Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Mon., Feb. 18, 2013)

The President’s Day program offers a strong 10-race card with plenty of rolling exotic opportunities.

In the opener, Saturday Nite Ride exits a powerful maiden race at Hollywood Park in November and returns for Baffert with a steady string of drills. She has further improvement in her and should be a threat in a moderate maiden affair for older fillies and mares. Stablemate Elusive Jackpot stretches out for the first time and should be the controlling speed. If she switches off early she should be able to carry her speed this far. Baffert appears to have this race surrounded and either one can win; we’ll give Elusive Jackpot a very slight edge.

Top Kisser, second in both of her starts and with improving numbers, looks ready to graduate in the second race. The Hollendorfer-trained filly was almost three clear of the rest last time out and simply should out class this field as a short priced rolling exotic single.

Quindici Man drops to his lowest level ever in the third race and returns to the main track while retaining Gryder. In this league he looks quite capable of regaining some of his past form. Big Wags is our top pick and one to beat. Although moving up two levels in class, the Spawr-trained gelding is razor sharp while seeking his third straight win, and a repeat of his last race should be more than good enough to extend the streak to three. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and then press with Big Wags on top.

In the fourth race, So Tempted drops to a realistic spot and the Sherman-trained mare should regain her good form in this league. Pedroza knows her well and will have the veteran mare within striking range throughout. Woebegon missed as the favorite down the hill recently but drops a notch today while returning to the main track and should be hard to beat. The Canani-trained filly retains Gomez and has won over this main track in the past. We’ll double the race in rolling exotic play while preferring Woebegon on top.

Cayambe loves this turf course, just won a similar downhill affair last month and looks well spotted for a repeat in the fifth race. The Spawr-trained gelding can be tough on the pace or from a stalking position. We’ll put him on top but also include in our rolling exotics Red Defense, always a threat from off the pace and a decent third behind Cayambe when they faced each other Jan. 21.

In the sixth race, Samurai Jess has the benefit of a solid debut; the O’Neill-trained filly was more than four clear of the rest when runner-up in a similar affair last month. In a field in which the newcomers don’t appear to be much, this daughter of First Samurai looks to have fairly easy pickings. Let’s make her a straight play and rolling exotic single.

Raetodandty makes his third start off a layoff in the seventh race and should be set for his best. The Powell-trained gelding is realistically spotted – one rung below his claim level – and retains Gomez. He should be on or near the lead throughout. Dixieland Blues deserves top billing. He, too, is making his third start off a layoff and the Jones-trained gelding has proven winning form down the hill. Drawn comfortably outside, he should inherit a soft pace prompting position before going on with it at the head of the lane.

In the eighth race, Rock U Up has dangerous speed and room for improvement. She’s a big number on the morning line at 12-1 so we’ll toss in her. Bull Rush is our top pick. The Glatt-trained filly retains Talamo and should settle behind the leaders before making her run. This turn back in trip should have her ready to win.

Mizdirection may be at her best sprinting but a mile is well within her range and we’re expecting the Puype-trained mare to continue her winning form in today’s ninth race feature. Smith might opt to put her on the lead if no other speed materializes. A Jealous Woman always gives her best, loves this course and is worth including on a few tickets in your rolling exotics. But Mizdirection deserves her even money morning line status.

Wild Excess has little to beat in the finale, a maiden claiming sprint. She’s making her third career start – and her first with blinkers on – and the Hollendorfer-trained filly could be quick enough to dominate from start to finish. We’ll prefer her on top but also use Chila Ali, a class dropper switching to the main track and shortening up to a sprint. She trains like she can run some and should be a fit in this league.