Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Fri., Jan. 4, 2013)

This is a tough, challenging card with several races appearing wide open.

In the opener, Miner’s Daughter is the best of the proven element, having finished in the money in her last pair with rapidly improving speed figures. Second in a fast, highly-rated affair across town last month, the Baffert-trained mare should be a short price to graduate. We’ll also use the hot first timer, Regime, working smartly for Gaines and landing Bejarano.

The second half of early daily double is a modest low level claimer restricted to 4-year-olds. We’ll go three deep and hope that’s enough. Priddis Wildcat deserves a very slight edge off his sharp runner-up try over this track two races back but must overcome the rail. Kenichi drops to a realistic level, switches to Baze and should be part of the pace throughout. Beau Royale beat a similar field in sharp style two runs back at Hollywood Park but has been something less than effective in a pair of prior starts over this strip. The barn doesn’t win many but this gelding seems like a “must use” in a soft affair.

We’re going to take a stand and single the New York shipper, Lemon Drop Dream, outside post and all in the third race, a maiden affair on grass. Freshened since August, the Asmusssen-trained colt showed enough in a pair of tries back east to beat a field such as this. Nakatani will try to get over and press the pace and if he can avoid losing ground this lightly-raced sophomore should be able to earn his diploma.

In the fourth race, Humming Beethoven had a prep sprinting on turf and today should be set to stretch out and win from her good rail post. The Puype-trained daughter of Mr. Greeley continues to look good in the morning and Bejarano rides her back. She’s 9/2 on the morning line and we’d take that right now. Black Witch also is worth using in your exotics. A closing second in her debut sprinting on the all weather surface, she stretches out today for Baffert and figures to improve considerably, as most second time starters from this stable do.

The fifth race is a weak bottom rung maiden claimer and has little in it to trust. The three we’ll use in our rolling exotics might not be enough. Career Student drops in for a tag for the first time and adds the hood, so she should improve a ton for Headley. Ruled by Kisses, a solid runner-up in her debut for Gaines, is another likely to move forward while retaining Gryder. Spit Ball is an 11 race maiden but he’s training well for his new connections and has run well over this track in the past. He should be a threat from off the pace. We’ll give Ruled by Kisses a very slight nod without any great conviction.

The sixth race is inscrutable; we’ll use three and you can use more if you can afford do. Church Avenue loves to win races but never has had any luck at Santa Anita. She’s sharp for Ellis and if she can run back to her nice Hollywood Park score from late November she can win again. Promiscuoussuances beat a similar field on turf across town; today will be her first start ever on conventional dirt. Let’s hope she likes it. Miss Reditore has a chance to be a late threat in a field with plenty of suspect speed, she’s run well over this track in the past and has a closing style that could be dangerous.

The featured seventh race is another tough affair, a grass grab bag that has plenty of contenders. Shadow Runner moves up a notch after a nice score at Hollywood Park; in his present form he rates a big look right back A Toast to You hits hard in this league, retains Baze, and figures in the battle once again. You Know I Know likes to lag and cut loose late and that’s the type of horse Gomez excels with. Time Lord may be the controlling speed and always is dangerous if he can shake loose early without undue pressure.

The finale is yet another very tough race. Master Chef is in sharp form for Hollendorfer and loves this main track. He likes to stalk and pounce and should draft into a nice second flight position. We’ll give him a very slight edge. Derby Gold, freshened and exiting a very strong state bred stakes during the Autumn meeting, retains Garcia, loves this track and may be the speed of the speed. My Slew returns to Santa Anita where he’s run quite well in the past and after a brief freshening and a good couple of recent drills the Miller-trained gelding likely will snap back to top form.