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Saturday, March 20: Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Full-Card Picks

by Jeff Siegel

March 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: 1:00 PT Grade: B
Single: 3-Lalic

Forecast: Lalic performed better than expected when 13-1 in her debut in a similar grass sprint here last month, pressing the pace but then weakening late to wind up third while appearing to need the outing. She makes a major jockey switch to F. Prat, shows two easy workouts since raced, and projects to settle into a nice stalking position outside two committed speed types and then, in a field lacking in effective closers, have every chance from the quarter pole home. We wouldn’t accept much less than her 2-1 morning line in the win pool but in the rolling exotics we’ll take a stand and make her a single.

RACE 2: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: X
Use: 2-None Above the Law; 4-Club Cal

Forecast: None Above the Law is the 4/5 morning line favorite and obviously will offer no value at that price but the P. Miller-trained gelding should be hard to beat as a first-time Lasix user, switching to F. Prat, and with no Life is Good to contend with today. His runner-up effort in the California Cup Derby two runs back behind Big Fish while four lengths clear of the rest beats this field. Club Cal might be worth including on a ticket or two as a back-up. The Clubhouse Ride gelding adds blinkers for the first time, returns to the main track, has worked well recently and was stakes-placed two races back when a close third in the King Glorious S. at Los Alamitos. If he improves with the hood on, the C. Kelley-trained gelding could make a bit of run for it.

RACE 3: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1-Armour Plate; 6-Invictatus

Forecast: We’ll double the third race, a below average restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming turf miler. Invictatatus, freshened for a couple of months, drops well below his claim level while stretching out again. He’s worked well enough in recent weeks to indicate he’s ready for a top effort, but with speed drawn inside him he’ll need to show that he can stalk and pounce rather than be on the lead. On pure numbers, he’s good enough to win. Armour Plate is guaranteed a ground-saving trip from his good rail post position after missing by a neck over this course and distance vs. similar foes in his most recent start. He’s just 1-for-21 in his career but at least that win came over the local lawn, and with F. Prat staying aboard the son of Into Mischief projects as the one to fear most.

RACE 4: Post: 2:48 PT Grade: X
Single: 4-Thrive

Forecast: Thrive tipped his hand in his debut when finding his best stride too late to be third in a similar state-bred maiden sprint last month and today gets an extra half-furlong to work with while adding blinkers and retaining F. Prat. Furthermore, the M. McCarthy barn has off-the-charts stats with the second-time starter angle (27% with a massive ROI), so we suspect this son of Competitive Edge will graduate today at what surely will be a shorter price than his morning line of 8/5. He’s a logical rolling exotic single in a race that we’ll otherwise pass.

RACE 5: Post: 3:22 PT Grade: B
Use: 2-Red King; 3-Ward ‘n Jerry; 7-Tartini

Forecast: This starter’s allowance turf marathon looks more like a graded stakes race, with the main players eligible for having started for a $50,000 tag at least once since 2019. Red King, winner of the Del Mar H.-G2 last September, returns for trainer P. D’Amato (powerful with the layoff angle) and has a history of firing a big shot fresh. He’s worked well enough to be fit and ready and is a five-time winner (from 12 starts) over the Santa Anita turf course. Ward ‘n Jerry was fully extended to win a softer starter’s allowance event last month as the odds-on favorite and probably will need to pick it up a bit today to repeat. The eight-year-old gelding, just like Red King, has a career record of five wins from 12 outings over this turf course, retains F. Prat, and should draft into an easy stalking position in a race projects to have very slow splits. Though he doesn’t need the lead to win, Tartini may inherit the role as the pacesetter. He proved hard to down given that type of trip when narrowly worn down by Ward ‘n Jerry last month, and a similar effort today should at least land him in the frame.

RACE 6: Post: 3:55 PT Grade: B-
Use: 2-Street Behavior

Forecast: There’s really nothing to trust in this $16,000 middle distance router for older horses, so if you can afford to do so, spread the race in rolling exotic play and perhaps even use ‘em all if your budget allows. It’s either that or try to identify a potential single. Street Behavior, third in a similar spot last time out and today getting a break in the weights with the switch to bug girl J. Pyfer, projects to enjoy an ideal second flight, stalking journey and then have his chance to grind away when the pressure is turned on. A nice recent training track drill shows he’s holding his form and based strictly on speed figures the S. Miyadi-trained gelding looks capable of winning at this level.

RACE 7: Post: 4:25 PT Grade: X
Use: 1-Acclimate; 2-Masteroffoxhounds; 3-United

Forecast: We’ll pass this year’s edition of the San Luis Rey Stakes-G3 but use three in our rolling exotics. United returns to his favorite turf course, has been trained to be plenty fit in his first outing since the BC Turf-G1 last November, and seems sure to fire a big shot. However, even when he wins, the veteran son of Giant’s Causeway always makes it close. Masteroffoxhounds seeks her third straight score after a sharp win in the 10-furlong San Marcos S.-G2 here last month. He’ll likely track Acclimate throughout and then go after him at the top of the stretch, just like last time. The latter will make the running, and although he’s winless since scoring in gate-to-wire fashion in the Del Mar Handicap-G2 way back in the summer of 2019 the Acclamation gelding take them as far as he can and deserves a certain amount of respect.

RACE 8: Post: 4:55 PT Grade: B-
Use: 3-El Diablo Rojo; 4-Fratelli; 6-Curry

Forecast: Curry had no excuse when failing at 40 cents on the dollar in a similar first-level allowance sprint last month other than perhaps needing the race. The lightly-raced gelding (just four career starts) is extremely fast on speed figures when he’s on his game, so the K. Headley-trained gelding certainly must be considered the one to beat again, especially at this slightly shorter trip. Fratelli is intriguing in that he’s a first-off-the-claim play for P. Miller (lethal with this angle) and is protected in a sign of confidence while switching to F. Prat. He’s certain to improve, the only question is how much. El Diablo Rojo, back sprinting where he belongs, is much slower on pure numbers than he needs to be to win but will be running on strongly late and could make some noise if a pace meltdown materializes. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics with a slight preference on top to Curry.

RACE 9: Post: 5:25 PT Grade: B
Use: 5-No Foolery Here; 9-Hudson Ridge; 10-Eagle Chief

Forecast: Hudson Ridge is making steady improvement for B. Baffert and may be ready to graduate in this moderate maiden special weight turf miler for 3-year-olds. A closing and willing fourth with the help of the race flow on the main track last time out, the son of American Pharoah seems set to produce another forward move while returning to what we suspect will prove to be his preferred surface. He’ll get the patient ride he apparently wants from D. Van Dyke. Eagle Chief, in the frame in his last pair with speed figures that make him a major player, continues to look good in the morning and appears quite dangerous stretching out for the first time. The J. Sadler-trained son of Into Mischief should be on or near the lead throughout. No Foolery Here, an even fourth in his debut in the same productive turf sprint that Eagle Chief exits, has trained well at San Luis Rey Downs in the interim and is bred to handle the extra ground. Here’s another plus: trainer R. Baltas has terrific stats with the second-time starter angle.