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Saturday, February 20: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

February 20, 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: 4-Arctic Roll; 6-Rocking Redhead;8-Applecross; 9-Bestrella

Forecast: The opener is a grass grab bag for first-level allowance fillies and mares and requires a considerable spread in rolling exotic play. Applecross, a non-threatening fifth (beaten two lengths) in a similar affair last time out while taking the worst of the race-shape, adds blinkers today with the hope that the hood will help produce improved tactical speed. Yet to visit the winner’s circle in the U.S. after six starts, the former English performer has run well in better company than she’s facing today, so at 6-1 on the morning line we’ll give her a slight edge on top based primarily on price. Bestrella is an interesting Irish invader making her U.S. debut with European form that makes her competitive at this level. She first arrived in California last summer and has taken a very long time to acclimate, but her recent workouts indicate she’s fairly fit, she’s run well off layoffs in the past, and lands the barn’s “go-to” rider D. Van Dyke. She’s another listed at 6-1 on the morning line, and as a first-time Lasix user she’s a “must use.” Rocking Redhead was a visually pleasing maiden winner in November at Del Mar and makes her first start since off a series of average-at-best recent workouts on the main track. She’s clearly a turf specialist, so it’s entirely possible that her morning activity doesn’t provide a true indication of her fitness. If ready, she’s more than good enough to score again. Arctic Roll, a two-time winner over the local lawn, has been away since June but has looked pretty good in recent workouts to indicate she’s fit to fire a good shot. The blinkers off angle catches the eye and so does her morning line of 15-1. She’s worth tossing in as a saver or a back-up.

RACE 2: Post: 1:03 PT Grade: B
Use: 1-Swift as I Am; 2-Sabuda

Forecast: You can include him if you like but we have a suspicion that the 8/5 morning line favorite Hockey Dad might be worth playing against in this allowance optional claiming sprint for state-bred 3-year-olds. The son of Nyquist was impressive breaking his maiden last month on grass, but his first outing (on dirt) was far less than that and his recent workouts indicate he’s a much better mover on turf than he is on dirt. So, let’s try to beat him. Swift as I Am flopped at even money in a similar event last month but has returned to work well for J. Sadler so we’ll give him a chance to bounce back with a top effort. From the rail the son of Danza has only one way to go, so if he leaves cleanly and makes the running inside he may never look back. Sabuda earned a huge, career-top speed figure when easily disposing of maiden $50,000 foes last time out and if he can reproduce that type of effort against this stronger group the Metaboss colt could be very dangerous right back. He gets a considerable break in the weights with the switch to bug girl J. Pyfer and figures to be pressing the pace every step of the way. In a five runner field, these are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics.

RACE 3: Post: 1:36 PT Grade: B
Use: 2-Tony Ann; 4-Just a Kiss Away; 7-Isn’t She Lovely

Forecast: This maiden special weight turf sprint for sophomore fillies came up a bit light, so we’ll use two first-timers along with the best of the known element. Isn’t She Lovely earned decent speed figures in a pair of fourth place efforts at Del Mar last summer when facing what turned out to be stakes-quality competition and could easily be a better type this time around for R. Mandella. She returns with Lasix and blinkers following a series of quick recent workouts that should have her fit and ready, and with the blazingly-hot F. Prat taking the call for a barn that has sensational stats with layoff runners, this daughter of Into Mischief is clearly the one to beat. Just a Kiss Away is a fast-working debut runner from the E. Kruljac barn with two recent bullet drills at Los Alamitos to indicate some talent. The daughter of Twirling Candy certainly is bred for speed and in a race that projects to have soft early splits she could wind up being the one to catch. Tony Ann has done some good work in the a.m. for P. D’Amato and although this stable doesn’t often win with newcomers this daughter of Cairo Prince may represent danger from off the pace.

RACE 4: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: C+
Use: 1-Theluteismine; 6-Evenerevenworse; 8-June Gloom

Forecast: Maiden $50,000 claiming state-bred 3-year-olds sprint six and one-half furlongs to kick off the Rainbow Pick-6 in an anything-goes type of race that offers nothing to trust. We’ll use three and hope to get by. June Gloom is a first-timer that has attracted F. Prat and has the benefit of the cozy outside post, so the P. Miller-trained gelding, with a decent work tab at San Luis Rey Downs on his resume, rates top billing pretty much by default. A couple of recent six furlong drills should have him fit enough, so if he can run at all, this would be a good place to show it. Another debut runner, Evenereveworse, has shown a bit of ability in the a.m. for R. Ellis (quite capable with first-timers) so at 8-1 on the morning line we’ll include him on our ticket. Theluteismine has hit the board in two of his last three starts with speed figures that fit at this level and clearly is the best of the experienced group. Not sure he’s worth his 9/5 morning line price but if the fresh faces aren’t much, he’s the likely winner.

RACE 5: Post: 2:42 PT Grade: B
Use: 1-Maestro Dearte; 2-Ward ‘n Jerry

Forecast: We’ll double the fifth race, a 10-furlong starter’s allowance event with the two main players drawing the favorite inside post positions. Ward ‘n Jerry has been consistently racing against much tougher stakes (and in many case graded) company of late but sneaks into the field due to the unusual conditions of the race and on paper simply outclasses the field over a course that has produced four of his six career victories. The veteran son of Lucky Pulpit still appears sharp and eager in his morning trials and is a perfect two-for-two over this 10-furlong distance, so with “win rider” F. Prat staying aboard the 8-year-old gelding looks well-spotted to regain his winning form. Maestro Dearte, a sharp closing second in a $50,000 claimer almost two months ago, has trained steadily since and should appreciate today’s added distance. From the rail he’s guaranteed a ground-saving trip and having finished first or second in six of 12 starts over the local lawn the P. Eurton-trained gelding is worth including somewhere on hour ticket at 8-1 on the morning line.

RACE 6: Post: 3:14 PT Grade: B+
Single: 4-Motown Music

Forecast: Motown Music appears to have much in his favor in this allowance optional claimer over a mile on the main track. The lightly-raced and progressive son of Quality Road shows rising speed figures in each of his four races, most recently earning a strong number when second (beaten a neck) over this track and distance at this condition last month. He continues to train well, adds blinkers for the first time, switches to J. J. Hernandez, and could inherit the role as the controlling speed if his connections choose that option. In a five-runner affair and at 9/5 on the morning line, the M. Glatt-trained gelding is a win play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 7: Post: 3:46 PT Grade: B
Use: 2-Mucho Unusual; 5-Red Lark; 8-Charmaine’s Mia

Forecast: This year’s edition of the Buena Vista S.-G2 is a deep and contentious affair offering several possibilities, some at good prices. We’ll go three-deep and hope that’s enough. Charmaine’s Mia made her first start for new trainer P. D’Amato in the Las Cienegas S.-G3 earlier this meeting and left her previous form far behind with a fast, highly-rated and visually impressive win while earning a career top speed figure. Today she’ll try to prove she can handle two-turns (she finished last in her only prior route races a couple of years ago) but based on her recent workouts we’re convinced the daughter of The Factor can get the trip. While she won pressing the pace throughout in the Las Cienegas, it wouldn’t be shocking to see patient tactics employed today due to the presence of other committed speed types drawn inside of her. Mucho Unusual always gives her best, loves this turf course (five wins in nine starts) and is perfectly drawn in the two-hole that should enable her to use her excellent tactical speed to secure an ideal second flight, ground-saving journey. Red Lark is the most dangerous of the closers. Victimized by a crawling pace in the American Oaks-G1 in late December, the Irish-bred filly did well to finish as close as she did (fourth, beaten less than three lengths) and her excellent late turn of foot combined with today’s projected much quicker pace flow makes her extremely dangerous at 8-1 on the morning line.

RACE 8: Post: 4:20 PT Grade: C+
Use: 3-Varoma; 4-Made in Karoo

Forecast: A little will go a long way in this modest $30,000 maiden claiming main track miler for sophomore fillies. Made in Karoo has numbers that can win, adds blinkers, and switches to F. Prat. She certainly won’t have to improve much to beat this field. Varoma exits a series of tougher races while stretching out for the first time and seems likely to find herself as the controlling speed. She’s not particularly fast on figures and with Trippi on the bottom side of her pedigree she’s no sure thing to enjoy the distance, but if she’s ever going to stay a mile it’ll be in her first try against a group like this. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics, but if you have the budget to go deeper, feel free to do so.

RACE 9: Post: 4:52 PT Grade: B
Use: 1-Cruel Intention; 2-Coast of Roan; 6-Southern Horse

Forecast: The finale is a stronger-than-par first-level allowance grass dash. Cruel Intentionjust missed as the favorite in a similar affair over this turf course when making his first start since August. He’s worked well since, so we suspect he’ll run just as well if not better today, though his inside draw at this extended sprint trip dictates his front-running strategy over a course and distance that has promoted the closing types. He picks up F. Prat so at 5/2 on the morning line we’ll put him on top, but not single him. Coast of Roan returned off a layoff to win a starter’s allowance affair over this course and distance last month while earning a number that makes him a fit despite the class hike. He’s got the proper closing style for the trip and with some help up front should be quite dangerous in the final stages. Southern Hope is an Irish invader with good credentials – he was a stakes-placed twice in valuable handicaps overseas – and looks like a live item in his U.S. debut as a first-time Lasix user for J. Sadler. Based on his running style overseas, the one-time Argentine performer should be motoring home in the final stages.