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Sunday, December 27: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

December 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.

Click to View Today’s Santa Anita Workout Report

Click to Watch Today’s Day Makers Video

RACE 1: Post: 11:30 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1-New Heat; 2-Kleen Karma; 8-Reiwa

Forecast: The Sunday opener is a challenging first-level allowance event on grass for California-bred fillies and mares. We’ll go three deep and hope to survive and advance, but if you feel the need to spread deeper, go right ahead. Golden Gate Fields shipper Reiwa earned a pretty good career-top number winning an allowance turf miler in October but hasn’t been out since due to the ongoing suspension of racing up north due to the Covid-19 pandemic. She’s trained steadily right along and should be fit enough to produce a similar effort against this group, so we’ll put her slightly on top while hoping that she receives the patient ride she requires from M. Smith. New Heat and Kleen Karma, two-three finishers at this level last month at Del Mar, appear the most dangerous of the local contingent, with the former, a perfect one-for-one over the local lawn and with speed figures that continue to rise with every outing seemingly the one to beat. As for ‘Karma, she is what she is, but with the switch back to “win rider” F. Prat the daughter of Clubhouse Rise must be given a reasonable look.

RACE 2: Post: 12:04 PT Grade: X
Use: 3-Mastering; 4-Exaulted

Forecast: The two favorites in this five-runner straight maiden main track miler for older horses both are returning off long layoffs, but both have training exceptionally well and should return at least as well if not better than they left. Exaulted, runner-up to unbeaten Nadal in his debut almost a year ago but then a disappointing third when odds-on stretching out in his next appearance in February before being turned out, has looked nothing short of spectacular in the a.m. for P. Eurton (powerful stats with layoff runners) and still has a chance to develop into a very nice colt as he approaches his 4-year-old season. He’s 6/5 on the morning line and looks it. Mastering also has been quite impressive gearing up for his first outing since February and acts like a much better colt now than he did when last seen 10 months ago. He’ll probably be on the lead for as long as he can hold it. Of the two, we’ll prefer Exaulted on top and in fact most of our action will go in his direction, but if you’re playing rolling exotics the B. Baffert-trained Mastering probably is worth including on a ticket as a saver.

RACE 3: Post: 12:36 PT Grade: B-
Use: 3-Barrister Tom: 5-Cathkin Peak

Forecast: Five of the seven entrants in this year’s renewal of the Eddie Logan S. exit the same race, the Cecil B. DeMille S.-G3 won by Beer Can Man, who shipped in from Indiana Downs to register at 19-1 upset. Let’s look elsewhere. Cathkin Peak flew in from Ireland to capture his U.S. debut in just his second career start, scoring cleverly from off the pace at Del Mar in late November with a speed figure that puts him in the hunt despite the raise in class. With F. Prat staying aboard, the P. D’Amato-trained gelding should get the trip/ride he requires and with any kind of forward move may be capable of scoring right back. Barrister Tom, a stakes winner at Kentucky Downs in September but subsequently unplaced in the Bourbon S.-G2 at Keeneland, is another with figures that fit. He’s a versatile sort who has won on the lead or from off the pace, so we’ll include him as well in rolling exotic play. Both offer value at 5-1 on the morning line.

RACE 4: Post: 12:36 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1-Cashlings; 2-Love My Jimmy; 5-Sky Navigator

Forecast: P. Miller has two major players in this maiden $40,000 claiming sprint for juveniles, including the logical top pick Love My Jimmy, who makes his first start since being haltered for $32,000 at Del Mar a month ago. Failing as the 6/5 favorite when weakening late to wind up second (beaten more than three lengths), the son of Tapiture still managed to earn a pretty good speed figure in defeat, one that is better than par for this slightly higher level. The barn is borderline remarkable with the first-off-the-claim angle (30% with a strong ROI), so it’s not unreasonable to expect that he’ll produce a forward move today. Stable mate Cashlings is a first-time starter by Ghostzapper which went through the ring at $250,000 at year ago September at Keeneland but is being tossed away right off the bat. The works at San Luis Rey Downs look okay – at least for a maiden claimer – so we’ll include him in on a few tickets as well. Sky Navigator also is worth some consideration. The son of Sky Mesa produced a mild late rally to wind up third in his debut at Del Mar, and with that effort behind him and today’s extra half furlong to work with the D. Pederson-trained 2-year-old may make some noise in the final stages.

RACE 5: Post: 1:37 PT Grade: X
Use: 2-Honos Man; 4-Armour Plate

Forecast: Honos Man looks pretty solid in this restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claimer over nine furlongs on turf, though as a beaten choice in his last pair the P. Miller-trained gelding may be a tad hard to trust. Nicely drawn inside, retaining F. Prat, and with four strong workouts at San Luis Rey Downs since raced, the son of Afleet Alex shouldn’t have an excuse in the world, but at 8/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower he won’t be offering much value. Armour Plate, the “other” P. Miller entrant in the field, is re-equipped with blinkers and may find himself on the front end. Just 1-for-19 in his career (but at least the win came over the local lawn), the Into Mischief gelding switches to J. Rosario and actually is a bit faster on raw numbers than ‘Man. Both should be included in rolling exotic play in a race that we’ll otherwise pass.

RACE 6: Post: 2:09 PT Grade: C+
Use: 2-Octopus; 5-Natural History

Forecast: Octopus has been somewhat disappointing of late, failing twice in his last four starts as the favorite and missing a third time when well-backed at 5/2. But this restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming sprint for 3-year-olds only is his easiest spot yet, and with the switch to J. Rosario the son of Shackleford should be able to capitalize on this opportunity. He’s 2-1 on the morning line and may go lowerNatural History has been chasing tougher, has numbers that make him dangerous in this league and is the one to fear most, though his lack of early speed always makes his task more difficult that it should be. With some help up front, he should be heard from late.

RACE 7: Post: 2:43 PT Grade: B
Use: 2-First Prez; 6-Mr. Brownstone; 8-Jetovator

Forecast: Mr. Brownstone is lightly-raced, improving, has numbers that fit and removes blinkers (love that angle) so in his second start off a long layoff and with decent recent workouts the son of Vronsky should be set for a career top effort. We’re expecting the M. Puype-trained gelding to be properly spotted in a stalking position and then have every chance to seal the deal in the final stages. First Prez was a visually pleasing winner sprinting on turf in his debut over this course during the fall meeting but then was sent long on the main track at Del Mar and flopped badly. He’s back around one turn and back on grass while adding blinkers, so the D. O’Neill-trained colt certainly should be dangerous under these more agreeable conditions, Jetovator fits well with these, but at 1-for-19 with nine seconds and thirds he’s never been the type to bank on in the final furlong. However, with F. Prat staying aboard and with his only career win having been accomplished over the local lawn, he’s probably worth including on your ticket, at least as a back-up.

RACE 8: Post: 3:17 PT Grade: B+
Use: 5-The Chosen Vron; 6-Hockey Dad; 9-Hail Freedom

Forecast: The Chosen Vron has done some excellent work in the a.m. leading up to his racing debut, and the son of Vronsky appears extremely live and well-meant under J. Velasquez in this extended sprint for state-bred juveniles. A sharp gate work (47 seconds, second fastest of 57) Dec. 10 was followed up by a bullet five furlong drill on the flat (59 3/5 seconds, fastest of 50) eight days later so we’re expecting this E. Kruljac-trained gelding to be hard to handle. Another debut entrant, Hockey Dad, had a useful drill from the barrier nine days ago. The D. O’Neill-trained son of Nyquist did reasonably well when second best with Wipe the Slate and was flattered when that one graduated impressively yesterday. It’s not likely he’ll face anything as good as ‘Slate in this spot, so he’s another first-timer that needs to be strongly considered. Hail Freedom is worth including on your ticket as a back-up or a saver. The D. O’Neill-trained colt has turned in some good clockings at San Luis Rey Downs and attracts J. Rosario, so we suspect that this modestly-bred son of Box Top will get some play on the tote.

RACE 9: Post: 3:51 PT Grade: B+
Use: 1-Rideforthecause; 2-She’s Our Charm; 10-Mucho Unusual

Forecast: Let’s go for a price in the Robert J. Frankel S.-G3 for fillies and mares over nine furlongs on turf. She’s Our Charm, listed at 12-1 on the morning line, ran below her best when seventh in the Matriarch S.-G1 last time out but this is an easier assignment and promises a pace flow that should allow the daughter of Candy Ride to inherit her preferred role as the controlling speed. A two-time winner over the Santa Anita course, the R. McAnally-trained filly has never being this far but if left alone early should have an excellent chance to see out the trip. Mucho Unusual exits the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare turf, and while she may have been out of her element against that group she’s favorably spotted today, though her extreme outside draw does her no favors. A Grade-1 winner over this course during the fall meeting, the daughter of Mucho Macho Man will be tough to beat with anything close to her best effort. Woodbine shipper Rideforthecause is assured of a comfortable ground-saving trip from the rail, and her clever score in the Canadian S.-G2 two races back charts quite well in this affair. She can really turn it on late and should get the patient ride she needs from top grass jockey U. Rispoli.
RACE 10: Post: 4:25 PT Grade: B-
Use: 3-Fabozzi; 8-Impression

Forecast: The finale is a $12,500 main track claimer over a mile that doesn’t really have much in it. Fabozzi plummeted to the $8,000 level at Los Alamitos 10 days ago and won as expected; he’s wheeled back off short rest for new trainer K. Mulhall and should be tough right back over a Santa Anita main track that he’s been known to like. Impression looked pretty good in victory at Los Al at this level 17 days ago while on the front end and similar tactics most likely will be employed again. The B. Spawr-trained gelding is the likely favorite and one to beat. In a race that we’re not planning to get too involved in, both should be included in rolling exotic play.