Jeff Siegel's Analysis for Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010

A good Sunday program begins with a $20,000 claiming dash that pretty much boils down to the two morning line favorites, #1 Spot the Diplomat and #2 Capt. Sparrow. The one to beat is Spot the Diplomat, who was blocked badly and lost his chance when trying to make a winning move vs. slightly stronger earlier this month, and if secures clear sailing today he’ll be tough to deny late. Capt. Sparrow exits a tougher race but is still well above his claim level, a solid endorsement from Carava who generally runs his stock where they can win. Rosario should have him rolling in the final furlong.

The second race presents #3 Good Measure at 3/5 on the morning line, and after tipping his hand in a promising sprint debut in a fast, highly-rated race, the son of Maria’s Mon stretches out to a distance that he should have no trouble handling. A recent superior work has him on edge, and the Gaines-trained gelding looks like a free bingo space in your rolling exotics.

We’ll double the third race using #3 Joe Carl and #6 Changing with preference to the former, a consistent and genuine mid-level claimer in the Spawr stable. He remains above his claim level while retaining Pedroza and should be prominent throughout in a field without much speed. The likely pacesetter is Changing, who rates a big look despite a considerable raise in class. He’s a fit on speed figures and gets a very favorable pace scenario.

The fourth race on turf should be won by either #3 Wood Art or #8 Madeline Ruby and we’ll use them both in our rolling exotics. Wood Art, genuine and consistent and freshened since early December, has good tactical speed to be within striking range, and having finished first or second 15 of 28 career outings she’ll definitely lay her body down when it matters in the final furlong. Madeline Ruby drops to her lowest level ever, retains Rosario and exits a fast, highly-rated affair in which she earned a career top speed figure despite finishing fourth.

Conditioned allowance fillies and mares travel a mile over the Pro Ride in the fifth race, a stronger than par race for the level. #4 Devine Actress gets her first taste of the Pro Ride following three sharp efforts on turf, and if she can transfer that grass form to the main track she’ll be right there. Asanti, in the money in all nine of her lifetime starts, finished third in a tough affair earlier this month while earning a career top fig and with further improvement figures in the thick of it once again. #7 Fund Raiser broke her maiden impressively last month for Baffert, has trained in very sharp style since and figures to continue her improving pattern today with Gomez riding her back. These three are difficult to separate and we’ll use them all in our rolling exotics.

The sixth race, a mid-level claimer on turf, has three legitimate contenders. #1 Uffizi didn’t run badly when third as the choice vs. similar last month, lands the favorable rail and has won at this 10 furlong trip in the past. He should be close up throughout in a race with very little speed. #4 Yodelen Dan has won three of his last four for Mullins, always gives his best and should fire another big shot again today. #7 Cavanal, second in his last three, seems to lack a true winning punch (he’s 2-for-15 lifetime with eight seconds) but won’t have to improve much to take it all.

We’ll use two in the seventh race, a downhill turf dash for first level allowance fillies and mares. #6 Stevie’s Afleet, in the money in her last four and always dangerous from off the pace, likes this downhill turf course and with good racing luck looks very dangerous in the final furlong. Rosario rides her back for Sadler. #8 Barbara’s Love is another with proven winning form on this lawn, comes off a solid effort at the level on the main track and retains Talamo, who has won with her in the past. She has good tactical speed and will be in striking range throughout.

The Santa Monica Handicap is a legitimate Grade-1 race this year and it will take a very good filly or mare to win it. #3 Evita Argentina is a seven furlong specialist (she’s won four of eight lifetime at this trip) and just blew past her rivals to win the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes opening day at seven eighths. She’ll be rolling late again under Rosario. #6 Free Flying Soul seeks her third straight win and deserves strong support based on her sharp and improved speed figures and her overall record over the Pro Ride (four wins in five starts, third in the B.C. Filly & Mare Sprint). And #7 Proviso, disqualified as the winner of the Spinster S. in her U.S. debut last fall, won a group stakes at seven furlongs in France and in fact this might be her favorite distance. She continues to impress in the morning for new trainer Mott, can fire fresh, and on paper would seem to be the class of the field.

We’ll double the ninth race, a maiden claiming extended sprint for 3-year-old fillies, using #3 Melbisha and #11 Moonskipper. Melbisha finished with interest when a solid runner up in a similar spot earlier this month and retains Gomez. She’ll be running on strongly late. Moonskipper lands the good outside post, returns to a one corner race and switches to Espinoza. She’s a little too one paced to be trusted and in fact was beaten as the choice in her last two outings, but she has back numbers that would crush this field so you almost have to use her in your rolling exotics.