baffert-trained daughter of New Year’s Day to maintain her winning form. She’s a logical, no-value, rolling exotic single.

RACE 5: Post: 2:39 PT Grade: B
Use: 4-Cal Caliente; 5-Fly to Mars; 7-Three Ay Em

Keys to the Race (view video)

Forecast: Cali Caliente is a progressive gelding making just his sixth career start, and after dismantling a first-level state-bred allowance field with a career top speed figure at Del Mar earlier this month the son of Unusual Heat appears capable of continuing his winning ways today when facing open company. The E. Kruljac-trained 4-year-old employs an effective stalking style that can adjust to any type of race flow, and with J. J. Hernandez staying aboard we’re expecting a repeat score at or near his morning line of 7/2. Fly to Mars clearly is the proven class of the field – he’s a stakes winner and has placed in multiple graded events – but the P. Miller-trained gelding has had just one start in nearly two years and today shows up for a $40,000 tag in what has to be considered a somewhat unhealthy pattern. The son of Ministers Wild Cat had a run last month at Gulfstream Park in his first start since the fall of 2018 and was below form when fading to fifth but based on the possibility that he’ll move forward today you have to use him somewhere. Three Ay Em also should be included on your ticket. A winner of two of three over the local lawn and making his first start since being claimed for $25,000 out of a win at Del Mar three weeks ago, the E. Truman-trained colt can turn it on late and with some help up front should make his presence felt in the final furlong.

RACE 6: Post: 3:10 PT Grade: C+
Use: 1-Appreciated; 5-Devil Made Me Doit; 7-Brickyard Ride

Keys to the Race (view video)

Forecast: Here’s a difficult entry-level allowance sprint that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll go three-deep but you should use as much coverage as your budget allows. Devil Made Me Doit was highly impressive in his debut win last December, scoring like a future star, but came out of the race with an issue and had to be stopped on. The son of Daredevil returned in challenging turf sprint at Del Mar last month and faded in the drive while perhaps needing the race (or maybe he just didn’t act on grass). We’ll find out more about him today when he returns to the track and distance of his maiden score, and with a solid five furlong workout (1:00 3/5, third fastest of 58) just eight days ago the D. O’Neill-trained colt should be set for his best. Brickyard Ride, a very quick colt, was fourth in the same race that our top selection finished ninth in and both were below form over a grass course that they may not have cared for. The C. Lewis-trained son of Clubhouse Ride is a two-time winner over the Santa Anita main track and will try to be on the lead for as far as he can carry his speed. The weight break he receives due for being ridden by a bug boy won’t hurt. If the pace types go too fast (certainly a possibility), the late-running sprinter Appreciated could do some damage in the final furlong, though he’ll need some racing luck from his rail post. His win two races back earned a career top speed figure, one that’s good enough to beat this field, but the son of Acclamation is winless in four starts over the Santa Anita main track. He was 31-1 in a similar spot last time; today he’s listed at 3-1 on the morning line.

RACE 7: Post: 3:41 PT Grade: B
Use: 2-Le Tub; 9-Shes’a Perfectlady

Keys to the Race (view video)

Forecast: Shes’a Perfectlady received very little action (22-1) in her debut at Del Mar last month and was badly out-footed to the top of the lane while tenth and last with a quarter of a mile to go in that five furlong dash. However, she took hold after straightening in the lane and closed fastest of all to wind up fourth in traffic (subsequently moved up to third), beaten less than two lengths, and then galloped out far in from of the pack. Today she gets an extra half-furlong to work with, so if the daughter of Carpe Diem can get somewhat involved earlier today she could prove troublesome for new trainer J. Sadler, who takes over from C Gaines. At 6-1 on the morning line she’s worth a bit of a gamble. Le Tub finished first in that race but was dq’d and placed eighth, so she’s back in the same spot while making a significant rider switch to U. Rispoli. She’s the logical top pick and one to beat.

RACE 8: Post: 4:12 PT Grade: C+
Use: 3-Flagstaff; 4-C Z Rocket

Keys to the Race (view video)

Forecast: C Z Rocket and Flagstaff meet again, this time in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship after finishing one-two in the recent Pat O’Brien S.-G2 at Del Mar last month. They were tough to separate then (‘Rocket prevailed by a half-length) and they look evenly matched again. C Z Rocket is a perfect four-for-four since being claimed by P. Miller for $40,000 last spring and picks up L. Saez after F. Prat, who rode him last time, apparently opted for Collusion Illusion. In a race without much pace, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Saez aggressively ride the son of City Zip from the gate and perhaps try to make the lead, though the gelding’s preferred style always has been to stalk in the second flight and then produce a run. Falstaff used to show good gate quickness but now prefers to gather himself and build up steam. He’s a four-time winner over the Santa Anita main track and was third in this race last year behind Omaha Beach. These are the two we’ll be including in our rolling exotics – if you feel the need to toss in Collusion Illusion as well we certainly wouldn’t talk you of it – in a race that we’ll otherwise pass.

RACE 9: Post: 4:43 PT. Grade: B-
Use: 4-Althea Gibson; 5-Win Often

Keys to the Race (view video)

Forecast: Althea Gibson is improving with racing and looked fairly decent beating state-bred maidens sprinting on grass at Del Mar last month. This will be just her fourth career start, and with another forward move the daughter of Grazen should be capable of handling this raise in class. Win Often has been away since February, but she was a debut winner so we know she can fire fresh and her one prior outing over the local lawn produced a good runner-up effort under these conditions. The work tab isn’t flashy but should have her fit enough for a barn that can get them ready off the bench, so at 5-1 on the morning line she has to be used. These are the two we’ll be including in our rolling exotics with a slight edge on top to Althea Gibson.

RACE 10: Post: 5:14 PT Grade: B+
Use: 1-Cupid’s Claws; 2-Combatant

Keys to the Race (view video)

Forecast: Cupid’s Claws has never raced over a conventional dirt surface but he displays easy, efficient action when he trains on the main track so we suspect he’ll handle the surface switch just fine. The son of Kitten’s Joy won’t have any issue with the marathon 12-furlong trip in this year’s renewal of the Tokyo City Cup-G3, so in his first start since being claimed for $50,000 by C. Dollase out of a winning performance at Del Mar earlier this month, with the blinkers-off angle to consider, and with F. Prat staying aboard we’re going to put this veteran gelding on top and hope to get close to his morning line of 6-1. It’s hard to believe that Combatant won the ‘Big ‘Cap earlier this year – the son of Scat Daddy hasn’t gotten close in three subsequent outings – but his recent workouts indicate he may be perking up for J. Sadler, so with the switch to U. Rispoli we’re going to give him a chance to bounce back. He’s a grinder and thus should have no difficulty handling the marathon distance.

RACE 11: Post: 5:45 PT Grade: B-
Use: 8-Constantia; 9-Viazar

Keys to the Race (view video)

Forecast: Eight of the 12 original entrants to this maiden turf miler for fillies and mares exit the same August 30 race at Del Mar. Viazar, second in that affair while well clear of the others, logically is the top pick today in what will be her fifth career start in a form cycle that shows steadily improving speed figures. M. Smith stays aboard and should have the daughter of Tapizar along in time. Constantia exits a series of high priced maiden claimers but is competitive at this supposedly tougher level based strictly on speed figures and is worth including on your ticket, at least as a back-up. She should be forwardly placed throughout in a race that probably will have modest early splits and be in the thick of the battle from the top of the lane to the wire.