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Sunday, February 28: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

February 28, 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 Daily Workout Report

RACE 1: Post: 12:30 PT Grade: B-
Use: 3-Exultation; 5-Squalotoro; 10-Galloping Mischief

Forecast: There is nothing to trust in today’s opener, a starter optional claiming extended turf sprint that has all the makings of a chaotic affair. Best advice is to spread the race using as many as your budge allows. Listed above are two price chances that should be among those included on your ticket along with (on pure form) the somewhat shaky top pick, Exultation. The lightly-raced six-year-old just earned a career top speed figure when rallying to finish second in his first outing since April, and if he can produce any type of forward move he could tag the speed over a course and distance that plays kindly to the late runners. The Paynter gelding’s two main issues, though, are his preference for finishing second or third rather than winning and his disturbing habit of failing to deliver when he assumes the role of the favorite. Six times during his 11-race career he has gone to the post as the betting choice and he has been beaten every time. The P. Eurton-trained runner could vety well wind up being the favorite again. As for longshots, let’s first consider Squalotoro, a first-off-the-claim play for D. O’Neill, whose stats with this angle are quite good (22% with a positive ROI). The Clubhouse Ride gelding has the deep closing style that fits the profile for this six and one-half furlong distance and with some help up front he could be dangerous from the quarter pole home at 12-1 on the morning line. He’s run well over the local lawn in the past, has worked decently since changing barns, and has speed figures that make him a contender. Galloping Mischief, listed at 10-1 on the morning line, is another that offers long shot value for a few reasons. He’s a second-off-the-claim for a low profile but high percentage outfit, is protected in a sign of confidence, sports the route-to-sprint angle, and is adding blinkers for the first time. The son of Into Mischief won a Hillside turf sprint here a couple of years ago and is another with prior speed figures that if duplicated will make him solid fit against this group.

RACE 2: Post: 1:03 PT Grade: B-
Use: 2-Gabby Hayes; 4-Big Well

Forecast: We’ll double the second race, a modest maiden $50,000 claiming miler for state-bred 3-year-olds. Big Well failed to make any impression in a maiden special weight affair on grass last time out but this return to the main track coupled with the class drop and the switch to F. Prat could make a world of difference to the T. Yakteen-trained gelding. His numbers are headed in the right direction, he shows a steady, healthy work pattern since raced, and clearly doesn’t have a whole lot to beat. Gabby Hayes is faster on figures than ‘Well and is stretching out and dropping into a claimer for the first time, the reasons he’s listed as the 2-1 morning line favorite. We suspect bug girl J. Pyfer will try to put him on the lead, which seems like a proper strategy in a field lacking in effective closers. We’ll give Big Well a slight edge on top but include both in rolling exotic play.

RACE 3: Post: 1:33 PT Grade: B
Use: 2-Jibber Jabber; 4-Cider Apple

Forecast: Cider Apple looked to be in need of the outing when winding up a closing third over nine furlongs on grass here earlier this month in her U.S. debut and today, with that race under her belt and the shortening in trip to a flat mile, the J. Mullins-trained import should be hard to beat. The barn’s “go to” rider T. Baze stays aboard and we expect he’ll have this English-bred filly along in time. Somewhat surprisingly, she’s not the morning line favorite at 5/2; that honor goes to the Irish invader Jibber Jabber, who is listed a half point lower at 2-1. Her form in France was quite good last summer and her Timeform numbers are superior to ‘Apple’s, but she really hasn’t been impressive in her main track recent drills, though it’s likely that she’ll be much more comfortable on grass. We’re expecting the winner to be one or the other but because she’s had a prior local outing we’ll give Cider Apple a slight edge on top.

RACE 4: Post: 2:06 PT Grade: B
Use: 1-Motown Music; 6-Romano

Forecast: Romano, freshened since Del Mar, has looked good in the a.m. leading up this starter’s allowance main track miler and has a history of firing fresh for a barn that boasts superior stats with layoff runners. With two wins and nine seconds, he’s never been one to bank on under pressure in the final furlong, but the way the P. D’Amato barn has been sizzling in recent weeks this veteran gelding must be considered extremely live and well-meant. F. Prat stays aboard, has won on him in the past, and will have this son of Run Away and Hide motoring through the lane. Motown Music returns off short rest after failing at even money with a perfect trip in a first-level allowance affair just eight days ago over this track and distance. He’ll remove the blinkers that were added for that race while switching to U. Rispoli, so the Quality Road gelding, with strong speed figures for this level, must be given a chance to make amends. We’ll try to get by using just these two in our rolling exotics.

RACE 5: Post: 2:39 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1-Uncle Ray; Ox Bridge

Forecast: Ox Bridge displayed some ability in a pair of straight maiden events in New York in the summer of 2019 before being stopped on and today reappears as a first-time gelding in a soft maiden $50,000 grass sprint for the D. O’Neill barn following what appears to be a series of good workouts at San Luis Rey Downs. The son of Oxbow has little to beat and with U. Rispoli taking the call we’re going to assume that he’s fit and ready. Uncle Ray is the one to fear most. Runner-up in his debut at this level over this course last March, he was stopped on for a few months and then was subsequently overmatched in a pair of straight maiden two-turns events, though earning speed figures that make him a solid fit in this league. We’re expecting the Declaration of War gelding to display good speed from the rail and stick around a long time in what clearly is a below par field for the level.

RACE 6: Post: 3:13 PT Grade: C+
Use: 1-Betito; 2-Count Alexei; 5-Notre Dame

Forecast: Bottom-rung maiden claimers sprint five and one-half furlongs in the first leg of the late Pick-4. Count Alexei plummets from straight maiden company and may have found his friends, though his layoff from October is concerning and so is his propensity for fading under pressure in the final stages of most of his races. Against this group at this shortened trip he may shake loose and get brave, and good recent workouts at Los Alamitos are encouraging, so we’ll put the B.Koriner-trained son of Vronsky on top but not with any degree of confidence. Betito has the blinkers off angle that we always like after finishing a respectable third in a similar maiden $20,000 sprint here two weeks ago. The K. Mullhall-trained son of Heat Shield will be in the fray throughout and in his second start off a layoff can be expected to stick around a little longer. Notre Dame, purchased at auction for $1 million two years ago, has been non-competitive in three career starts but has never raced this cheaply. Freshened since August, the son of Into Mischief shows a promising a series of recent workouts at San Luis Rey Downs and may be better than shown. Toss him in.

RACE 7: Post: 3:45 PT Grade: B-
Use: 3-Bedrock; 8-Blackout; 9-Castle

Forecast: The P. Miller barn has a pair of major players in this turf sprint for $25,000 older claimers. The better price (5-1) of the two on the morning line is Bedrock, a first-off-the-claim play (26%, strong ROI with this angle) making his first start as a gelding, switching to grass and changing riders to J. J. Hernandez. Most effective as a late-running sprinter. the son of Red Rocks surely will be outrun early, but over a course that plays well to the closers he could very well uncork a strong late kick and pull off a minor surprise. Stable mate Blackout folded up after cutting out the fractions in a grass miler at this level last month but shortens up and is reunited with “win rider: F. Prat, so improvement is likely. A two-time winner over the Santa Anita turf course, the French-bred veteran projects to enjoy an ideal stalking trip and then have every chance to seal the deal in the final furlong. Castle, away almost a year but training decently for his comeback, always has had a winning spirit (he’s 6-for-16 lifetime) and has a history of firing a big shot fresh. The recent local workouts include a bullet five furlong main track drill (1:00h, fastest of 64) two weeks ago and there’s no question that if he returns with anything close to his best race he can win.

RACE 8: Post: 4:17 PT Grade: C
Use: 3-Bradothebartender; 5-Fashionable Fast

Forecast: Fashionably Fast is listed at 6/5 on the morning line in this year’s five-runner Tiznow Stakes over a mile on the main track for California bred older horses. Indeed, he won this race last year but was all out to do so and we’re convinced that despite that victory he’s really much more comfortable around one turn. He closed with interest to be third in the Cal Cup Sprint last month (his first outing since August) and the son of Lucky Pulpit has every right to produce a forward move, but at a short price he’ll offer no value and may be vulnerable. Brandothebartender is winless in four starts over the Santa Anita main track and he’s always been far more interested in finishing third (14 times) throughout his career than winning (6 times), but in a race begging to be won from behind he should have every chance to wear down the leaders in the final furlong. Truthfully, nothing would surprise us, so we’ll pass the race; rolling exotic players should include as many as they can afford to.

RACE 9: Post: 4:52 PT Grade: B-
Use: 2-Whistler’s Style; 6-Kind But She Lies

Forecast: At the prices that they are listed, we’re not really keen on Avisse (3-1) or Flag Salute (7/2), though we do recognize that in an extremely weak maiden $50,000 claiming turf miler for 3-year-old fillies a win by either one wouldn’t be surprising. Instead, we’ll double the race and hope that gets us through it. Whistler’s Style shows up in a seller for the first time, shortens to a mile, and makes a major jockey switch to F. Prat while landing a comfortable inside post position. The daughter of Tonalist has never attracted an ounce of money in three starts but against this group and based on her speed figures she should be right there and maybe even win it. Kind But She Lies – listed at 8-1 on the morning line - seems to be improving with racing and can be expected to be running on late. She shows the two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out pattern for E. Kruljac, and after closing a gap to be fifth in a recent turf dash she could produce a significant forward move at a distance she’s bred to like.