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Sunday October 18: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

October 18, 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: 1:00 PT Grade: B
Use: 3-Seeking Refuge; 7-Honos Man

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Forecast: Seeking Refuge missed by a neck in a restricted $32,000 claiming turf miler at Del Mar in late August in a race that produced a career top speed figure. Freshened for nearly two months but sporting a strong, healthy series of recent workouts, the D. O’Neill-trained colt retains U. Rispoli and should run at least as well if not better today. From his comfortable inside draw, he’ll likely draft into a second flight, ground-saving position and then have every chance with a proper patient ride to produce the last run. Honos Man exits an open $32,000 affair over this course and distance 16 days ago (was fifth, beaten two lengths) and today drops into a restricted (nw-2) $25,000 affair while facing significantly easier foes. The Afleet Alex gelding also shows the blinkers-off angle that we like and switches to F. Prat, so there are several reasons to believe that the P. Miller-trained gelding is primed for a major effort as the 2-1 morning line favorite. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics while slightly preferring Seeking Refuge on top.

RACE 2: Post: 1:30 PT Grade: X
Use: 2-As Time Goes By; 3-Himiko

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Forecast: The B. Baffert barn holds the aces with a pair of talented daughters of American Pharoah in this five-runner maiden special weight sprint for older fillies and mares. As Time Goes By, listed as the 4/5 morning line favorite, displayed considerable promise in her debut at Del Mar in August when she overcame a slow break to wind up third while earning a solid speed figure. Most of the maidens from this stable display improvement in their second outing so this well-regarded 3-year-old is very likely to step forward considerably. Himiko has had three chances, finishing second in her last pair, and is listed as the strong second choice at 6/5. On pure numbers she’s faster than her stablemate and will race without blinkers for the first time, though we suspect As Time Goes By has a bit more upside. In a race that probably is best left alone, we’ll use both in our rolling exotics and then press with extra tickets keying As Time Goes By on top.

RACE 3: Post: 2:02 PT Grade: B-
Use: 3-Mulligan; 4-Lucia’s Design

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Forecast: Mulligan won at first asking while displaying a good late turn of foot (although not changing leads) sprinting on turf at Del Mar and today gets an extra half furlong to work with while moving into the first-level allowance ranks. She’ll need improvement in the speed figure department to be successful on the raise, but there’s no reason to think this daughter Trappe Shot won’t move forward as she gains added experience. With some help up front, the R. Baltas-trained 3-year-old may be hard to contain in the final furlong. Lucia’s Design has been routing much of her career, so it’s tough to be certain how she’ll perform in this abbreviated grass dash. She’s a major player based strictly on her two-turn figures and has a prior win over the course, so the C. Lewis-trained daughter of Strong Mandate has to be included in rolling exotic play.

RACE 4: Post: 2:40 PT Grade: X
Single: 1-Wilshire Dude

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Forecast: Wilshire Dude is listed as the 6/5 morning line favorite and on paper certainly looks like a logical short-priced top pick. A decent third place effort in a tougher spot over this track and distance last month after cutting out extremely fast fractions was better than the line shows, and against this five-runner field of $16,000 claiming older horses the S. Knapp-trained gelding can exert his superiority while either on the front end or from a stalking position. You can make him a short-priced rolling exotic single or simply pass the race.

RACE 5: Post: 3:11 PT Grade: B-
Use: 2-Deuce; 4-Much More Halo

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Forecast: As an eight-race maiden with five runner-up performances, Much More Halo certainly isn’t one to trust but after failing as the favorite in his last pair the B. Baffert-trained colt may have finally found a field he can beat. The son of More Than Ready, freshened since mid-August, likes to settle in mid-pack and then grind way through the lane, and against this group he should have every chance to produce a winning late kick. However, at 8/5 on the morning line he won’t be offering much wagering value. Deuce is a bit intriguing and is worth including somewhere on your ticket. Away for a full year and returning as a first-time gelding, the son of Into Mischief has trained fairly well for his comeback and could easily be a better type this time around. The D. Hofmans-trained 5-year-old has run well over this course and distance in the past and should find himself on or near the early lead.

RACE 6: Post: 3:42 PT Grade: C+
Use: 3-Handsome Cat; 4-Bronn; 6-Gate Speed

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Forecast: Handsome Cat earned a career top speed figure when winning a state-bred first-level allowance race over this track and distance two weeks ago and if he can repeat that type of performance off short rest he certainly can win right back. However, that’s a big if. Gate Speed, away since March, has dangerous early speed but always is susceptible under pressure in the final furlong. His form over the Santa Anita main track is good – first or second in three of four career outings – and on pure numbers he’s a fit, so as the projected controlling speed he looks dangerous. Bronn showed some moxie when winning a $50,000 claiming main track miler restricted to 3-year-olds last month and today tackles older foes while dropping back to a one-turn race. A bullet half mile workout (:46 3/5, fastest of 32) certainly indicates he’s at least maintaining his form if not continuing to improve. All three should be included in rolling exotic play in a race that looks somewhat chaotic.

RACE 7: Post: 4:13 PT Grade: B-
Use: 4-Miss Fraulein; 8-Breakfast Ball

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Forecast: Let’s go with a price chance in this turf sprint for $32,000 claiming fillies and mares. Breakfast Ball turns back from a series of route races and will need a considerable boost in the speed figure department but she continues to train well while dropping a notch below her claim level so we suspect the daughter of Bayern is ready for a career top effort. She’ll likely be doing her best work from off the pace, and with clear sailing combined with a contested pace scenario she could produce a winning late kick at 10-1 on the morning line. Miss Fraulein is the likely choice and one to beat after finishing a close third (beaten a half-length) in a first-level allowance dash over this course and distance just eight days ago. The quick turnaround and the drop into a seller are a bit concerning, but on paper she’s clearly the controlling speed, and with this switch to F. Prat she could easily go lower than her morning line of 8/5.

RACE 8: Post: 4:44 PT Grade: B
Use: 4-Forest Caraway; 5-Queengol

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Forecast: Queengol didn’t receive much action in her debut at 9-1 but her clever, highly-rated victory was hardly a fluke. The daughter of Flashback displayed good stalking speed outside and gradually wore down Kalypso close home to win quite cleverly. She’s trained well since, lands the cozy outside box, retains F. Prat, and should have every chance to score again in this year’s edition of the Anoakia S. for juvenile fillies. Forest Caraway also won nicely in her debut at Del Mar and then verified that favorable initial impression when winding up a distant second in the Del Mar Debutante behind the unbeaten Princess Noor. P. Miller-trained daughter of Bodemeister adds blinkers and may be the one to fear most, though based strictly on speed figures she’ll need to step forward considerably to compete with our top pick. We’ll include both in our rolling exotics and then press with extra tickets keying Queengol on top.

RACE 9: Post: 5:15 PT Grade: B (Leg 1 of the Golden Hour Pick-4)
Use: 2-Express Train; 7-Scarto

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Forecast: The Twilight Derby-G2 is a contentious nine furlong grass event for 3-year-olds containing a nice mixture of proven stakes performers with a few talented up-and-comers. It’s the latter group that most intrigues us. Though he was beaten as the odds-on favorite when runner-up in a first-level allowance main track miler last month, Express Train could easily make his mark in this graded stakes at a nice price (he’s 6-1 on the morning line). The son of Union Rags earned a huge speed figure even in defeat in that race while facing tough, seasoned, older horses and today returns to his own age group while stretching out in trip and switching to grass for the first time. In a race that doesn’t have a whole lot of pace signed on, the J. Shirreffs-trained colt should be forwardly placed throughout under regular rider M. Smith and then have his chance to produce an upset over a nine furlong trip that she’s certainly bred to enjoy. Scarto has won two straight over lesser foes in visually pleasing style while earning numbers that are close to being competitive with this tougher group. Based on his late pace numbers he’ll handle the extra distance just fine, so with continued improvement the gelded son of Paynter could easily outrun his 8-1 morning line. Both should be included in your rolling exotics with preference on top to Express Train.

GOLDEN GATE FIELDS (Leg 2 of the Golden Hour Pick-4)
Race 9: Post 5:30 PT Grade: B

Use: 2-Woke Up to Aces; 6-Sadie Bluegrass

Forecast: Southern California shipper Woke Up to Aces looks extremely well-meant in this first-level allowance abbreviated sprint for 3-year-old fillies. The M. McCarthy-trained daughter of The Factor has trained like she’s much better than her poor run on grass at Del Mar last month, and if she can duplicate her sharp maiden win from last winter to the local all-weather surface she should be tough to beat. The barn’s Bay Area “go-to” rider J. Couton takes the call. Sadie Bluegrass is plenty quick but can stalk and pounce if the race flow requires so we suspect she’ll settle into a pace-prompting position just outside of ‘Aces and then take her best shot from the top of the lane to the wire. She’s the 7/5 morning line favorite for the high-percentage J. Wong barn and deserves to be. We’ll give Woke Up to Aces a very slight edge on top but include both in our Golden Hour Pick-4

RACE 10: Post: 5:45 PT Grade: B+ (Leg 3 of the Golden Hour Pick-4)
Use: 6-Private Mission; 8-Full of Laughs

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Forecast: Private Mission has trained like a good thing for B. Baffert and seems certain to receive a ton of tote action in this maiden juvenile filly sprint. The daughter of Into Mischief brought $750,000 as a Saratoga yearling and has done everything in the morning like a “win now” type. She’s 9/5 on the morning line and seems certain to go lower. Full of Laughs, a first-timer by Exaggerator out of an unraced half-sister to Belmont Futurity winner Engage, has looked good in the a.m. for M. McCarthy, though we suspect she won’t show her best until tried over a distance of ground. We’ll watch her for future reference and perhaps include her on a ticket or two as a saver or a back-up, but the main push certainly will go to Private Mission.

GOLDEN GATE FIELDS (Leg 4 of the Golden Hour Pick-4)
Race 8: Post 6:00 PT Grade: B-

Use: 4-Tough It Out; 7-Ocean Fury

Forecast: The finale is a middle distance claimer for $6,250 older horses. Tough It Out has seen better days but at this level he could get his confidence back. His form over the local lawn is excellent (two prior wins) and his recent numbers are solid, so despite the big class drop from $20,000 the veteran gelding should be set for a major effort. Ocean Fury also hits rock bottom after finishing a respectable third (beaten less than a length) in the same race Tough It Out just finished fifth in. His class drop seems a bit more suspicious, but anything close that effort today will make the J. Wong-trained gelding tough to beat. These are the two we’ll be using in our Golden Hour Pick-4.