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Sunday, May 16: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

May 16, 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: B
Use: 3-Fowler Blue; 5-Aspen Shade

Forecast: Fowler Blue has shown enough in the morning to expect a big effort for a barn that sends its babies out fit and ready. The Cal-bred son of Curlin to Mischief is a good mover with plenty of quickness and from our vantage point deserves his 2-1 morning line favorite’s role. Aspen Shade also has trained like a precocious type and will be dangerous if our top pick fails to live up to expectations. Both should be included in rolling exotics with the main push going to Fowler Blue.

RACE 2: Post: 1:38 PT Grade: B+
Use: 1-Five Pics Please; 5-Rakassah

Forecast: Rakassah has two excellent recent races over the local lawn, continues to train in sharp fashion and should be set to produce another forward move in this second-level grass sprint for fillies and mares. She may be most effective when she has a target to run at, and she’ll have one here with the blazingly quick Five Pics Please having only one way to go from her inside draw. We’re expecting this pair to exert their superiority over the rest of the field when the pressure is turned on. Both should be included in rolling exotic play we’ll give a very slight edge on top to Rakassah.

RACE 3: Post: 2:10 PT Grade: B
Use: 4-Joe Don Looney; 5-Theluteismine

Forecast: The top two choices in this mid-level claiming sprint restricted to 3-year-olds exit the same race and both are dropping for the money run in a six-runner affair that came up shallow in contention. Theluteismine finished more than five lengths behind Joe Don Looney in a starter optional claimer last month but we like the way he’s worked since that race and expect the P. Miller-trained gelding to produce a significant forward move. ‘Looney was the 9/5 favorite in that race, was worn down late, and today must cope with a negative 11 pound shift in the weights compared to his chief rival. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics but then press with extra tickets keying Theluteismine on top.

RACE 4: Post: 2:43 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1-Bellize; 5-Golden Journey; 7-Predictable Tully

Forecast: The mandatory Pick-6 sequence begins here in a difficult maiden claiming turf miler for fillies and mares. Bellize is listed at 15-1 on the morning line and may offer good long shot value at that price. She continues to work well, lands the rail, and could easily inherit the role as the controlling speed. The five-year-old mare certainly isn’t trustworthy – none of these are – but if she can shake loose early she could get very brave late. Golden Journey has the blinkers-off angle that always catches the eye and she’s another that may be a bit better than her form suggests, at least according to her workouts. Given the patient ride that would probably bring out her best, the daughter of Goldencents has a strong look off her good runner-up effort over this course and distance two runs back. Predictable Lady is the 7/5 morning line favorite and is a “must use” as well, though we doubt she deserves to be that short of a price. A 12-race maiden that for some reason has been single digits on the tote board in every one of her nine U.S. starts, the J. Mullins-trained Irish-bred filly is a one-paced grinder but has numbers that fit and should have every chance in a race that certainly lacks quality and depth.

RACE 5: Post: 3:18 PT Grade: C+
Use: 4-By Moonlight; 5-Big Well

Forecast: Here’s another modest affair, this one for bottom-rung maiden claimers over a distance of ground on the main track. Big Well, second while more than three lengths clear of the rest in a similar affair here last month, won’t need much more to earn his diploma as the 9/5 morning line favorite. The lightly-raced gelding isn’t particularly fast on speed figures but at least they’re moving in the right direction, so with another bit of improvement today the T. Yakteen-trained son of Mr. Big will be the one beat. By Moonlight stretches out again, adds blinkers for the first time, gets a huge break in the weights with the switch to good bug girl J. Pyfer and could find himself as the controlling speed. If he can clear early he may never look back. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Big Well.

RACE 6: Post: 3:50 PT Grade: B-
Use: 2-Mr. Impossible; 5-Beyond Brilliant

Forecast: Mr. Impossible has numbers that have gradually dropped since a very promising debut runner-up effort to Concert Tour in January but today he stretches out for the first time, removes blinkers, and catches a field that that doesn’t have a whole lot in it. His pedigree suggests he should stay at least a mile, so the son of Munnings really should have no excuse. U. Rispoli stays aboard and knows him well. That said, our top selection is Beyond Brilliant, who somehow managed to get himself beat at 10 cents on the dollar when a no-excuse third in a four-runner turf sprint in late March. The son of Twirling Candy stretches out and tries the main track for the first time and, if his natural early speed is utilized properly, could find himself as the controlling speed. This one-time $200,000 Timonium purchase still has a chance to develop into a decent sort of colt; today would be a good time to jump start the process. We’ll sink or swim with just these two in our rolling exotics and then key the slightly less-exposed Beyond Brilliant on a few extra tickets.

RACE 7: Post: 4:22 PT Grade: B
Use: 2-Fantail; 6-Ellerslie Lace; 7-Lofty

Forecast: This appears to be a stronger-than-par first-level allowance extended grass sprint for fillies and mares, requiring a spread in our rolling exotics. Ellerslie Lace, stakes-placed overseas last year and training quite well for her U.S. debut, may hold a bit of a class edge and is a first-time Lasix user for an outfit that is quite capable with imports. Based on what we’ve seen of her in the morning, the French-bred filly has a very good turn of foot which should allow her to settle early and then take hold late under top turf rider U. Rispoli. Lofty is clearly the speed of the speed and will take some catching if she can clear the field early without being used. She was scratched out of the four-runner Fran’s Valentine Stakes last Sunday but worked the next day, so we assume she’s okay. Fantail, a minor handicapper in England last year and with Timeform Ratings that are okay but not great, is another making her U.S. debut and could easily be better than her form indicates. The R. Baltas-trained import gets Lasix and F. Prat and has shown enough in her morning drills to indicate she’s fit.

RACE 8: Post: 4:49 PT Grade: C
Use: 1-Studly Perfection; 2-Jan’s Reserve; 4-Indy Jones; 5-Tobacco Road

Forecast: This extended sprint for $10,000 older claimers is borderline inscrutable. The speed types are inconsistent, and the closers can’t be trusted, so nothing would surprise us. Go as deeply as your budget allows. Jan’s Reserve exits a hot race, gets an extra half furlong to work with and should be running on late. With some help up front the veteran R. Trela-trained gelding might be able to tag the speed. Indy Jones is another with a closing style that could be very effective if the pace types do each other in. He’s just 2-for-23 during his career but at least one of those wins was accomplished over the Santa Anita main track, a restricted claiming victory just two races back. On pure numbers he’s competitive. Tobacco Road beat a tougher $12,500 field last time out but hasn’t been out in two months and drops a notch of that win, not exactly an encouraging sign. But if he can turn in two alike, he’ll be right there. Studly Perfection backs up in trip, has been first or second in six of nine starts over the local main track, and may find himself on the front end. Sprint speed and route speed are two different things, but he can only win on the lead, so there will be no turning back.

RACE 9: Post: 5:26 PT Grade: B-
Use: 2-Consider Me Gone; 4-Sweet Devil; 5-Irish Aura; 8-Rattrapante

Forecast: The finale is another maiden claimer with all kinds of tote-busting possibilities. Rattrapante has displayed early speed vs. much tougher foes before fading badly in both of her starts to date, but against this group – and with the switch to turf – the daughter of Flat Out may stick around a very long time at a huge price (15-1 morning line). She continues to train well for J. Sadler so maybe against this group on this surface the once very expensive ($370,000) auction purchase will have found her friends. If not, there are others that have a right to run better than the form might indicate. Consider Me Gone, freshened for two months, has rising numbers, a couple of good recent workouts, including a bullet :47 4/5 half mile drill on the training track last week, and a closing style that could be effective in a race in which the front speed may collapse. She’s 12-1 on the morning line and probably is better than that. Sweet Devil and Irish Aura are both dropping into a claimer for the first time and have decent enough form vs. tougher to suggest they’ll be major players against this type of competition. Both fall into the “must use” category.