Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sun., Sept. 30, 2012)

Today’s opener is a low level claimer and doesn’t offer much value. Mack’s Gold Bullet has won over this track in the past and is fresh from a victory over a restricted $12,500 field at Fairplex Park. He’ll be part of the pace and in a race we really don’t want to get too involved in, he seems as good as any.

State bred maiden fillies and mares sprint down the hill in the second race in what appears to be a typical grass grab bag. Attigirl Meadow continued her improving pattern at Del Mar when narrowly missing with a strong late kick in her last start; today she shortens up and should be just as effective as a late-running sprinter. Puff Pastry ran well sprinting on turf at Hollywood Park in July and is another who should enjoy this downhill course. Spring Bloom, away since January, returns for Shirreffs with a steady if not spectacular series of drills and comes from a barn that does well with layoff runners. She’s shown enough ability to act with these and could very well be a better type this time around. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics with maybe an extra ticket or two on Spring Bloom.

The third race is a poor maiden claiming router; anything goes with this bunch. Surely Swift drops to his lowest level ever and a repeat of either one of his last two races make him a solid contender. Most recently he finished fourth at Del Mar and lost more lengths in trouble than he was beaten by. Coranto, second off the claim for Hendricks, ran well at this level two runs back and had a nightmarish journey vs. tougher in his last outing at Del Mar. Toomanylucky’s tries maiden claimers for the first time for Gaines while switching to Bejarano. He continues to train like he’s better than just a bottom rung maiden claimer and will be our preference in the race.

The fourth race is a highly competitive starter’s allowance sprint for juveniles; we’ll try to get by using just two. Luz Atticus won at first asking for Machowsky and earned an okay figure in the process. He’s got a right to do better and should be a pace factor throughout. Old Man Lake has rising speed figures and a strong recent runner-up effort vs. similar at Del Mar last month for Mullins. He seems like the one to beat on pure form.

The fifth race is another wide open downhill slalom event that has several legitimate contenders. The best we can do is cut it down to four. Smokey Lonesome seeks his third straight for high percentage trainer Ellis and has won over this course in the past. Red Defense, a $40,000 Becerra claim-back at Del Mar, switches to Bejarano, has a prior win over this turf course and is more than good enough to beat this field with one of his better efforts. Grumpy Small Mouth, first or second in six of nine career starts and seeking his fourth straight win, should be a pace presser throughout and must be respected, though he’s a little light in the speed figure department. Circa’sgoldengear, first or second in four of five starts over the Santa Anita lawn, won a hot turf sprint at Del Mar with a big figure last month and should fold over into a nice pace stalking position from his extreme outside draw. A very slight edge goes to Circa’sgoldengear but we’ll be happy to survive in our rolling exotics with any one of the four.

Older maiden fillies and mares sprint six furlongs in the sixth race, the first leg of the late Pick-4. Golden Production, in the money in all three starts and with speed figures that should be good enough to beat this field, gets top billing. The Ellis-trained filly retains Talamo and should fold into an ideal second flight pace stalking position. Kind of Naughty is a Bay Area invader with competitive numbers and could be dangerous in her first start on dirt. Her recent workouts seem good enough, and she might be a better type this time around.

Let’s take a stand and see if we can get My Summer Slew home in the seventh race as a rolling exotic single. Both of his Del Mar races were good, he retains Bejarano, and has won over this course in the past. Yes, he’s due, and today with good racing luck the veteran gelding can be along in time against a field that is well within his reach.

Distracting blew away a representative maiden field at first asking in June but never appeared at Del Mar (she trained there until mid-August and then was sent back to Hollywood Park). Now she’s at Santa Anita and a bullet five furlong workout a couple of weeks ago indicates she’s fit and ready to resume her career in today’s eighth race. The Baffert-trained daughter of Distorted Humor retains Bejarano and should be a short price to improve her record to two-for-two.

The high class Todd Pletcher shipper Turbo Compressor has much going for him in the John Henry Turf Championship, not the least of which is a pace scenario that should be extremely favorable for this committed front runner. Though he disappointed badly in his most recent outing at Saratoga, we’re expecting the son of Halo’s Image to bounce back to top form today. There should be nobody in here to bother him early and over this glib turf course he could easily dominate from start to finish as a logical rolling exotic single.

Maiden claimers meet in the nightcap at six and one-half furlongs and a case could be made for several of these. Where’s Henry ran quite well in his only other appearance in a maiden claimer and drops to his lowest level ever in his first start since last December. Currahee, away since May and surfacing for a tag for the first time, looks dangerous for Machowsky, who has excellent stats with layoff runners. Street Consensus came from way out of it to gain third (though beaten 11 lengths) while showing some late foot for Gaines and seems likely to improve today with that effort behind him and the extra furlong of today’s affair. He’s being raised from $20,000 to $40,000 in a sign of confidence, and is worth a look at 15-1 on the morning line.