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Friday, February 26: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

February 26, 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: 1-Full Draw; 6-Tiz Vicious

Forecast: Tiz Vicious joins the P. Miller barn, removes blinkers, drops to the bottom-rung maiden claiming level and shows a heathy work tab at San Luis Rey Downs while stretching out to a distance that produced a career top speed figure two runs back. In a race lacking in effective closers, the son of Violence should find himself comfortably placed on or near the lead throughout. Full Draw is guaranteed a ground-saving, first flight trip from his favorable inside post position, and after hitting the board in his last pair he’s in good form with speed figures that fit. The son of Union Rags was more than four lengths clear of the rest over this track and distance in a similar affair last month and not much more will be needed to handle this modest bunch. These are the two we’ll be using in rolling exotic play.

RACE 2: Post: 1:03 PT Grade: B
Use: 1-Wilson Monk; 5-Scary Fast Smile

Forecast: Based on what we’ve seen of him in the morning, Wilson Monk simply should be too fast for his four rivals in this maiden special weight sprint for state-bred older horses. First-time starters breaking from the rail always are problematic, but this 5-year-old gelding by Midnight Lute will take some catching if he breaks even moderately well. Scary Fast Smile has been in the frame in all four of his career starts and has earned steadily rising speed figures in each outing. Drawn comfortably outside, the son of Smiling Tiger will have every chance to pick up Wilson Monk from the quarter pole home should that one make any mistakes along the way. We’ll prefer ‘Monk on top but include both in our rolling exotics in a race that seems highly likely to boil down to the two betting favorites.

RACE 3: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: B
Use: 6-Warrens Candy Girl; 8-Big Beauty

Forecast: Big Beauty displayed ability when a solid runner-up in her debut last month, closing with interest in a strong, productive race that has seen the winner (Disko Fever) come back to win and the third place finisher (Big Clare) return to finish a strong second. Based on pedigree, the C. Sise, Jr.-trained filly seems certain to improve with experience and distance, so with the switch to hot-riding F. Prat and a recent six furlong bullet workout (6f, 1:13.3h) at San Luis Rey Downs the daughter of Mr. Big is listed as the 9/5 morning line favorite and logically so. Warrens Candy Girl is a six-race maiden without tactical speed and therefore isn’t one to truly trust, but the daughter of Clubhouse Ride, runner-up in her last four starts and adding Lasix for the first time, is on paper the one to fear most. She has numbers that are better than par for the level, switches to A. Cedillo, and is another getting Lasix for the first time, so improvement certainly can be expected.

RACE 4: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: C+
Use: 1-Great Power; 5-Old Indian Trick; 6-Rebel War

Forecast: We’ll go three deep in this $20,000 claiming sprint for older horses but otherwise pass the race. Old Indian Trick, in his third start off a long layoff, produced a forward move when third over the track and distance in a similar restricted (nw-3) $20,000 claiming sprint last month and looked sharp in a subsequent workout to indicate the M. Puype-trained gelding is ready to improve again. He does his best work from a pace-pressing position and given the projected race flow for this race the son of Ministers Wilds Cat should find himself just where he wants to be. Great Power earned a good number winning two runs back for $16,000 but then finished fourth at 60 cents on the dollar when protected in starter’s allowance company over the Golden Gate Fields all-weather surface. Back in 13 days on what clearly is his preferred track and dropping to a realistic spot, the R. Saldana-trained son of Blame is reunited with “win” rider J. J. Hernandez and seems likely to draft into a ground-saving, second flight position and have every chance from the quarter pole home. Rebel War has trained well for his comeback and could fire a big shot off the bench in his first start since June of 2019 and his first as a gelding. He’s the quickest horse in the field and will take them as far as he can.

RACE 5: Post: 2:40 PT Grade: B-
Use: 5-Bob Daniels; 8-Thrive

Forecast: We’ll try to survive and advance using just two in this state-bred maiden sprint restricted to 3-year-olds, but if you feel the need to spread deeper, go right ahead. Bob Daniels ran like a short horse in his debut when finishing a respectable fourth at Los Alamitos in December, and then lost all chance after stumbling badly at the start in a grass sprint here last month in a strong race won by next-out winner Hockey Dad. The son of Race Day sports a healthy recent work tab for the always-dangerous J. Mullins/T. Baze trainer-jockey combo and represents a reasonable gamble at 5-1 on the morning line. Thrive has done some decent work in the a.m. leading up to his racing debut and the son of Constitution should be fit enough for a good effort after landing the comfortable outside post position and attracting F. Prat. The barn doesn’t often with first-timers but this son of Competitive Edge is bred for speed and a sharp recent bullet gate work should have him on his toes.

RACE 6: Post: 3:12 PT Grade: B+
Use: 3-Soothsay; 4-Just Distorted

Forecast: Soothsay has trained like a win-early type for top connections, doing everything that has been asked of her like a filly of some quality. She displayed excellent gate speed in a recent bullet five furlong workout (:59.2hg) that was the fastest of 32 for the distance, so we’re expecting the daughter of Distorted Humor and La Canada S.-G2 winner Spellbound to break well and lead the way in this maiden sprint for sophomore fillies. Here’s another positive factor: the jockey/trainer team of F. Prat and R. Mandella is nothing less than lethal (39% with a massive ROI). Just Distorted, a $400,000 yearling by Distorted Humor also has displayed very good speed in the a.m. while preparing for her debut and is a “must use” in rolling exotic play. The J. Wong barn hits at an exceptional 23% with first-timers while producing a significant flat-bet profit so this very well-regarded filly seems very likely to be fit and ready.

RACE 7: Post: 3:45 PT Grade: B
Use: 1-Goodtingscominpink; 2-Zucchera; 7-Sugar Pickel

Forecast: In a race that projects to be slowly run early, Goodtingscominpink should be able to take full advantage of her rail post position and draft into an ideal ground-saving stalking position in and then have every chance to kick home when called upon over a turf course that has produced a prior win and four other in-the-frame finishes from six starts. The five-year-old mare appeared sharp and eager in a recent workout for her first outing since November, so with the Cerin barn’s “go-to” rider J. Hernandez taking the call let’s put the daughter of Clubhouse Ride on top and hope to get close to her morning line of 5/2 on the tote. Zucchera, a closing fourth (beaten just over a length) while taking the worst of the race flow in a similar affair over this course and distance last month, is another that has looked sharp in recent a.m. drills and appears the most dangerous of the late-runners. A one-paced, grinding sort that will require some help up front, the R. Baltas-trained mare switches to top grass rider U. Rispoli, and if she can stay within range during the early stages the daughter of Tapizar could make some serious noise late. Sugar Pickel stretches out, worked nicely over the training track (bullet half mile drill in 47 4/5 seconds), and retains F. Prat. She may be a bit better than her 6-1 morning line indicates.

RACE 8: Post: 4:16 PT Grade: B-
Use: 4-Wild Arch; 5-Our Bonnie Lass; 6-Cosmic Cowgirl

Forecast: A little will go a very long way in the Friday finale, a bottom-rung ($20,000) maiden claiming main track miler for fillies and mare. Our Bonnie Lass rates a slight edge on top after the daughter of Birdstone continued her improving pattern when finishing second (while five lengths clear of the rest) against a similar group in an effort that produced a career top speed figure in her most recent outing last month. She’s most effective on the front end and gate-to-wire tactics almost certainly will be employed by bug girl J. Pyfer, who has gotten good run out of this R. Bell-trained filly in her last two starts. Wild Archis a fit on numbers and finished a willing runner-up while five lengths clear of the rest in her most recent outing. She’s a one-paced six-race maiden but should find herself within reasonable range of the projected leader throughout. Cosmic Cowgirl drops to the bottom, returns to dirt, adds blinkers, retains J. J. Hernandez and stretches out again in her second start off a layoff, so there are plenty of reasons to believe that improvement is likely. Toss her in.