Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (April 5, 2012)

Santa Anita Derby week begins with a $40,000 claiming sprint that has only four starters following the scratch this morning of #5 Shrug. Late-running sprinter #2 Scofield Barracks shouldn’t be too far back early and we’re thinking this class dropper will be able to wear down “lone f” #1 Honour Family in the final furlong. Obviously, there are better opportunities later on in the program.

The second race is a weak bottom rung maiden claiming that looks made to order for #5 Warren’s Jazz Walk, but he’s 4/5 on the morning line so there’s nothing to work with here, either.

The Pick-6 begins with the third race, a competitive downhill turf sprint for entry level 3-year-old fillies. The morning line favorite, #2 Starry Skies, has been scratched, so we’ll concentrate on #1 Hidinginplainsight and #7 Belle Passe in our rolling exotics. The former graduated in gate-to-wire style over this course last month with a strong number and could be the controlling speed right back, while the latter came from nowhere with the help of the race-shape to win her U.S. debut impressively a couple of months back and looks like the most dangerous of the closing types.

#7 Splendid Fortune is the 8/5 morning line choice in the fourth race – a maiden sprint for 3-year-old fillies – and it will take something pretty good to beat her. The daughter of Giant’s Causeway didn’t get the best of runs from the rail when second with a solid figure in her debut and Baffert’s stats with second time starters indicate improvement is very likely. The best of the newcomers would appear to be #5 Prospero, a Mitchell-trained daughter of Yes It’s True with a series of sharp drills to her credit according to private clocker Andy Harrington.

State bred maiden fillies and mares sprint down the hill in the fifth race, and we’re expecting the likely short priced favorite #8 Unbridled Ambition to move up a ton following a runner-up effort under similar conditions last month. The Gaines-trained daughter of Broken Vow probably won’t show her best until she stretches out, but she’s more than good enough to handle this modest band. She’ll be odds-on rolling exotic single on many tickets.

The sixth race is a highly competitive second level allowance sprint for fillies and mares. You may feel the need to spread, as there are at least three in here capable of winning. #2 Miss Radiance is back sprinting – she’s effective at any distance - and the Puype-trained filly should be doing her best work in the final furlong with the switch to Gomez. #6 Mildly Offensive returns for Gaines (strong with comebackers) and has been very impressive in the morning, appearing fit and ready. Bejarano came out to work her in a sharp five furlong move March 22 (:59 1/5). #8 Chukchi Sunrise has won three of her last four over the all weather surface at Golden Gate Fields and has earned numbers that make her a strong fit on this circuit. She’ll be a pace factor outside throughout and offers considerable value at anything close to her morning line odds of 5-1.

The featured seventh race is a nine furlong grassy affair for first level allowance fillies and mares. The inclination is to spread the race, but we’re going to take a stand and single #6 Caelis. She has an improving pattern for Miller, gets an extra furlong to work with today, switches to Gomez, and has continued to impress in the morning. There should be enough early pace to compliment her late-running style.

The finale is a bottom rung claiming miler full of question marks. #5 Man Chester Man finished third in a similar event last month and won’t have to improve much at all to beat this group; with nine career victories to his credit he at least knows where the wire is. #6 Hammurabi drops for Sadler following an uninspiring recent comeback race that he had a right to need; he switches to Rosario and should be on or near the lead throughout. #7 Wild Revenge is a huge class dropper from Canani’s barn; we have no idea what kind of shape he’s in considering he beat $35,000 claimers two races back.