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Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies - 12/31/20

by Jeff Siegel

December 31, 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 the Santa Anita Workout Report

Click to Watch today’s Day Makers

RACE 1: Post: 12:30 PT Grade: C+
Use:5-Sofi’s Gold 7-Sweet Rafaela

Forecast: The opener is a turf sprint for state-bred entry-level fillies and mares, and with the rails out 30 feet those able to save ground should have a considerable advantage. Sofi’s Gold has a prior win over the local lawn and enough early speed to be the fray throughout. She’s lightly-raced and therefore may have a bit more room to improve than some of the others. Sweet Rafaela is a veteran mare with six career victories and showed a liking for this turf course in two prior outings, hitting the board both times. She has a good stalking style, retains regular rider E. Maldonado, and has races that put her right there.

RACE 2: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1-Midnight Jamboree; 5-True Mischief

Forecast: Midnight Jamboree seems to be progressing with experience and produced her best effort in four career starts when graduating at Del Mar from a maiden $20,000 field in game style, and in doing so earned a speed figure that makes her tough right back in this restricted (nw-2) $16,000 event for older fillies and mares. She’s guaranteed a good ground-saving, stalking trip and should be capable of taking full advantage of it. True Mischief also won a maiden $20,000 affair - her victory was accomplished at Los Alamitos – and if she can run back to that race today she’ll be the one to fear most. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Midnight Jamboree.

RACE 3: Post: 1:30 PT Grade: C
Use: 1-I’m Leaving You; 2-C Falls; 4-Antithetical

Forecast: The uncertain pace scenario makes this starter optional claimer over a mile on turf a difficult handicapping challenge. I’m Leaving You has been facing much tougher foes of late while earning speed figures that are good enough to win at this level, and with the favorable inside draw coupled with the switch to J. Rosario the V. Belvoir gelding should have every chance to regain his winning form. His maiden claiming win over this course and distance last May was accomplished in gate-to-wire fashion and we suspect similar strategy will be employed today. However, C Falls should be part of the pace throughout and there’s a chance these two will cancel each other out if they hook up early. ‘Falls, in fact, may be a tad quicker, so if he’s sent from the bell he could get over and obtain the same type of trip that produced his maiden $50,000 claiming win at Los Alamitos 19 days ago. Antithetical is the best of the closers, and if a speed duel materializes he’ll be the beneficiary. His runner-up effort over this course during the fall meeting produced a career top speed figure, the best in the field. We’ll pass the race other than to use all three in our rolling exotics.

RACE 4: Post: 2:00 PT Grade: B
Use: 2-Varoma; 5-You’re All Talk

Forecast: Varoma earned a decent speed figure – one that’s probably good enough to beat this field – when a willing runner-up in a slightly stronger maiden claiming sprint at Del Mar last month, and with any kind of forward move today the daughter of Vancouver should be capable of leading this field gate-to-wire. In that race she was two length clear of the third filly, who came back to win, and bug girl J. Pyfer has proven quite capable when riding front-running types. The only concern is a recent workout in which the M. Ortiz-trained filly displayed a tendency to lug out; hopefully she’ll run straight and true today. You’re All Talk is considerably slower on numbers than our top pick but is adding blinkers for the first time and certainly has a right to improve. She should be able to settle into a second flight position and then have dead aim from there. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with clear preference on top to Varoma.

RACE 5: Post: 2:30 PT Grade: C+
Use: 1-Smoothlikebuttah; 2-Warren’s Candy Girl; 4-Miss Ever Ready; 9-Agata

Forecast: Straight maiden state-bred juvenile fillies meet over a mile on turf in what looks to be a wide open affair with several possibilities. We’ll go four deep, and if you find the need to include even a few more, go right ahead. Smoothlikebutta stretches out for the first time and tries grass, and as a daughter of Mr. Big she’s certainly bred to improve with the added distance and the switch in surface. Her sprint form isn’t bad, and her good inside draw – especially with the rails set at 30 feet – dictates a pace setting or pressing strategy. Warren’s Candy Girl and Miss Ever Ready, two-three finishers under similar conditions at Del Mar last month, both figure in the fray and neither would have to improve much to win. Agata is drawn a bit farther outside than we’d prefer but if she can get over a secure a decent trip the daughter of Gervinho should have a chance to make a legitimate run for it. Her sprint debut at Del Mar was okay and with Redatorre on the bottom side of her pedigree she should be able to act around two-turns.

RACE 6: Post: 3:00 PT Grade: B+
Use: 1-Kneedeepinsnow; 4-Shashashakemeup

Forecast: Shashashakemeup is a dangerous Churchill Downs shipper from the P. Miller barn and is fresh from a strong runner-up effort that produced a career top speed figure, one good enough to beat this field. A winner at this extended sprint distance two races back, the son of Shackleford has an ideal stalking style that ensures a comfortable trip, picks up F. Prat, and in a race without much early speed won’t have to be used early to get where he wants to be. He’s 9/5 on the morning line and on paper looks it. Kneedeepinsnow is worth including as well. Not as fast on pure numbers as our top pick but with excellent form over the Santa Anita main track, the S. Ruis-trained colt sports a bullet half mile workout (47 1/5 seconds, fastest of 47) last week to have him fit and ready in his first start since October and, assuming he breaks cleanly, projects to have a strong pace presence from the rail.

RACE 7: Post: 3:30 PT Grade: B+
Use: 1-Javanica; 4-Quattroelle

Forecast: The main players in this year’s edition of the Blue Norther S. just finished two-three in the Jimmy Durante S. at Del Mar last month. Both ran winning races behind New York shipper Fluffy Socks, and both should step forward again under similar conditions in this one mile grass affair for juvenile fillies. Javanica was bottled up in traffic into the lane, secured room inside the furlong pole and produced an exceptional turf of foot to wind up second beaten just a half-length while taking the worst of the race flow. Quattroelle ran equally well, as she failed to secure cover at any stage while wide every step of the way and was fanned out badly entering the lane. We’ll be only mildly surprised if they don’t finish together again, with the winner likely to be the one that enjoys the best trip. That said, we’ll give Javanica a very slight edge on top, as she has a bit more tactical speed and a good inside draw that guarantees a ground-saving trip.

RACE 8: Post: 4:00 PT Grade: B-
Use: 2-Old Indian Trick; 4-Alcools

Forecast: Alcools once had some promise; today he’s running for $20,000 after clipping heels and pulling up when competing for a $50,000 tag at Los Alamitos less than two weeks ago. The son of Gemologist came back to work six days after that race so we assume he’s doing well, and since he won sprinting in his debut during the summer of 2019 this turn back in trip won’t be an issue. Old Indian Trick, away for almost two years, returns as a first-time gelding at a logical level, and in field that doesn’t have a whole lot of early speed signed on the M. Puype-trained gelding projects to be prominent throughout and have every chance. The work tab is healthy and steady, so we’re expecting the son of Ministers Wild Cat to fire a big shot off the bench.

RACE 9: Post: 4:30 PT Grade: B+
Use: 5-Disco Ball; 7-Hollywoodhellraisr

Forecast: In the brief but frustrating career of Disco Ball, it’s simply been a case of getting out of the gate cleanly, or, specifically, his inability to do so. After finishing a close third to the stakes winner Collision Illusion in his only start as a 2-year-old, the B. Koriner-trained colt was compromised in his next two outings when losing his best chance at the start due to self-caused trouble. Freshened since August and continuing to impress in the a.m., the son of Orb tries grass for the first time, and if he leaves cleanly and is able to display the kind of early speed that we suspect he has, the B. Koriner-trained colt should be more than capable of earning his diploma in this fairly contentious turf sprint for older maidens. Three recent bullet workouts point him out, so at 7/2 on the morning line he offers good value. For protection, we’ll also include on a ticket or two Hollywoodhellrasr, a talented gelding sporting the route-to-sprint angle that we like. The son of Race Day ran well when third over this course last summer and has trained quite well for his return. He’ll be rolling late.