Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sat., April 14, 2012)

As this is penned there’s a question as to whether there will be turf racing on Saturday. We’ll proceed under the assumption that the races will remain on grass.

#5 Fist Pump, a class dropper from Northern California, fits in this league on speed figures and we like him on either turf or dirt in today’s opener. He’s a good late-running sprinter and has the proper style for this extended sprint trip.

#1 Tough’n Dangerous ran okay in his debut – he wound up a fading third after a slow start in a pretty good race for the level – and seems very likely to improve for Koriner in today’s second race, a maiden claiming sprint for bottom rung $20,000 older runners. Talamo rides him back and should have this gelding on or near the lead throughout. At even money on the morning line, though, he offers little value.

The third race is a restricted (non-winners of two) $12,500 claimer; we’ll go two-deep in our rolling exotics. #2 Private Bounty exits a series of tougher starter allowance events and should improve considerably at this level. He likes to settle and make a run and at this extended sprint distance the son of Grand Reward should be dangerous late. #6 Take No Prisoners lands the cozy outside post and the Baffert-trained gelding takes a sharp drop in class while shortening from a route to a sprint. These are his friends and conditions seem ideal.

The fourth race – another six runner affair – appears to have two major contenders in #1 Blake and #3 Go to the Pulpit. The former stretches out for the first time while landing the rail, so you’d have to expect that he’ll be trying to wire this field. Based on numbers he’s a threat to do just that. #3 Go to the Pulpit returns to the main track and has a big look off either one of his good dirt performances earlier this meeting. Flores will have him doing his best work from off the pace.

Maidens going long meet in today’s fifth race and the two we’ll be using are #3 Seal the Deal and #6 Eaton Hall. A first time Lasix user, Seal the Deal was third in the same race that Eaton Hall was second – a strong affair won by Holy Candy, who runs in today’s Blue Grass Stakes – and either one can win with only a modest amount of improvement. Eaton Hall looks like the controlling speed and if not pressured early may roll all the way to the wire.

The sixth race is a downhill turf sprint – we’ll have to wait and see if the race remains on the lawn – and probably is one requiring a spread. #1 Chickie Charms, a beaten choice in his last three but with speed figures that can win, has been freshened since January and has trained well since, so improvement is possible. #3 Canuletmedowneasy, a strong runner-up in his last pair, should be a pace factor throughout and is a “must use” in exotic play. #6 You Know I Know has trained well of late and likely has plenty of improving to do for Sadler after finishing in the money in his first two starts. #11 Fable Haven, a close fourth in his debut, should move forward for Belvoir and has been impressive in recent morning workouts.

#2 Pink Lollipops was pulled up and vanned off when 4/5 in an allowance race in mid-February; she’s trained like her old self of late and can be expected to return to her best form in today’s seventh race. On speed figures she’s a complete standout and likely will be a very short-priced single on many rolling exotic tickets.

Today’s featured eighth race is the Las Cienegas Handicap, a sprint down the hill for fillies and mares, and looks like a match race between course specialist #1 Unzip Me and the streaking #5 Mizdirection. Fittingly, both carry the same weight (122 lbs.) so let the best filly win. We’ll give Mizdirection a slight edge but we’re splitting hairs.

The nightcap is a maiden claiming five furlong sprint and looks to have two prime contenders. #4 Glorious Memories is a first timer from the Puype barn (solid with debut runners) and has worked well enough to be a threat in a weak field. #5 Courageousandbold showed a bit of ability when third in his debut during the Autumn Santa Anita meeting and has worked well enough to be fit and ready his comeback. We expect Pedroza to have him on the lead in this five furlong dash.