Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Thur., April 12, 2012)

We’re down to the final two weeks of the 2011-12 Santa Anita season with a Thursday program that has a bit of a “chalky” look to it. #2 Royal Meridian should get the ball rolling in the opener – he’s 6/5 on the morning line – following a sharp third place effort in his debut earlier this season. The Canani-trained gelding has worked well since that race so he should move forward. #1 Octane continues to impress in the morning and is another who likely will improve with a race under his belt. These two should pretty much have it to themselves.

The second race finds #4 Valkyrie Missile listed at even money, but this is one favorite we’ll try to beat. #5 Position A (2-1) should enjoy a lovely pace prompting trip outside and though he’s moving up a notch in class the veteran gelding exits a pair of tough races and should have every chance to pounce when he’s ready.

The third race ushers in the pick-6 sequence and we’ll go three deep and hope that’s sufficient. #1 Huntington Harbour is a route-to-sprint play for Spawr and has every right to move forward in her second start off a layoff. She should be doing her best work late. #6 Platinum Mine is another late-running sprinter with winning connections (Mullins/E. Flores) and has back numbers that could beat this field. #7 Three Cuties has been chasing tougher and should improve in this league. Her race before last would be more than good enough to win this event.

Moderate sophomore claiming fillies sprint six furlongs in the fourth race; this is another event crying out for a spread. #1 Warren’s Morgan is racing in sharp form with steadily improving numbers and could be the one to beat despite the rail post. She switches to Talamo and we’re expecting her to be in the first flight throughout. #3 I Sense Your Luck moves up two notches following a game score last month and on numbers she’ll be a threat right back. #5 Backwoods Belle drops a level for Sadler, switches to Pedroza, and could be the quickest of the quick.

#7 Late Night Sky looks like a logical rolling exotic single in the fifth race, a high priced maiden claiming miler on turf. The Walsh-trained gelding exits a much tougher straight maiden affair and should be the controlling speed, though he probably doesn’t need the lead to win at this level. However, he’s 8/5 on the morning line and therefore offers little value in the straight pool.

#6 Big Tsimmis has much in her favor in the sixth race, an abbreviated sprint for modest claiming fillies and mares. She just won a restricted $25,000 event in fairly convincing fashion; anything close to that effort today and she’ll verify the short price that she seems likely to leave at.

#2 Achilles was an impressive first out winner for Drysdale last month and he’ll be a strong favorite to come right back and beat entry level types in seventh race, a mile event on grass. We like him, of course, but we’re going to double the race using #5 Brigand, who continues to look especially sharp in the morning for Baffert and could easily make the running without undue pressure. If so, he could be very hard to catch.

The finale is a maiden claiming five furlong sprint. Best advice is to use as many as you can afford to. #5 Hidden Question has shown enough in the morning to warrant inclusion in rolling exotic play, as has #6 Run for Miles, a speedy gelding shortening up for good trainer Peter Miller, and #7 Alworth, a class dropper with plenty of zip and the likely choice at 9/5 on the morning line.