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Friday, February 19: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

February 19, 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: A-
Single: 3-Du Jour

Forecast: Du Jour has the makings of a very nice colt, especially on grass for which he’s primarily bred for. The son of Temple City, an excellent runner-up to next-out winner Cathkin Peak in his debut last November, subsequently ran much better than the line will show in a maiden main track affair last month, when he was forced to race wide throughout while making a premature move, hitting the front in mid-stretch, but then paying the price late to wind up third in a strong race for the level. It’s clear by the string of excellent recent drills on the training track that this talented sophomore is ready to produce another forward move, and with the switch to F. Prat he’s sure to receive the patient ride that will bring out his best. At anywhere close to his morning line of 9/5, he’s a win play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 2: Post: 1:03 PT Grade: B
Use: 4-Li’l Grazen; 5-Sadie Bluegrass; 6-Clockstrikestwelve

Forecast: Bay Area shipper Sadie Bluegrass, successful in seven of 11 career outings and versatile enough to win on any surface or distance, can be trusted for another major effort while clearly very likely accepting the role as the controlling speed. She’s back in 16 days after outrunning a second-level allowance field in gate-to-wire fashion over a mile (her first two-turn try) but she’s back sprinting today and will take some catching based on the projected pace flow. It should be noted that she’s quite capable of stalking and pouncing if the situation dictates, so R. Gonzalez has the option of assessing the race-shape and improvising if need be. While Sadie Bluegrass will be the main punch in the win pool and in rolling exotic play, we’ll also include a couple of back-ups for protection. Clockstrikestwelve is a strong fit at this level based on speed figures, though most of her good work has been accomplished over a distance of ground. A thoroughly genuine and consistent race mare, she’ll be seeking her fifth straight score but will have to do so as a deep closer in a race that might be slowly run early. With F. Prat taking the call, she’ll be the one to worry about the most from the quarter pole home. Li’L Grazen earned a confidence-building win at Los Alamitos in a mixed-breed affair in early December and is another that has a legitimate look based on her strong speed figures from last summer (when trained by P. Miller). First or second in seven of 14 career outings over the local main track, the veteran mare should at least get a piece of it.

RACE 3: Post: 1:36 PT Grade: B-
Use:1-In Vronsky Style; 2-Starship Chewbacca; 6-Queen’s Code

Forecast: In Vronsky Style is a 3-year-old making his debut in this state-bred maiden sprint and has trained well enough to warrant strong consideration in a race in which the known element seems suspect. The P. D’Amato-trained gelding has looked good of late in dirt track workouts but based on pedigree could easily be much more comfortable on the lawn, so we’ll put him on top and hope that he leaves cleanly from the rail and can secure a good early position. It should be noted that this high percentage stable has below average stats with first-time starters, so we’ll include a couple of others in our rolling exotic play for support. Starship Chewbacca, a five-race maiden and making his first start on grass (bred for it), has hit the board in four of five career outings and has earned speed figures that are par for this level. The H. Zucker-trained 4-year-old gets a break in the weights with the switch to bug girl J. Pyfer and projects to be prominent throughout. Queen’s Code ran well when third in his debut on grass at Del Mar last fall but was a non-factor in his most recent outing when trying dirt. Back on the lawn today, the son of Desert Code switches to J. J. Hernandez and should have dead aim and every chance when the field straightens for home.

RACE 4: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: X
Use: 3-McWherter; 5-Little Rachel

Forecast: We’ve got this maiden $50,000 main track sprint for older horses down to two main contenders, neither of whom will offer much wagering value. McWherter seems like the logical top pick, though he’s listed as the second choice on the morning line. The lightly-raced son of Goldencents, a strong runner-up vs. similar last month, switches to the main track today and based on pedigree should be more effective on dirt than turf, so a forward move is likely. Little Rachel (7/5), a filly tackling the boys, exits a fast, highly-rated maiden special weight affair and in fact has earned speed figures in her last two starts that are good enough to beat this field. We’re expecting the winner to be one or the other, so we’ll use both in our rolling exotics while otherwise passing the race.

RACE 5: Post: 2:40 PT Grade: B
Use: 1-Let’s Go Now; 6-Unbreakable; 8-Lookintogeteven

Forecast: Let’s Go Now lands the rail and adds blinkers in this grassy nine furlong maiden claimer for older fillies and mares so we suspect front-running tactics will again be employed after the daughter of Tiznow established the running before weakening late vs. similar last time out. She’ll have to stick better today while negotiating an extra furlong, so the task won’t be easy, but the E. Harty-trained five-year-old has plenty of room for improvement in what will be just her fifth career start and recent workouts indicate she’s starting to figure things out. There’s some value here at or near her morning line of 6-1. Unbreakable, third in the same race Let’s Go Now just finished fifth in, is a one-paced grinder but has hit the board in two of her last three outings and really won’t need to improve much to pose a serious threat in a soft field. Lookintogeteven, an 11-race maiden, gets the worst of the draw but returns to grass and has a few back races that chart well with these. The switch to F. Prat certainly helps. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with Let’s Go Now getting top preference.

RACE 6: Post: 3:12 PT Grade: C
Use: 2-Gotta Be Lucky; 3-Info’s Treasure; 4-Lady O’ Prado

Forecast: Here’s another spread race, a main track miler for $12,500 claiming fillies and mares. Use as many as you can afford to. Indy’s Treasure shows the blinkers off angle that we always like and sports a prior win over the Santa Anita main track, so in her first outing following a two month vacation the I. Kruljac-trained mare may be as good as any. She’ll be grinding away from off the pace and may be able to tag the speed if the pace comes faster than average. Lady O’ Prado cut out fast splits before finishing a distant second under these conditions three weeks ago in a four-runner race that produced a decent number. Not much more will be needed today. Gotta B Lucky finally figured out how to win in her 20th career outing and did so when handling $20,000 foes over this track and distance last month thanks to a good stalking trip. She earned a number that makes her competitive right back in this $16,000 (nw-2) affair, so we’ll toss in her.

RACE 7: Post: 3:45 PT Grade: B-
Use: 2-Midnight Mystery; 7-Hoop Dream; 9-I’m Leaving You

Forecast: Midnight Mystery is steadily progressing with experience and may have found a home on grass after graduating in a recent turf sprint with a good stalking trip and solid speed figure. Today he stretches out to a mile for the first time, and like we always say if he’s ever going to get the trip it’ll be in his first try. The War Front gelding worked well since raced, lands a comfortable inside draw, and should be on or near the lead throughout. I’m Leaving You, the 9/5 morning line favorite, may be unattractive at that price, having failed as the favorite in a similar affair in his last outing seven weeks ago. Freshened and training steadily since, the Broken Vow gelding must overcome an outside draw but picks up hot-riding F.Prat and looks to be the most dangerous of the closing types. Hoop Dream has competitive numbers over this course and distance and really won’t have to improve much to win, especially if the pace-flow (fast) winds up complimenting his closing style. At 6-1 on the morning line, he’s worth including somewhere.

RACE 8: Post: 4:16 PT Grade: B-
Use: 4-Defense Wins; 7-Eel Point

Forecast: Defense Wins has the proper style for this extended sprint distance, and although failing to deliver the goods as the favorite in two of his last three outings the D. O’Neill-trained gelding shouldn’t have any excuses today. He won’t have to be used early to gain a favorable second flight, stalking position, and with anything close to his best effort he’ll be hard to contain in the final furlong. Eel Point, a bit rusty when a non-threatening fifth vs. starter’s allowance foes on New Year’s Day, shows a healthy work pattern since and drops for the money while stretching out to his preferred seven furlong trip. The 8/5 morning line favorite, he’s comfortably drawn outside, switches to J. J. Hernandez, and is fast enough on numbers to win at this level. These two are tough to separate, so we’ll include both in rolling exotic play.

RACE 9: Post: 4:46 PT Grade: B
Use: 2-Ultimate Hy; 4-Rockie Causeway

Forecast: Ultimate Hy ran quite well in her debut last month, rallying after a slow start to finish an eager second over this course and distance when facing a similar older maiden special weight field of fillies and mares. She has every right to improve off that performance, and if she does the B. Heap-trained filly will be hard to beat. Rockie Causeway, the morning line choice at 2-1, is a five race maiden with speed figures that are good enough to win a race at this level. She had no excuse when out-gamed (and missing by a head) as the chalk vs. similar last month but the daughter of Giant’s Causeway seems certain to get plenty of play right back. Today’s pace flow should be softer, so with a good stalking trip under F. Prat the R. Baltas-trained filly will have every chance to earn her diploma.