Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Thu., Oct. 11, 2012

The early part of this Thursday program has the potential to be fairly chalky but there are some decent middle priced chances in the Pick-6 and in the late Pick-4.

In the opener, #4 Coluda moves up a notch following a Mitchell claim (superb 31% with a flat bet profit with first-off-claim plays). The Pure Prize gelding has won over this track in the past and his front-running style is complimented by the track profile (very kind toward speed so far this meeting). We’ll make him a rolling exotic single, though at 8/5 on the morning line he offers little in the way of value.

#2 Caminetto earned a powerful speed figure when breaking his maiden at Del Mar in late August and another forward move in today’s second race is likely. The only concern is that Congregationalist, who finished second in that race, flopped as the favorite in his next start this past weekend. Still, this Baffert-trained colt looks very tough to beat in a field lacking in effective closers. But at 7/5 on the morning line, there’s little to value to be had.

The third race is a maiden claimer at a flat mile that appears to have two main contenders. #1 Londinium, with three sprints behind him, stretches out for the first time while landing the good rail and seems primed for his best race. He’s a fit on numbers and has a steady, grinding style that projects well around two turns. Maldonado stays aboard for Miller. #7 R S Watson switches to Bejarano while dropping into a claimer for the first time and has the pedigree to handle the added ground. Overmatched in the Gold Rush Futurity in Colorado in August, he’s back to reality today and shows a bullet six furlong workout at Hollywood Park last week. Let’s use both in our rolling exotics; perhaps a slight edge should go to R S Watson.

The fourth race is a restricted (nw-2) $12,500 claiming miler that has little in it, so little in fact that 1-for-18 #2 Sidepocket Kid actually has a pretty good look. Noticeably lacking in tactical speed but with a one-paced, late-running style, the Warren-trained gelding at least usually pays his ways with minor awards. P. Val stays aboard and in a below par field we’ll toss him in. #5 Just Tripping drops to his lowest level ever while retaining Talamo and seems strictly the one to beat. He’s another who does his best work from off the pace and could be hindered over a track kind to the speed-types, but he might be able to overcome that bias with his best effort. #7 Pork Chop is quite intriguing. A sharp maiden score at Pomona was followed by a rather nice third place performance here opening day in a solid sprint, and while his sole route race didn’t amount to much (poorly drawn that day), we’re thinking a mile at this level should be within his range. Knight is superb statistically with stretch-out plays. Let’s use all three in our rolling exotics and then have a few extra tickets with Pork Chop on top.

The fifth race is a better than par race for state bred older maidens sprinting down the hill; we’ll go three deep and hope that’s enough. #1 In a Wine Tizzy was a good runner-up in his debut earlier this meeting and today tries turf while retaining Gomez. He has good gate speed and it wouldn’t surprise us to see him on the lead. With any kind of forward move today he’ll be right there and at 6-1 on the morning line there’s plenty of value here. #3 Ashley’s Bambino, away since January, returns for Eurton (modest stats with layoff runners) and sports a slow-and-easy work tab. However, he does retain Bejarano and he did run quite well over this course in his debut, so you have to use him., #5 Big Bane Theory shortens to a sprint after a very promising try in his debut over a route of ground at Del Mar. Gaines is terrific with second time starters and Talamo stays aboard. Three steady works since raced should have him right on edge. We’ll give a slight nod to Big Bane Theory on top but all three have the credentials to win a race like this.

Fillies and mares running for $10,000 claiming meet at a mile in the sixth race, a fairly competitive affair for the level. #1 Musical Grace got really good at Pomona with a pair of gate-to-wire scores and today will try to continue her sharp form over the big track. She’s zero-for-12 lifetime at Santa Anita – not exactly inspiring – but she lands the good rail and is clearly the controlling speed. #3 Bonita Star has burned money in three of her last five starts so she may be a hard one to trust, but she drops to her lowest level ever and switches to Talamo, so she should be a late factor. #6 Living Our Dream, first of second in 10 of 22 career starts, comes off a solid effort at Pomona and with excellent form over the Santa Anita main track may be the one to beat. The Truman-trained veteran mare switches to Garcia and likely will draft into a lovely, pace stalking position. All three should be used in your rolling exotics; we’ll slightly prefer Living Our Dream on top.

Today’s seventh race feature is another contentious race that requires a spread. #5 Highly Rated wants the front end and probably should get it; she shortens to a mile while retaining Talamo and is a solid fit on numbers. #6 Ricspretentiousgal is winless in four career starts on turf but she finished second in all four of those attempts so she clearly can handle the surface. She likes to stalk and pounce and because she’s drawn outside Highly Rated she should have the opportunity to fold over and use that one as a prompter. #11 Vionnet has the most upside in the field but she’s drawn outside and Gomez will have to find a slot to tuck her in early on. A strong runner-up in the China Doll Stakes in her first try around two turns last March, she returns today for Puype with a string of strong drills that should have her fit and ready. Gomez has won with her in the past and takes the mount. Preference goes to Vionnet but all three are worth including in your rolling exotics.

The finale is a restricted $25,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares and looks a bit tricky so we’ll double the race and hope for the best. #3 Lady Pecan is a big class dropper in the Baffert barn; she’s only raced once for a tag and the result was an eight length maiden claiming win a year ago August at Woodbine. She picked a tough spot for her first race in nine months when unplaced two-turning at Del Mar in August and seems very likely to improve today while shortening up to what should be her preferred trip. However, you don’t see too many Grade-1 placed fillies run for $25,000, so we’re thinking she has some issues. #10 Lanida missed by a neck at this level at Del Mar in August and will have clear sailing from her comfortable outside post. She doesn’t have a lot of gate quickness so Talamo likely will settle into a stalking, second flight position and have every chance from there.