Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Thu., Jan. 24, 2013)

Another week begins with fairly challenging eight-race Thursday program that offers plenty of rolling exotic opportunities.

Sallyana won a stakes in her debut in Phoenix and in today’s opener surfaces for a high priced tag. She’s a fit on numbers and her recent works indicate she has enough talent to act on this circuit in this league. Spooky Lady returns to her claim after a brief freshening and appears strictly the one to beat for Sadler. She has the proper style for this extended sprint trip and retains Garcia. Let’s use both in our rolling exotics while slightly preferring Sallyana on top.

The second race is a hot seven furlong dash for older maidens and the main contenders exit the same race, a highly-rated affair Dec. 29. Wild Media is improving with racing and looks very tough despite the rail. Talamo stays aboard for Headley and should have this gelding on or near the lead throughout. Scarly Charly finished very nicely to be a solid third just behind Wild Media and may have a bit more room for improvement while making just his second start and switching to Stevens. Incline Village a better-than-looked sixth in that race, closed a gap after a slow start and seems highly likely to improve a bunch for Koriner. He has been very impressive in the morning since that debut and retains Gomez, so beware. All three should be included in your rolling exotics; a slight edge may go to Scarly Charly.

Muchos Besos drops two levels in class but remains above his claim level while switching to Gomez in the third raced. He’s not real quick from the gate so the rail may be an issue, but he’s a fit on numbers and with clear sailing late could be a strong factor from off the pace. Omar exits the same race as ‘Besos and is another who should go much better at this level. Bisono will have him within range throughout. Let’s go with Muchos Besos on top but double the race in rolling exotic play.

Valdirone ran well in a pair of state bred maiden sprints across town and should continue to improve with experience for Koriner in the fourth race. Talamo stays aboard and figures to have this Bertrando gelding on or near the lead throughout. Public Interest has done enough in the morning for Shirreffs to warrant a strong look in this moderate California-bred turf sprint. Bred for speed (Tribal Rule) and apparently blessed with plenty of it, the late-developer gets Nakatani and represents strong stranger dangerous. Valdirone may deserve a slight nod due to his experience but we’re going to double the race.

Lady Katfish doesn’t have a whole lot to beat in the fifth race, a maiden claimer for sophomore fillies, and although she’s had six chances she has improving numbers and looks ready to win. A solid third with a career top figure over this track on New Year’s Eve, she has trained nicely since for Dollase and retains Bejarano. Tribal Spy removes blinkers, lands an outside post and drops again in class for Sadler while continuing to look like she has some ability in the morning. Let’s give her one more chance and include her in our rolling exotics.

Cloud Hopper drops out of a $62,5000 affair into a restricted (nw-2) claimer in today’s sixth race so this is a considerable easier bunch than he faced earlier this month over this course. Even finishing seventh in that race he earned a career top speed figure and today lands the good rail. Gryder should have him within striking range in the second flight, waiting to pounce. Rightful Image also is tackling easier – he’s dropping from an off-the-turf starter $40,000 affair – and is another likely to flash improvement in this league. He ran well for Talamo two races back and should have further improvement in him while making only his seventh lifetime start at age six. Our Boy Benjamin is another trying softer company and has enough of a late kick to make him dangerous in an open affair. Toss him in somewhere. Of the three, we’ll give Rightful Image a very slight edge in a race that may require an even deeper spread.

Gladding makes his first start since being claimed by Mitchell in the featured seventh race and exits a strong, highly-rated sprint. He stretches out to a more comfortable trip while being brought back at the same level and looks very tough as the likely controlling speed. Let’s make him a strong straight play and rolling exotic single.

In the finale, Marv hits hard in this league and should be primed for another solid effort. The Mullins-trained gelding is overdue for a win and really won’t have to improve much at all to graduate. Arch Your Back is a 4-year-old first time starter in a very soft spot and has trained well enough to be a strong threat right out of the box. Most of Cerin’s maidens run better than they work and this son of Decarchy probably will, too. Beware. Sly Fox is a 10-race maiden but his recent speed figures indicate he should at least get a piece of it. Of the three we’ll go with the fresh face Arch Your Back on top and press a bit both in the exotics and in the win pool.