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Sunday, February 21: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

February 21, 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: 3-Commanding Chief; 5-Holy Emperor; 7-Fat Stacks

Forecast: Fat Stacks shows the popular two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern combined with the maiden-to-maiden claiming angle so we’re expecting the R. Hess, Jr.-trained gelding to improve considerably in this modest nine furlong turf affair. Bred for the trip and with J. Hernandez staying aboard, the son of Drosselmeyer is a fit on figures and likely has more upside than most of the others who have been somewhat exposed. Commanding Chief has hit the board in nine of 11 career outings and has solid speed figures for this level. One of these days he’ll find a field he can beat, maybe today. Holy Emperor has a few races in New York that chart very well with these and picks up hot-riding F. Prat. He’s a one-paced sort but projects to draft into a good second flight spot and have every chance from there. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with a slight preference on top to Fat Stacks.

RACE 2: Post: 1:03 PT Grade: B-
Use: 2-Noble Contessa; 6-Paige Runner

Forecast: Paige Runner was out of her element when matched with the stakes-quality filly As Times Goes By last time out but she’s back where she belongs today and seems capable of regaining her winning form. On pure numbers, she’ a stick out. Noble Contessa, a distant second two runs back behind Paige Runner and second again in her most recent start, seems likely to fire a good shot and will be especially dangerous if ‘Runner regresses. She’s most effective on the front end and could take this field a long way if not pressured early.

RACE 3: Post: 1:36 PT Grade: B
Use: 2-Clearly Gone; 3-Too Much Heaven

Forecast: Clearly Gone drops to a realistic spot while remaining above her claim level, and in her second start off a layoff the P. Miller-trained mare picks up F. Prat and lands a good inside draw in this $32,000 seller for fillies and mares. She’s won over this course in the past and projects to enjoy a comfortable second flight trip. Too Much Heaven is slightly slower on pure speed figures than ‘Gone but warrants a decent look while returning to her winning level. In a field without much pace, she might inherit the role as the controlling speed. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll have a few extra tickets keying Clearly Gone on top.

RACE 4: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: X
Use: Pass/No Play

Forecast: This bottom-rung maiden claiming main track miler is inscrutable. Half the field exits the same race and none are trustworthy. We’ll pass the race while suggesting that rolling exotic players use as many as their budget allows.

RACE 5: Post: 2:42 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1-Epidemic; 3-Tivoli Twirl; 8-Eagle Chief

Forecast: Tivoli Twirl flashed intense speed in a hot race but faded badly in the stretch in a disappointing debut earlier this month. The son of Twirling Candy switches to grass and removes blinkers, so we’re expecting a much better performance from a colt who had performed nicely in a.m. drills prior to his first start. A nice half mile breeze just four days ago should have him on edge, so at 4-1 on the morning line the B. Baffert-trained colt may offer some good wagering value. Eagle Chief shows an improving pattern with rising speed figures in each of his three starts to date. A decent third over this course and distance three weeks ago, the gelded son of Into Mischief projects to settle in the second flight and then be first over should the speed types wilt under pressure. Epidemic has trained like a quick colt for his debut and is worth tossing in at 8-1 on the morning line. The rail draw sprinting on grass this meeting has been a death trap, but if he leaves running the R. Hanson-trained son of Orb may get loose early and brave late. These are the three we’ll be using in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Tivoli Twirl.

RACE 6: Post: 3:14 PT Grade: B
Single: 4-Michalska

Forecast: Michalska appears to be a progressive type, and after finishing a good second in a similar affair sprinting on turf the daughter of Jimmy Creed switches back to the main track while continuing to look sharp in a.m. preps. The A. Marques-trained sophomore graduated at first asking on dirt during the fall Del Mar season, regains J. Hernandez, and projects to settle into a stalking position with dead aim on the leaders at the head of the lane. At 4-1 on the morning line, she’s a win play and rolling exotic single.

RACE 7: Post: 3:46 PT Grade: B
Single: 4-Jamming Eddy; 7-Ian Glass

Forecast: Let’s take a shot and put Ian Glass on top in this turf sprint for $40,000 older claimers. The Hard Spun gelding won a two-turn miler vs. $25,000 seller last month, was haltered by S. MIyadi (strong stats with this angle) and shows the route-to-sprint angle and a sharp recent workout for his new connections. The projected pace flow looks soft, so we’re anticipating a good stalking trip at or near his morning linen of 5-1. Jamming Eddy exits a hot race on the dirt – he was a weakening fifth after prompting a blazing pace – and if the P. Miller-trained gelding can shake loose early he could easily roll all the way to the wire. F. Prat, who has won on him in the past, stays aboard.

RACE 8: Post: 4:20 PT Grade: B+
Single: 7-Bella Vita

Forecast: Bella Vita makes her first start since last May and has trained like she’s better now than she was then. The S. Callaghan-trained daughter of Bayern lands the lovely outside draw and can pop and go or stalk and pounce depending upon how F. Prat assesses the race flow. Stakes placed last year during her 3-year-old campaign, the daughter of Bayern returns in state-bred listed affair and seems the solid choice as a win play and rolling exotic single at or near her morning line of 2-1.

RACE 9: Post: 4:52 PT Grade: B
Use: 6-She’s a Perfectlady; 9-La V.; 10-New Drama

Forecast: Shes’a Perfectlady drops into a seller for the first time and may have found her friends. The J. Sadler-trained filly shows the route-to-sprint angle, drops out of straight maiden competition, switches to F. Prat, and turned in a recent bullet workout over the training track to have her on edge. La V., away for almost a year, returns in a soft spot, removes blinkers, and showed enough ability last year to expect she’ll act very well against this level of competition. The work tab looks intriguing, so the daughter of Midnight Lute could easily fire a big shot off the bench. New Drama, another returning off a long layoff, also can be expected to be dangerous in her first start for a tag. She gets a break in the weights with bug boy D. Centeno aboard and her speed figures in a pair of outings last year make her a strong fit at this level.