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Friday, April 02: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

April 2, 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: 1:00 PT Grade: C
Use: 2-Sugar Pickel; 4-Goodtingscomeinpink; 6-So Much Happy

Forecast: The Friday opener is a restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming turf miler for fillies and mares. Goodtingscomeinpink and Sugar Pickel, two-three finishers in a similar race over this course and distance in late February, square off again, and while they appear to be the logical main players neither one trustworthy. The former, now in the D. O’Neill stable following a claim, should run at least as well today for a barn that hits at a strong 21% with this angle, but her lack of a winning punch (one career victory with 10 seconds/thirds) is a concern. ‘Pickel was a race shape-aided third when clunking home with her usual one-paced, grinding style but retains F. Prat and should enjoy a mid-pack, ground-saving trip. Also worth tossing in is So Much Happy, a class-dropper removing blinkers and with numbers that fit; however, she’s winless in eight starts over the Santa Anita turf course and comes from a low-percentage outfit. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics in a race that we’ll otherwise pass.

RACE 2: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: C+
Use: 1-Another Chapter; 4-Betito

Forecast: The logical top pick in this bottom-rung maiden claiming middle distance affair is Johan Zoffani but the pattern hardly inspires confidence. Beaten at 70 cents on the dollar up north in mid-February, the D. Blacker-trained gelding plummets in class while clearly being culled from the stable and will be making his first start on dirt. To be truthful, he hasn’t trained all that well on the main track, so while the Irish-import may simply outclass this modest bunch he’s worth trying to beat at 6/5 on the morning line. Betito has a pedigree to allow for improvement over a distance of ground, and in his first try around two-turns the K. Mulhall-trained gelding should find himself on or near the lead throughout in what projects to be a slowly-run race. His numbers are gradually rising and he exits a couple of better-than-par races for the level. Another Chapter is a first-timer bred to run long (Mucho Macho Man) and with workouts that indicate he has at least some ability. In a race in which the known element doesn’t inspire, the E. Truman-trained colt won’t have to be a world beater to act with these.

RACE 3: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: B-
Use: 4-Factorial; 5-Black Storm; 7-Rickey B

ForecastBlack Storm scored under similar conditions two races back and as a five-time winner over the Santa Anita main track the son of Treasure Ride can be counted on for an honest effort in this $10,000 claiming dash for older horses. He’s most effective as a late-running sprinter so with good racing luck and a little help up front he may be capable of producing the last run. Factorial drops to his lowest level ever, adds blinkers, and gets a weight break with the switch to bug girl E. Ellingwood, so if he can shake loose early the R. Hanson-trained gelding could get very brave. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with a slight preference on top to Black Storm.

RACE 4: Post: 2:44 PT Grade: B-
Use: 3-Italiano; 5-Castle; 6-Psycho Dar; 8-Blackout

Forecast: Here’s a grass grab bag for mid-level claiming sprinters with several possibilities. Psycho Dar gets a very slight edge on top after being badly overmatched in his last pair. Freshened since mid-February and showing some spark in a recent main track workout, the K. Mulhall-trained gelding can win on the lead or from a stalking position and always has been dependable when properly spotted. Blackout is re-equipped with blinkers and projects to enjoy a good second-flight, stalking position and then have every chance from the quarter pole home. F. Prat stays aboard the French-bred gelding for P. Miller, a jockey/trainer team that hits at a remarkable 35%, Castle has form over this course and distance that makes him a major player and is a six-timer winner from just 17 career starts so you know he can be counted on, while Italiano, a first-off-the-claim play for D. O’Neill (powerful stats with this angle), looked quite sharp in a recent drill and is worth tossing in even though his grass form doesn’t really inspire.

RACE 5: Post: 3:15 PT Grade: B-
Single: 7-Traffic Stopper

Forecast: Traffic Stopper graduated vs. bottom-rung maiden $20,000 competition in game style last month in what was her first start in more than a year and is realistically spotted right back in this restricted (nw-2) $16,000 extended sprint for fillies and mares. Drawn comfortably outside and retaining F. Prat, the M. Puype-trained filly is ensured a comfortable stalking trip and if she can produce even a slight forward move this field should be within her capabilities. If it’s not her, it could be any of the other six entrants so rather than spread deeply (or even take the safe route and buy the race) we’ll try to survive and advance by taking a stand and somewhat reluctantly singling the daughter of Cross Traffic.

RACE 6: Post: 3:45 PT Grade: B
Use: 6-Equal Measure; 7-Gallovie

Forecast: Gallovie stretches out again and clearly will be the controlling speed in this restricted (nw-3) $35,000 claiming turf miler for fillies and mares. With just two victories from 18 career starts and winless in six outings over the local lawn, the English-bred mare isn’t one to trust, but the F. Prat/R. Baltas barn always has been a powerful combo (37%) and a recent bullet workout indicate she’s on edge. Let’s hope she can relax on the front end and roll all the way to the wire. Equal Measure is the most dangerous of the closing types and can be along in time if our top pick goes too fast too early. A solid runner-up under these conditions two races back when more than five lengths clear of the rest, the daughter of Speightstown is a strong fit on numbers and should benefit from the switch to T. Baze.

RACE 7: Post: 4:15 PT Grade: B
Use: 2-Crystal Ball; 5-Pharoah’s Heart

Forecast: Pharoah’s Heart has the classic two-sprints-and-stretch-out pattern and is quite fast in the speed figure department, so in this five-runner first-level allowance main track miler for fillies and mares let’s go with the M. Glatt-trained daughter of American Pharoah on top. She’s been relaxing nicely in her recent workouts so we’re expecting that she’ll have no trouble handling the extra distance while possibly inheriting the role as the controlling speed depending upon how committed Crystal Ball will be early on. ‘Ball was good enough to finish second by a head in the C.C.A. Oaks-G1 last summer and broke her maiden in gate-to-wire fashion over the local main track last year, so if she’s cranked up and ready in her first start since August the B. Baffert-trained filly obviously will be hard to beat. Both should be used in rolling exotic play.

RACE 8: Post: 4:45 PT Grade: B-
Use: 3-McWherter; 4-Nazare; 5-Nerves of Steel

Forecast: The finale is a messy maiden $50,000 claiming turf sprint for older horses that points to Nerves of Steel as the logical strong favorite after he was nosed out while five lengths clear of the others in a similar affair last month in his first local start for new trainer P. Miller. F. Prat stays aboard, so it all adds up, though it must be pointed out that the Speightster gelding was also entered on Sunday at Golden Gate Fields in a maiden special weight event and might opt for that spot. Others to consider are McWherter, a troubled fourth vs. similar on dirt, switching to U. Rispoli and with a prior good run on grass, and Nazare, a first-timer with a nice recent workout that indicates a fair amount of ability.