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Monday, May 31: Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Full-Card Picks

by Jeff Siegel

May 31, 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: 2-Coast of Roan; 4-Lure Him In; 6-Astronaut

Forecast: The Memorial Day opener is a competitive entry-level allowance event over nine furlongs on turf that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll try to get by going three-deep. Astronaut was nosed out at this level at a mile last time out and today is reunited with “win rider” F. Prat. We’re expecting the progressive son of Quality Road to inherit an ideal pace-stalking position and have every chance from there. There’s some wagering value at or near his morning line of 4-1 if you can get it. Lure Him In wanted no part of 12 furlongs on dirt when a distant third in the Tokyo City S.-G3 last month but should bounce back in this easier assignment while returning to grass. First or second in nine of 16 career starts, the son of Khozan is a one-paced grinding type and runs best when he’s not given too much to do. It will behoove K. Desormeaux to put him in the race early. Coast of Roan was scratched out of a similar race May 9 and didn’t work again until May 18 but if he fires his best shot today the D. O’Neill-trained gelding should be a serious threat. All three of his career wins have been accomplished over the local lawn and U. Rispoli, who fits him well, stays aboard.

RACE 2: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: B+
Use: 2-Trainer Please; 6-Brutto

Forecast: This maiden special weight sprint boils down to two main players, with Brutto getting the edge on top strictly because he has the benefit of a race over the track. The son of Nyquist was beaten 13 lengths when second last month behind speed freak Flightline and has since trained quite well for B. Baffert, so a significant forward move can be expected. Trainer Please has been impressive in the a.m. leading up to his debut and if he breaks with his field the son of Orb should make a race of it. The D. O’Neill-trained gelding has done everything asked of him in his drills and could be a decent type, or maybe even more than that.

RACE 3: Post: 2:07 PT Grade: B-
Use: 3-Eustace; 5-Single Me Out

Forecast: Eustace, away since early February, was scratched out of a similar turf sprint on May 7 but worked three day later and should be set for a major effort in his second start off a claim for D. Blacker. The son of Ministers Wild Cat is re-equipped with blinkers while retaining F. Prat and has worked well in recent weeks to indicate he’s ready for an improved effort. In a race that appears fairly wide open this Cal-bred gelding projects to settle in the second flight and then have his chance to wear down the leaders from the quarter pole home. Single Me Out, like Eustace pegged at 6-1 on the morning line, should be a solid fit in his first start off a $20,000 claim by R. Saldana (a solid 19% with this angle) and similar to our top pick should be doing his best work from the second flight. He owns a prior win over the course and has earned consistent recent speed figures that make him dangerous. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics in a volatile race without much speed signed on, making good early position mandatory for success.

RACE 4: Post: 2:41 PT Grade: B
Use: 1-Contagion; 6-Conquest Cobra

Forecast: Contagion won an allowance race over this track and distance earlier this month in his first start off the claim for P. Miller, rallying from far back with the help of the race-shape to be up close home while earning a career top speed figure. Three times victorious over the Santa Anita main track, the son of Fed Biz should be set to fire another big shot, though he’ll need some help up front to have his best chance. Conquest Cobra, with six career wins over the Santa Anita main track, certainly qualifies for “horse for course” status and projects to be on or near the lead throughout. The pace flow projects to be comfortable and this nine-year-old gelding, first or second in 19 of 50 career starts, is reunited with bug girl J. Pyfer, who has gotten good run out of him in the pat. We’ll prefer Contagion on top but include both in rolling exotic play.

RACE 5: Post: 3:14 PT Grade: B+
Use: 1-Burgoo Alley; 10-Speedcuber

Forecast: Speedcuber has been very impressive in workouts leading up to her debut and the daughter of War Front is bred on both sides of her pedigree to excel on grass. We suspect the R. Baltas-trained filly will be very difficult to beat if she leaves cleanly from the gate, something that’s always a bit of a concern when dealing with first time starters. Burgoo Alley displayed talent in in three non-winning starts in Ireland and makes her California debut as a first-time Lasix user for a barn that excels with European imports. A recent training track drill while in company with her high class stablemate Charmaine’s Mia caught the eye, so if the Irish-bred filly can avoid trouble from her rail draw she should make a serious run for it. We’ll prefer Speedcuber on top but include both in our rolling exotics.

RACE 6: Post: 3:48 PT Grade: B-
Use: 1-Thanks Mr. Eidson; 4-Speed Pass

Forecast: Here’s a second-level allowance sprint that appears a bit treacherous. We’ll try to survive and advance using the two listed above, but not with a great deal of confidence, so if you feel the need to spread deeper, go right ahead. Speed Pass was somewhat disappointing when a non-threatening third of six in the Tom Fool H.-G3 at Aqueduct in early March but his narrow third place finish at this level over this track in late January makes him the one to beat. A sparingly-raced 5-year-old, the son of Bodemeister picks up F. Prat and catches a sprint field lacking in good early speed, so he should be prominent throughout and have no excuses. Thanks Mr. Eidson has two career wins and 11 seconds or thirds so he’s never really been one to count on under pressure, but the J. Bonde-trained gelding has been facing tougher foes of late and could find this group well within his range. He’ll need to break running from the rail to secure a forwardly placed trip to have his best chance.

RACE 7: Post: 4:22 PT Grade: X
Use: 2-Smooth Like Strait; 6-Whisper Not; 7-Say the Word

Forecast: Smooth Like Strait deserves top billing in this year’s edition of the Shoemaker Mile-G1 but at 4/5 on the morning line there’s not much value to be found. The M. McCarthy-trained colt lost two toughies in his last pair but always fires his best shot and this return to a flat mile should make him tough to beat in a race that projects to have comfortable early splits. Whisper Not likely will settle into a pace-stalking trip and have dead aim and every chance from the quarter pole home. Fresh from a confidence-building win in the San Francisco Mile-G3 at Golden Gate Fields last month, the English-bred colt always impresses in his a.m. drills and with another forward could give the favorite a run for his money. We’ll also toss in on a ticket or two Say The Word, a devout marathoner dropping back to a distance that logic would say is too short for him (and it probably will be). However, the P. D’Amato-trained gelding can really turn it on late and if gets any help of front he could make his presence felt from out of the clouds.

RACE 8: Post: 4:49 PT Grade: B
Single: 1-Royal Ship

Forecast: Royal Ship won the Californian S.-G2 last month in game fashion, has maintained his edge in the a.m. during the interim and should have no difficulty producing a similar effort over this classic mile and one-quarter main track trip. We’re expecting the Midshipman gelding to be forward placed while saving ground and then be able to kick home when called upon by regular pilot M. Smith. He’s our top pick but a strong case also can be made for Big ‘Cap runner-up Express Train, the 2-1 morning line favorite and likely to enjoy a soft stalking trip outside. Additionally, Country Grammar, beaten a neck by Royal Ship in the Californian in his first start since joining the B. Baffert barn, gets a favorable four pound shift in the weights compared to ‘Ship and is lightly-raced with plenty of upside. The winner likely will be one of these three and if you’d prefer to triple the race in rolling exotic play you can do so. We’ll take a stand and single Royal Ship.

RACE 9: Post: 5:24 PT Grade: B
Use: 2-Charmaine’s Mia; 9-Bodhicitta

Forecast: Charmaine’s Mia must be considered a tad suspect at this nine furlong distance but if the P. D’Amato-trained mare switches off and relaxes during the early stages of this year’s edition of the Gamely S.-G1 she should be able to extend her winning streak to four. Extremely fast on speed figures in her victories over a mile, the daughter of The Factor probably can be the controlling speed if she wants to be, and perhaps if the opportunity is presented F. Prat should take full advantage of the situation. The most dangerous of the closing types is Bodhicitta, winner of the Yellow Ribbon S.-G2 at Del Mar last summer and three times victorious over the Santa Anita turf course. Freshened since November but training like she’s fit and ready, the R. Baltas-trained mare likes to lag and then blast home, and if the Charmaine’s Mia can’t see out the trip this talented import could produce a winning late kick.