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Sunday, January 17: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

January 17, 2021

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

RACE 1: Post: 12:30 PT Grade: B-
Use: 8-Summer Rose; 10-Rockie Causeway; 11-Vronsky Zips Away

Forecast: Rockie Causeway, in the frame in her last three but away since the fall, returns for R. Baltas with reasonable work tab at San Luis Rey Downs and shortens to a sprint for the first time in her four-race career. A beaten choice in her last three, the daughter of Giant’s Causeway certainly can win this below average maiden special weight affair for older fillies and mares but certainly isn’t one to trust. Summer Rose may be the quickest in the field and in her first try on grass the daughter of Jimmy Creed may carry her speed a little farther than she did in her comeback last month at Los Alamitos. She continues to burn up the track in the morning, so at 6-1 on the morning line the P. D’Amato-trained mare is worth including on your ticket. The first-timer Vronsky Zips Away has done some decent work in the a.m. and is bred on both sides of her pedigree to enjoy sprinting on grass. In a race in which there are no apparent world beaters, she may have a decent sort of look, her extreme outside post notwithstanding.

RACE 2: Post: 1:03 PT Grade: C
Use: 3-Destiny’s Journey; 5-Girona; 8-Majestic Diva

Forecast: Here’s a low-level claiming middle distance affair for older fillies and mares in which nothing would surprise. The pace scenario promises to be contested so don’t be surprised if the race falls apart in the stretch. Majestic Diva, a three-time winner over the local main track and fresh from a victory against a slightly lesser group at Los Alamitos, can be effective right back if held up early and allowed to run late. Destiny’s Journey just beat a slightly tougher group on New Year’s Day and has won back-to-back races in the past, so she’s a major player, though she may have to accept a stalker’s role, something she’s never been that comfortable with in the past. Girona, in with a feather and training well, won a starter’s race sprinting over five furlongs at Los Alamitos last month but today will try to carry her speed two-turns. We have serious doubt she can run this far, but loose-on-the-lead speed always is dangerous, so we’ll toss her in on a ticket or two. Tread lightly.

RACE 3: Post: 1:33 PT Grade: B+
Use: 2-Bench Judge; 5-Dark Prince

Forecast: Bench Judge is back sprinting where he’s most comfortable and looks capable of producing the last run in this starter optional claiming grass sprint. Freshened since November and sporting a strong, healthy work pattern at San Luis Rey Downs, the P. Miller-trained gelding retains J. Rosario, shows a prior win over the course, and has numbers that are better than par for this level. Dark Prince continues to impress in the morning, is re-equipped with blinkers, and ran better than the line will show when rallying to finish fourth after some early trouble in a hot main track sprint earlier this month. At 6-1 on the morning line, he can be included on a ticket or two as a saver.

RACE 4: Post: 2:05 PT Grade: X
Single: 4-Kennebec

Forecast: Kennebec shows up in a seller for the first time, gets Lasix and F. Prat, and has very little to worry about in this maiden $40,000 dirt miler for 3-year-olds. At 3/5 on the morning line, he’ll offer no wagering value other than as a short-priced rolling exotic single in a race that probably is best left alone.

RACE 5: Post: 2:37 PT Grade: B
Single: 2-Big Clare; 6-Big Beauty; 7-Our Little Tiger

Forecast: Our Little Tiger flashed promise in her debut last fall when rallying after a slow start to finish a willing third over the local lawn when facing what may have been a tougher state-bred maiden filly field than this. The daughter of Smiling Tiger has worked quite well since then for her low profile connections, so if she can manage to leave with her field today, she should be along in time while offering a good gamble at or near her morning line of 5-1. Worth consideration in rolling exotic play as back-ups or savers are Big Clare and Big Beauty, two debuting daughters of the good grass sire Mr. Big with work tabs that indicate at least some ability. The former, from the P. D’Amato barn, attracts F. Prat and has recorded some flashy clockings at Los Alamitos, while the latter hails from a barn that has excellent stats with first-timers and shows a work tab at San Luis Rey Downs that should have her plenty fit.

RACE 6: Post: 3:07 PT Grade: B+
Use: 5-Love My Jimmy; 7-Hung Jury

Forecast: Hung Jury won his debut in clever style at Woodbine in late October and was promptly purchased privately by a winning outfit. The son of Maclean’s Music has trained in good style since arriving in California and should have every chance to score again from a comfortable outside draw under F. Prat. The one to fear most is Love My Jimmy, a big figure maiden-claiming winner over this main track last month. The son of Tapiture has looked good in the morning since that victory and seems certain to produce another forward move. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Hung Jury.

RACE 7: Post: 3:37 PT Grade: B
Use: 3-Altea; 5-Hermaphrodite; 8-Quick

Forecast: Older fillies and mares don’t have many opportunities on this circuit to compete over a mile and one-half on grass, so the form can appear a bit muddled. We have a suspicion that Altea will enjoy the trip, and the veteran mare, a solid middle-distance performer throughout her career, finally gets her chance. Though she was winless in eight starts in 2020, the French-bred mare faced some stiff tasks, but against this group she certainly has credentials to break through. Hermaphrodite is an out-and-out stayer and though her two outings since being imported from Europe have been below her best, she certainly has a right to step forward today under conditions that are made to order for her. She retains J. Rosario and can beat a field of this level based on her best Timeform ratings from France. Quick has run well in marathons in the past, most recently when a willing third in the 11-furlong Red Carpet S.-G3 at Del Mar in November. A similar effort today puts her right there.

RACE 8: Post: 4:07 PT Grade: B+
Single: 5-As Time Goes By

Forecast: As Time Goes By has a chance to develop into a very nice filly and the lightly-raced daughter of American Pharoah, fresh from a sharp maiden win at Los Alamitos and working very well since, seems set to produce another significant forward move in her first try around two-turns. She switches to J. Rosario and seems likely to draft into an ideal stalking position outside and then have every chance to dispose of her rivals from the quarter pole home. At 8/5 on the morning line, she’s a win play at anywhere near that price and a logical rolling exotic single.

RACE 9: Post: 4:37 PT Grade: B-
Use: 3-Commanding Chief; 8-Croi Mor

Forecast: Florida invader Croi Mor finds a soft spot in his local debut and offers reasonably good value at 8-1 on the morning line in this maiden-claiming $50,000 turf miler for older horses. His form in recent races make him a solid contender, and a series of local recent drills indicate he’s plenty fit for his first outing since September. Commanding Chief is another major player returning from a vacation (he’s been away for 11 months) but this will be his first start for a tag and on pure numbers he’s dangerous. The J. Sadler-trained five-year-old has run well over this course in the past, so it’s just a matter of whether he’s ready. The work tab is okay, nothing great, and this barn has weak stats with layoff runners, so there are mixed signals to consider. At 5/2 on the morning line, he’s worth including as a back-up, but nothing more.