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Monday, February 15: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

February 15, 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: 2-Annangel; 3-An Eddie Surprise; 4-Gypsy Blu

Forecast: Annangel sports the route-to-sprint angle that we always like, in addition to having shown her preference for this shorter trip with a maiden victory over five furlongs last summer during her English 3-year-old campaign. Exiting the Lady Shamrock S. and realistically spotted in this $50,000 seller, the R. Baltas-trained filly is reunited with “win” rider J. Hernandez and projects to be forwardly placed throughout with every chance to seal the deal. She’s 4-1 on the morning line and at that price offers good value in the win pool. For protection in rolling exotic play, you should consider An Eddie Surprise and Gypsy Blu. The former, a veteran older mare with five previous scores and a stakes win over the Santa Anita turf course, remains above her claim level in a sign of confidence by P. Miller and seems certain to be bearing down late under F. Prat. ‘Blu, in the frame in eight of 10 career outings over the local lawn, has solid, consistent speed figures and is listed as the 9/5 morning line favorite in what is her first ever start for a tag.

RACE 2: Post: 1:03 PT Grade: B
Use: 2-Va Va Vegas; 3-Big Story

Forecast: Big Story chased home subsequently graded stakes-placed The Chosen Vron in a hot, highly-rated maiden sprint earlier this meeting and returns following a series of sharp workouts in a similar extended sprint for state-bred sophomores. The Mr. Big gelding has the perfect stalking style for this distance, is a first-time Lasix user, and should be prominent throughout in a race that projects to have moderate early splits. He main rival (and the morning line favorite at 6/5) is Va Va Vegas, improving (according to his numbers) after finishing second in his first two starts but beaten at odds-on without apparent excuse in both. The Empire Way colt continues to train well for B. Baffert and may inherit the role as the controlling speed. We’ll prefer Big Story on top but have tickets using both in our rolling exotics.

RACE 3: Post: 1:36 PT Grade: B-
Use: 5-Lavender; 7-Colombian Gold

Forecast: This restricted (nw-3) $30,000 turf miler for older fillies and mares doesn’t have much in it, so we’ll try to survive and advance using just two. Lavender, a two-time winner over the local lawn, is listed as the 9/5 morning line favorite and probably won’t offer much value at that price, but the P. Miller-trained mare makes a major switch to J. Rosario while dropping out of a tougher starter’s $50,000 allowance affair, stretches out to her preferred trip, and appears capable of producing the last run. Colombian Gold, also with a pair of victories over the Santa Anita sod, projects to be on or near a very soft pace (if her connections want her to be), even though she’s always been primarily a closing type. F. Prat stays aboard, knows her well, and always has been skilled in adapting to the race flow.

RACE 4: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: B-
Use: 4-Herd Immunity; 5-Hot Box

Forecast: Hot Box returns to his winning level and a repeat of his five length score at Los Alamitos when competing for this $32,000 tag two runs back will be good enough to handle this assignment. The Heat Shield gelding failed to fire when pitted against starter allowance optional claiming company here last month, but a recent good workout indicates he’s in fine shape and should find himself on or near the lead throughout. Herd Immunity, away since last September and making his first start since being gelded, shows a steady series of workouts at San Luis Rey Downs to have him fit and ready, and with F. Prat taking the call the P. Miller-trained 3-year-old appears well-meant in his first outing for a tag. The son of Union Rags won over this track as a 2-year-old in his debut, so we know he can fire fresh.

RACE 5: Post: 2:42 PT Grade: B
Use: 6-Cargo; 10-Minehunter

Forecast: Cargo, a fast-working first-timer from the P. D’Amato barn, looks well-spotted to win at first asking in this six furlong grass sprint for maiden state-bred 3-year-olds. Obviously bred for grass, the son of Point of Entry has been given a solid foundation of drills, including a nice gate move (5f, 1:00 2/hg) just five days ago that points him out. With F. Prat taking the call for a hot outfit, he’s the logical morning line favorite at 5/2. Minehunter was unplaced in his debut in a similar spot last month but the Slew’s Tiznow gelding has done some excellent work in the a.m. since then and seems sure to improve with the addition of blinkers. Despite his outside draw, the M. Puype-trained sophomore may be quick enough to get over and secure a good pace pressing trip, maybe even make the lead. These are the two we’ll be using in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Cargo.

RACE 6: Post: 3:14 PT Grade: B
Use: 4-Fenway; 5-Star Sailor

Forecast: Fenway was supposed to be a good thing in his debut last month, leaving at even money in a maiden special weight main track miler following a series of excellent a.m. workouts. The son of Into Mischief cut out hot fractions to the turn, then completely fell apart, but we’re expecting an infinitely better performance today from the B. Baffert-trained colt, who continues to impress in the a.m. and shows the critical blinkers off angle designed to help him switch off during the early stages. If he’s going to be a serious 3-year-old, today would be a good time to show it. Star Sailor was part of the pace in his most recent outing and held on reasonably well to finish second, beaten just under four lengths. The Union Rags colt probably will be patiently handled today and on paper appears to be the dangerous of the closer/stalker contingent.

RACE 7: Post: 3:46 PT Grade: B
Use: 3-Lighthouse; 7-Oleksandra

Forecast: Oleksandra exits six consecutive graded stakes races and today finds class relief while dropping into a listed affair against a group of fillies and mares that she should be able to handle. The veteran daughter of Animal Kingdom (she’s seven now) defeated the boys three races back when winning the Jaipur S.-G1 in New York and recent workouts indicate the N. Drysdale-trained mare isn’t too far removed from that form. Over a course that plays to her closing style, we’re expecting she’ll produce a winning late kick under J. Rosario. Lighthouse was a bit below her best when third in the recent Las Cienegas S.-G3 last month in her first start since September. Assuming she needed the race, the daughter of Mizzen Mast can step forward today and give the favorite a target to run at.

RACE 8: Post: 4:20 PT Grade: C+
Use:1-Awhitesportscoat; 5-Horse Greedy; 6-Octopus

Forecast: The Monday nightcap is an extended sprint for $16,000 older claimers. We’ll go three deep and hope to get home a price. Awhitesportscoat, listed at 8-1 on the morning line, makes his first start since being haltered by K. Mulhall, whose stats with the first-off-the-claim angle in a limited sample catch the eye. A four time winner at this extended sprint distance, the veteran Hansen gelding will need some luck from his rail post, but with a patient ride and clear sailing through the lane he’s capable on his best day of tagging the leaders. Octopus is racing in good form, though he’s never really been too dependable when favored (and he’ll probably be that today). F. Prat stays aboard and will have the son of Shackleford in the firing line throughout. Horse Greedy, an ex-class horse making his first start since behind claimed by P. Miller (powerful with this angle), is reunited with “win rider” J. Hernandez while dropping to his lowest level. He’s clearly nowhere near what he once was, but in this league, he has to be respected.