Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sat., March 31, 2012)

A terrific Saturday program begins with an abbreviated sprint for maiden claiming $30,000 3-year-olds that looks fairly wide open. #1 Patriotic Lion ran very well under similar conditions two runs back and if he breaks cleanly from the rail he should be a strong pace factor throughout. #10 Givinaway chased tougher in his debut after being well backed and tries easier company today for a barn that generally does well with second time starters. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics; you may find the need to go a bit deeper.

The second race is a competitive downhill turf sprint for state bred fillies and mares; the main contention seems to be drawn outside. #10 Angel’s Moon, second in her recent comeback after cutting out the fractions, should move forward for Headley and is a “must use” in rolling exotic play. #11 Zambo, a closing fourth in a turf sprint at Hollywood Park in December, makes her first start since and certainly has the style to do well over this course. #12 Best Present Ever flashed improvement in her first outing since last summer when a closing second vs. similar about a month ago and goes from the rail to the outside while switching to Gomez. She continues to look sharp in the morning for Kruljac and probably deserves top billing.

Restricted (nw-2) claiming sprinters meet in the third race with the Bay Area shipper and class dropper #4 Battle Lou appearing to find a logical spot. A sharp runner up with a good figure over the all weather surface at Golden Gate Fields two races back, the Pederson-trained gelding has the style to flourish at this extended sprint distance and looks capable of producing the last run. You should also consider in your exotics #7 Blake, a close third in a similar affair earlier this month and a likely pace presser, and #9 Goux Would Do, a recent maiden claiming winner with a speed figure that makes him a solid fit in this league.

#1 Eden’s Moon may very well be the best 3-year-old filly in North American at the present time and she gets a chance to verify that ranking as the 3/5 favorite in the fourth race, the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks. The daughter of Malibu Moon must deal with her chief rival #2 Reneesgotzip, who adds blinkers and likely will try gate-to-wire tactics, but we’re of the belief that Eden’s Moon can be just as effective in a stalker’s role as she is when she makes the running. Clearly there’s no value here other than to single the very short priced favorite in rolling exotic play.

The fifth race is a state bred entry-level allowance sprint down the Hillside course; we’re looking at two main contenders to use in our rolling exotics. #2 Star Nicholas missed by a head when third in a similar spot last month and the old gelding will be rolling again in the final furlong under Rosario. With good racing luck and a decent pace up front he might get up in time. #7 Husband’s Folly earned a career top number when a fast finishing third over this course in early February and if he runs back that race today he might prove strongest in a cavalry charge.

The sixth race likely will require a spread for rolling exotic players. We’ll go three deep and hope that’s enough. #4 Bell Zone, first off the claim for John Martin (48% with a massive flat bet profit) is an automatic play due to his trainer’s incredible stats with this maneuver and on speed figures is a fit as well. The Northern California shipper has that Tapeta-to-conventional dirt angle working for him and we’re expecting the son of Memo to be a major player from a stalking or pace pressing position. #7 Square Deal is a class dropper from Doug O’Neil’s barn with plenty of back class and looks to be strictly the one to beat, though his condition must be considered a question mark. #11 Hidden Blessing is just 2-for-25 lifetime but he has rising speed figures for Mitchell and with another forward move today should be dangerous from his comfortable outside post.

Maiden sophomore fillies travel a mile on turf in the seventh race and this is another affair that looks to have a number of useable contenders. #3 Miss Communication has been beaten as the favorite in each of her last two starts but both races were solid and she has the pedigree to improve while stretching out for the first time. Talamo should have her on or near the lead throughout. #4 Flashy Dame is a fit on figures but will be trying turf and two turns for the first time; based on bloodlines the extra ground shouldn’t be an issue and there’s no reason she won handle the lawn, so we’ll use her as well. We’ll also toss in #9 Dubai Cyclone, a solid third in her debut down the hill last month and likely to improve a bunch with that effort to tighten her up. The daughter of Bernadini lands Rosario and sports a bullet half mile work for Harty just the other day.

The Evening Jewel Strakes, an extended sprint for 3-year-old state bred fillies, should boil down to either #2 Starry Skies or #6 Starlight Magic. The former graduated at first asking in a downhill turf sprint earlier this month and did so like a nice prospect for Marty Jones; the daughter of Sky Mesa shouldn’t be inconvenienced by the switch to the main track. The latter, freshened since winning the Cal Cup Juvenile over a distance of ground during the autumn meeting, has trained like she’s fit and ready for Glut and can be just as effective around one corner.

The ninth race, a $25,000 claimer over a mile on turf, looks pretty difficult and is another that should include as many as you can afford to in rolling exotic play. #1 Sky Cape represents inside speed and has been first or second in seven of 11 career starts over the local lawn. #2 Lamb is winless in six starts over this course but generally produces a good late kick and may at least get a piece of it. #4 Matto Mondo was a bit too keen in his last start and weakened late to finish third against tougher; he’s dropping to his lowest level ever and his back class could carry him through. #5 Stoneside likes to finish second rather than win but he’s always a threat at or about this level and is in good present form for Canani.

The Echo Eddie Sakes for California-bred 3-year-olds closes out the 10 race program and features several very promising and improving sprinters. #4 Pulpit’s Express won over a distance of ground last time out but might be better sprinting; his number two races back when breaking his maiden was quite strong and he continues to impress in the morning for Mitchell. #10 A Toast to You won his debut last summer at Hollywood Park and then disappeared; he returns for new trainer Peter Miller and his recent works indicate fitness. The speedy son of Tribal Rule may be the one to beat. #13 The Black was highly impressive winning twice vs. lesser foes with rapidly improving numbers and despite his extreme outside post warrants a very close look as the best of the closing types.