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Friday, October 02: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

October 2, 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: C+
Use: 1-Master Ryan; 2-N. K. Rocket Man; 4-Count Alexei

Forecast: The rail is out 20 feet for this abbreviated turf sprint, and when the course is configured as such the inside posts that produce ground-saving trips have a major impact on results. Master Ryan is difficult to trust; the P. D’Amato-trained gelding has failed as the favorite in each of his last three outings and four times in seven career starts. The positive is that he’s been in the frame six of seven starts, has the benefit of the good rail draw, and has never taken a backward step according to his speed figures. Whether he’s worth his 2-1 morning line price may be another matter. Count Alexei always has been suspect under pressure in the final furlong – he blew a two length lead at a shorter trip at Del Mar last time out – but he makes his first start today as a gelding and shows a bullet three furlong blowout at Los Alamitos just a few days ago (:35 4/5, fastest of 20) to indicate the that improvement may be forthcoming. N. K. Rocket Man has the route to sprint angle that we like and actually ran better than the line shows when fourth sprinting in his debut two runs back. The Unusual Heat gelding switches to J. J. Hernandez, projects to enjoy a ground-saving trip, and appears to be the most dangerous of the closing types. At 6-1 on the morning line he’s worth including somewhere on your ticket.

RACE 2: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: B-
Use: 2-Lionite; 6-Captain Scotty; 8-Posterize

Forecast: Here’s another spread race in rolling exotic play, a challenging $25,000 sprint with a few middle priced horses that could make it worthwhile. We’re going to try to beat the 2-1 morning line favorite Horse Greedy, who isn’t being raised in class by the J. Sadler barn following a victory at this level at Del Mar, has no history of winning back-to-back races, and is picking up a significant amount of weight (6 lbs.). You can include him on your ticket if you feel the need but we’ll look elsewhere. It’s entirely possible that Captain Scotty is a shell of the gelding that was good enough to win the Palos Verdes S.-G2 here in January. However, there are reasons to hope that he might snap back. The P. Miller-trained veteran plummets in class after returning from the East coast, picks up one of the barn’s go-to riders (A. Cedillo), shows a healthy series of workouts since arriving back home and catches a favorable pace scenario that should promote his pace-pressing style. First or second in four of five starts over the local main track, he could perk up in a big way under these favorable conditions. Lionite, back on dirt, dropping to a realistic level and switching to F. Prat, should draft into a comfortable second flight, stalking position and have his chance to tag the speed from the quarter pole home. He’s the “other” J. Sadler entrant in the race and a major contender off his Oaklawn Park spring form. One other to consider in rolling exotic play is Prioritize, a first-off-the-claim for D. O’Neill (22% with a strong ROI with this angle) and likely to enjoy a comfortable pace-stalking trip from his outside draw. A three-time winner over the Santa Anita main track, the son of Shackleford cut out the fractions but weakened to finish fifth in the same event Horse Greedy just won, but there’s a massive weight shift between the two in today’s race of 13 lbs. in his favor. He’s 6-1 on the morning line and probably is better than that.

RACE 3: Post: 1:33 PT Grade: X
Single: 1-Parnelli

Forecast: Parnelli flashed excellent speed from the disadvantage rail post in a hot sprint at Del Mar last month before being worn down in the final stages by the highly promising Superman Shack in an excellent performance that makes him odds-on to graduate today. Stretching out to a mile, switching to grass and catching a below par field of maiden juveniles, the $500,000 Keeneland yearling purchase certainly projects as the controlling speed and should have little difficulty rolling all the way to the wire. The son of Quality Road is a logical, no-value, short priced rolling exotic single in a race that we’ll otherwise sit out.

RACE 4: Post: 2:10 PT Grade: B
Use: 1-Allie’s Pal; 10-Squared Steady

Forecast: Although she’s being raised in class from a maiden $50,000 claimer into maiden special weight company, Allie’s Pal is a strong fit based strictly on speed figures with the likelihood of improvement in her second career start in this modest state-bred affair for juvenile fillies. The J. Wong-trained daughter of Creative Cause displayed superior early speed (:21 2/5) in her debut before being worn down late while still winding up more than 10 lengths clear of the others, and with a recent bullet three furlong drill (:36 1/5, fastest of 11) last week she should be very hard to catch today. Squared Steady is worth including as well in rolling exotic play, though she’s considerably slower on speed figures than our top pick and hails from a barn that has poor stats with second-time starters. Still, the daughter of Square Eddie goes from the rail to the outside, was fractious in the gate in her only outing before displaying decent early speed and then stuck around long enough to hit the board in a similar affair at Del Mar in late August. M. Smith stays board, so there’s a decent possibility that she’ll produce a forward move today.

RACE 5: Post: 2:44 PT Grade: B
Use: 3-Colombian Gold; 4-A G Indy

Forecast: We’ll double the fifth race, a $40,000 claiming turf miler restricted to 3-year-old fillies. Columbian Gold has been a bit unlucky in her last pair, going down by a neck when second in each of those outings, both times with less than ideal trips. She retains F. Prat, is a prior winner over the Santa Anita turf course, shows two nice breezes at San Luis Rey Downs for P. Miller and should have enough pace up front to compliment her late-running style. A G Indy returned off a 10-month layoff to finish second in a $50,000 affair at Del Mar last month after getting tagged right on the line following a front-running trip and leading by four lengths at the furlong pole. The good news is that she had a right to need the race, has a history of improving with racing, and projects to enjoy a good stalking trip similar to the one that produced her maiden score last year over this course and distance.

RACE 6: Post: 3:13 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1-Lil Richards Bello; 5-Arickaree

Forecast: This maiden state-bred sprint for older horses drew just six entrants, two of which should get the bulk of the play. Arickaree, off slowly, wide, and beaten just over a length when crossing the wire fourth in his debut in a similar spot at Del Mar in late August, seems likely to step forward off that bit of experience for the R. Baltas barn (19% with a flat-bet profit with this angle). The Southern Image gelding retains F. Prat, and if he breaks with his field today should be on or close to the pace throughout. Lil Richards Bello, as the 6/5 favorite in that same race, crossed the wire second but was subsequently disqualified back to fifth. The P. Eurton-trained gelding represents inside speed and could be tough to catch if he can shake loose early. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; Arickaree probably has more upside so we’ll press with extra tickets keying him on top.

RACE 7: Post: 3:45 PT Grade: C+
Use: 2-Magical Gray; Majestic Gigi; 7-Miss Flawless

Forecast: The grass grab bag for older $40,000 claiming fillies and mares over a mile on turf drew a field of seven. None can be confidently tossed, so the best advice is to include as many as your budget allows. Majestic Gigi, a high-priced maiden claiming winner over the Santa Anita turf course two runs back, stretches out for the first time and has pedigree to handle the trip. Not particularly fast on speed figures but possibly the controlling speed if she wants to be, the daughter of Artie Schiller sports a bullet half mile main track workout (:46 4/5, fastest of 37) last week to have sharp and ready, so at let’s give her a slight edge on top at 5/2 on the morning line. Magical Gray surfaces in a seller for the first time after tackling tougher first-level allowance foes in her last three races with a modest degree of success. She’s winless in nine career starts over the Santa Anita turf – a negative stat that is difficult to ignore – but in a field without any effective closers she could find herself on or near the lead throughout and fire a big shot in first outing since May. Miss Flawless has low percentage connections (the barn is 1-for-43 this year) but she does have the ability to pass horses, and if a pace meltdown occurs and she gets the patient ride she requires the veteran French-bred mare might make some noise in the final furlong.

RACE 8: Post: 4:15 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1-Don’t Blame Judy; 2-Velvet Queen; 3-Beguiled

Forecast: Here’s another contentious affair, a main track miler for entry-level allowance fillies and mares. Velvet Queen seems fairly solid while returning to dirt and stretching out to two-turns for the powerful R. Baltas/F. Prat team. Runner-up to Breeders’ Cup Distaff-bound Harvest Moon under these conditions two races back, the daughter of Animal Kingdom does her best work on the front end and given the projected pace scenario of this race she should be able to secure her preferred trip. Don’t Blame Judy exits a series of four recent stakes races and drops to where she belongs while trying dirt for the first time. As a daughter of Blame from a mare by El Corredor, she’s certainly bred much more for the main track than for grass (over which she’s run in each of 25 career starts) so with a drop in class and a switch in surface she has every right to produce a significant forward move. A similar case can be made for Beguiled, another with the first-time-on-dirt angle and with a pedigree that suggests she’ll enjoy this surface switch. The P. D’Amato-trained daughter of Orb, a one-run type that requires patient handling, probably moved too soon when looming a threat and then losing here punch in a similar affair at Del Mar last time out. A. Cedillo, who got to know her in that race, rides her back and hopefully learned something.

RACE 9: Post: 4:45 PT Grade: C+ (Leg 1 of the Golden Hour Pick-4)
Use: 3-Shadow Sphinx; 4-Of Good Report; 8-Honos Man

Forecast: Shadow Sphinx disappointed when fading to finish 10th of 12 in a tougher optional/first-level allowance turf router at Del Mar in mid-August but this drop into a $32,000 claimer while retaining F. Prat could help him return to his proper form. A two-time winner over the local lawn, he’s most comfortable when held up with cover and allowed to produce a late run. In his most recent outing the veteran gelding was part of the pace and then folded up his tent when the pressure was turned on, so we’re hopeful that proper tactics will be employed today. Of Good Report seems a bit better than his 10-1 morning line price. The Twirling Candy gelding was victimized by a wide trip in the same race ‘Sphinx exits and should go much better in this easier spot. A prior winner over the local lawn and another that is most effective as a one-turn type, the V. Cerin-trained veteran gets a positive rider switch to V. Espinoza and has “live longshot” written all over him. Honos Man is a first-off-the-claim for P. Miller (36% with a powerful flat-bet profit with this angle) and is a “must use” on that angle alone. The lightly-raced son of Afleet Alex should draft into a comfortable second-flight position and have dead aim in the final furlong.

GOLDEN GATE FIELDS (Leg 2 of the Golden Hour Pick-4)
RACE 8: Post: 5:01 PT Grade: B

Use: 4-Ana Lisa; 5-Marilyn’s Smile

Forecast: Ana Lisa ran well over this course and distance when a sharp second with a career top speed figure two races back and vanned to Los Alamitos for easy pickings in a mixed-breed race that she won under wraps. A repeat of either one of her last two outings will make her tough to beat. Marilyn’s Smile, away for more than a year, returns waiver protected for the T. McCanna barn that has superior stats with layoff runners. First or second in four of five career starts over the Golden Gate Fields turf course, the daughter of Smiling Tiger is most effective as a late-running sprinter and with a decent pace up front should be heard from in the late stages.

RACE 10: Post: 5:15 PT Grade: C+ (Leg 3 of the Golden Hour Pick-4)
Use: 3-Jan’s Reserve; 10-Fabozzi

Forecast: Five of the 11 entrants in this $12,500 claiming extended sprint for older horses exit the same race, a sprint for this price and at this distance at Del Mar last month. It really wasn’t much of a race, so let’s toss them all and concentrate on a couple of fresh faces. Jan’s Reserve nosedives from the $32,000 level and may have found his friends, though he’s winless in seven starts over the Santa Anita main track and is just 3-for-31 overall. On the positive side, the M. Puype-trained gelding picks up F. Prat and projects to enjoy a good stalking trip inside in a race that doesn’t have a whole lot of early zip in it. He’s more than fast enough on pure numbers to win if he has at least one good one left. Fabozzi is another class dropper that look dangerous in a moderate spot. He has the route-to-sprint, turf-to-dirt angles that should promote his chances, and the M. Glatt-trained gelding shows two strong races over the Santa Anita main track plus two recent easy breezes to have him on edge. The son of Sydney’s Candy projects to inherit a nice stalking spot outside and then be ready to pounce when called upon.

GOLDEN GATE FIELDS (Leg 4 of the Golden Hour Pick-4)
Race 9: Post 5:32 PT Grade: B

Use: 2-Take Me for a Spin; 4-Slam Dunk Sermon; 6-Foothill

Forecast: This is a better than par race for first-level allowance sprinters over five and one-half furlongs on the all-weather main track. Southern California shipper Foothill is a fit on numbers based on his grass sprint races and if he can transfer his form to the Tapeta surface he can pull off a mild surprise. The son of Vronsky likes to settle and kick home and given that type of ride from F. Alvarado the S. McCarthy-trained gelding may bet up in time at 9/2 on the morning line. Take Me for a Spin is a first-time gelding and likely the quickest in the field, so the Old Topper gelding form the high percentage J. Won barn may be the one to beat, though his speed figures need some improvement. He was beaten as the choice when fourth in a similar spot in mid-August in what has proven to be a productive race; after a bit of freshening he could easily bounce back. Slam Dunk Sermon earned a career top figure over this track and distance two weeks ago and if the quick turnaround doesn’t have a negative effective the S. Specht-trained gelding could be dangerous right back. All three should be considered in the Golden Hour Pick-4.