Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sun., March 11, 2012)

The Sunday program begins with a fairly competitive $16,000 claiming sprint that contains a number of different angles to consider. #5 Thunder of Zion is a committed front runner but will race without blinkers today in an attempt to get him to slow down early. He’s been off form lately – three straight poor efforts – so the switch in equipment may or may not matter much. #1 Runaway Wildcat was fully extended to beat a similar field at 4/5 last month and is facing much more early heat today. He does like to win (5-for-16) but probably will have to work a little harder today. #2 Me Salty won a restricted $12,500 seller last time out and was life-and-death to do it, but at least he can pass horses and retains Rosario, so he’s not without a chance. And #6 Cut Fastball is a class dropper exiting a hot race and is another who should benefit from the race shape. This is a tough race, one that appears to demand a spread in rolling exotic play.

#7 Sidepocket Kid has a lot going for him in the second race, if you can get past his morning line odds of 6/5 and his zero-for-10 lifetime record. He’s consistently much faster on numbers than anything in this woeful bottom rung maiden claiming affair and if he doesn’t win today, he may never win. However, that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for a short priced wager.

The third race looks like a set up for the comebacking #6 Glamorista, a very talented sprinting mare in the Baffert barn. She earned a giant figure when breaking her maiden at first asking but came out of her next race the worse for wear and was sent home. She’s back training like her old self and should have clear sailing from her cozy outside post. It’s all good, except she’s even money on the morning line.

Maiden sophomore fillies travel nine furlongs on turf in the fourth race and we’re very much expecting a huge run from #1 Dixie in Pink. Improving with racing and seemingly set for a breakthrough effort. The daughter of Dixieland Band should appreciate the extra ground and looks likely to produce the last run under Bejarano. We’re hoping for something close to her morning line odds of 7/2.

The fifth race looks made to order for #1 Capture the Call in his first start off the claim for Miller. A need the lead type most of his career, the veteran gelding lands the good rail and seems likely to be the controlling speed, though at this level he may be able to stalk and win if the situation calls for it. Freshened for five weeks and continuing to look sharp in the morning, Capture the Call should have no excuses today as the 2-1 morning line choice.

The sixth race brings back #8 Southern Sunrise for another crack at older maidens. The Dehere gelding was extremely well meant in his debut but settled for second in a fast, highly-rated sprint. Anything close to a similar effort today should make this race easy pickings for the Puype-trained four-year-old. We’re anticipating he’ll be a short priced rolling exotic single on many tickets.

The seventh race seems like an ideal spot for #3 Times Gone By to return to winning form. The Canani-trained gelding drops to his claim level and should be prominent throughout from his good inside draw. The concern is he’s never been overly genuine (3-for-23 lifetime) but even with that record he looks primed and ready.

The featured Las Flores Stakes for sprinting fillies and mares will provide a class test to #2 Izzy Rules, who earned stakes quality speed figures in her last pair over this track and clearly is vastly improved after turning five years of age. She has only one way to go – on the front end – and should have the lead to herself. Waiting to pounce will be #4 Home Sweet Aspen from what likely will be an ideal stalking position, and #6 Spectacular Sky, a big figure winner of a first level allowance sprint recently and with the perfect closing style for this extended sprint trip. We’ll give Home Sweet Aspen a slight edge – she did win the Grade 1 Santa Monica Stakes earlier this meeting – but all three are usable in rolling exotic play.

The nightcap is a starter’s allowance sprint that also may require a bit of a spread. #1 Scream Queen is a route-to-sprint, turf-to-dirt play and will be competitive if she can avoid trouble from the rail. #6 Song Girl has improving speed figures and retains Bejarano; she’ll likely inherit a lovely pace prompting trip. #8 Blue Samarai is just 1-for-19 and certainly not once to trust, but she’s hit the board on 11 other occasions and probably should be used underneath somewhere in your exotics.