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Monday, January 18: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

January 18, 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 here to view today’s Santa Anita Workout Report

RACE 1: Post: 12:30 PT Grade: B
Use: 3-Becca Taylor; 5-Big Stretch

Forecast: Big Stretch may be most effective around one corner and based on pedigree (Mr. Big) she should be even better on turf than dirt. After graduating in late November at Del Mar on the main track from off the pace, she gets a chance to utilize her tools under ideal conditions as a first-time Lasix user while retaining J. Rosario. There’s wagering value at or near her morning line of 7/2. Becca Taylor also should be included in rolling exotic play. A winner at first asking sprinting on dirt at Los Alamitos last month with a pretty good speed figure, the daughter of Old Topper moves up a notch, has a nice training track breeze since raced and is another that is eligible to race with Lasix now that she’s turned three.

RACE 2: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: B+
Use: 1-Mastering; 3-Canadian Pride

Forecast: Canadian Pride was worn down by subsequent stakes winner Kiss Today Goodbye when second while more than six lengths clear of the others at Del Mar last time out and the son of Creative Cause has worked extremely well since, so we’re expecting the lightly-raced gelding to step forward again while expecting that he’ll be sent from the gate to make the lead. And in his role as the controlling speed, P. Eurton-trained 4-year-old he should be tough to catch. Mastering returned off a long layoff and defeated maidens in good style over this track and distance last month while earning a big figure that makes him dangerous right back. The B. Baffert-trained gelding projects to have dead aim and every chance from the quarter pole home. Preference on top goes to Canadian Pride but we’ll include both in our rolling exotics.

RACE 3: Post: 1:30 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1-Invincibella; 2-Jumping Jill Flash; 3-Acai

Forecast: The main contention in this restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming turf sprint for fillies and mares is drawn inside with the P. Miller barn represented by Invincibella and Jumping Jill Flash. The former sports both blinkers off angle and the route-to-sprint maneuver while switching to hot-riding J. J. Hernandez and is guaranteed an ideal ground-saving trip from her rail post position. The latter, a Woodbine invader adding blinkers for the first time and picking up J. Rosario, should be prominent throughout and have every chance when the pressure is turned on. Acai, freshened since mid-November, was nosed out in a starter’s allowance dash at Del Mar last time out and fits on figures; however, the concern is that this six furlong trip might be stretching her limit. These are the three we’ll be using in rolling exotic play with Invincibella (6-1), the best price of the three, getting a very slight edge on top.

RACE 4: Post: 2:05 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1-Jungle Roar; 2-Hallowed Gift

Forecast: Hallowed Gift is gradually improving and with this drop to the maiden $20,000 level the J. Sadler-trained gelding may have found a field he can outlast. Two strong workouts at Los Alamitos since raced is a positive sign and so is the switch to J. Rosario. Jungle Roar has numbers that can win but his lack of early speed combined with his rail post position are concerns. Freshened since October and now in the J. Mullins barn, the son of Animal Kingdom will be a major threat in the final stages if he can secure a decent trip. We’ll give Hallowed Gift the edge on top but include both in our rolling exotics.

RACE 5: Post: 2:36 PT Grade: B-
Use: 4-Predictable Tully; 8-Bristol Bayou; 10-Bellize

Forecast: Maiden $50,000 claiming fillies and mares sprint six furlongs on grass in a challenging affair that could produce an upset. Let’s try Bellize at 8-1 on the morning line. She’s a second-off-the-claim play for Drysdale (not many stats with that angle!) while turning back from a grass miler (speed/fade) and showing recent good works to indicate a form reversal is possible. The lightly-raced mare by Noble Mission is relatively unexposed, unlike most of the others. Predictable Tully, runner-up under these conditions at Del Mar in early November, probably won’t need much better than that effort to graduate today, though having failed three times as the favorite the Irish-bred filly may be a hard one to trust. Bristol Bayou has sprinted okay over this turf course vs. straight maidens in the past, and if she can reproduce her best effort the daughter of Carpe Diem should at get a piece of it. All three should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll have extra tickets keying Bellize on top.

RACE 6: Post: 3:08 PT Grade: B-
Use: 4-Horse Greedy; 6-Oil Can Knight

Forecast: Oil Can Knight returns to his favorite track – he’s won four of eight starts at Santa Anita – so we’re expecting the veteran gelding to find his best stuff in this $25,000 claiming sprint for older horses. Third as the favorite in a similar affair at Los Alamitos last month without mishap, the S. Knapp-trained son of Can the Man should be able to settle just off the leaders and then have his chance when it counts. If Oil Can Knight doesn’t fire his best shot, Horse Greedy certainly can win and is a “must use” in rolling exotic play. Th ex-classer returns to his claim (and winning) level after almost two months off, switches to J. Rosario, and has looked solid in recent drills to indicate he’s fit enough for a good effort.

RACE 7: Post: 3:40 PT Grade: X
Single: 4-Mucho Unusual

Forecast: Mucho Unusual out-classes this field, simple as that. Winner of the nine-furlong R. J. Frankel S.-G3 last month but equally effective at this one mile trip, the daughter of Mucho Macho Man is listed at 9/5 on the morning line but seems certain to go lower while switching to J. Rosario, who won a graded stakes race with her a couple of years ago. With tactical speed and the versatility to win from just about anywhere, she’s a logical top pick and short-priced rolling exotic single.

RACE 8: Post: 4:13 PT Grade: B
Single: 2-Tejon

Forecast: Tejon is re-equipped with blinkers, drops for the money run and returns to the Santa Anita main track over which he earned his maiden diploma almost a year ago. From his inside draw, the son of Square Eddie seems certain to employ gate-to-wire tactics, and in a field with suspect closers he’ll have every opportunity to roll all the way to the wire. In a race in which nothing else inspires, let’s go with the R. Baltas-trained gelding as a short-priced rolling exotic single.

RACE 9: Post: 4:43 PT Grade: C+
Use: 1-Mount Pelliar; 2-El Joy; 10-Goldini

Forecast: The finale is a maiden $50,000 claimer over a mile on turf that requires a bit of a spread in rolling exotic play. Mount Pelliar shows up in a seller for the first time, lands the good rail and gets Lasix and F. Prat, so we’re expecting the R. Hanson-trained gelding to improve considerably. He’s a good fit on numbers, so we’ll put him on top. Goldini is drawn farther out than we’d prefer but the son of Goldencents split the field in his debut sprinting against an infinitely tougher group so he should be quite competitive against this softer band. El Joy is gradually improving with racing and warrants a look after finishing a close third in a maiden $75,000 affair at Del Mar in November. Adding Lasix, the Kitten’s Joy sophomore retains J. J. Hernandez and projects to enjoy a comfortable second flight, ground-saving trip.