Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Thur., March 7, 2013)

The Thursday program begins with what appears to be an early daily double that could up rather chalky. Kingsbury drops from a very strong straight maiden race to a rather weak maiden claimer and is listed as the 6/5 morning line favorite. He seems to lack any early speed and he’ll have to overcome the rail but he almost rates top billing by default. In a race that somebody has to win, he has credentials, but not enough to warrant a play at a short price. Let’s pass the race and look for better opportunities.

The second is another race that offers very little in the way of value. Warren’s Goldie and Fiesta Express are the two morning line choices and both should run well in this bottom rung affair. The former lands the rail and should enjoy a good ground-saving trip while facing the softest field in his career; the latter is a Bay Area invader with a prior win over this track and numbers that make him a strong factor. One or the other probably will win but this is another race that may be best left alone.

The third race kicks off the Pick-6. Bilbao ran well over this course in her comeback in January and has trained well since. She probably has a forward move in her and Espinoza figures to have her within range throughout. We’ll put her on top but also use So She Dances, just one-for-16 in her career but a solid fit in this league while retaining Bejarano. She just finished third in the same race Bilbao exits.

The fourth race is a mess and may require a spread. We’ll try to survive using just two but nothing would surprise us. Cherry On the Cake is a first-off-the-Hollendorfer-claim and may have some improvement in her. The switch to Bejarano certainly is a big plus. Scat Patty flashed big speed but stopped badly in her debut against straight maidens and drops to the bottom today. At this abbreviated sprint distance she could stick it out.

Farayya weakened late in her debut but should be fitter and stronger for today’s fifth race and deserves a huge look from her favorable rail post. Talamo rides her back and the Baltas-trained filly has worked nicely since her initial outing. Belonging has hit the board in her last pair and certainly figures in the battle again. Gomez will have her rolling late. Trojenna is improving with racing for Mandella, switches to Leparoux, and should be the best of the closers. All three should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll give a slight edge to Trojenna.

In the sixth race, Church Avenue drops for the money run, switches to Bejarano, and exits a strong race. In this league she should be able to control the race from start to finish, but at 9/5 on the morning line she doesn’t offer a whole lot of value. She does appear to be a logical rolling exotic single.

I’m Not Gray seems to have a touch of quality and clearly was an outstanding $30,000 claim by Ellis. Stretching out for the first time and trying turf in the featured seventh race, the son of Belgravia can win again if he projects his one-turn form over a route of ground. He continues to look good in the morning and should fold into a nice pace stalking position. Square Dancer is a tad slow on numbers but always tries hard and is another likely to move forward. He switches to Bejarano and is a “must use” in rolling exotic play. We’ll use both while having extra tickets in the win pool on I’m Not Gray.

In the finale, Just Because drops from $40,000 down to $20,000 in his first start since being claimed by Sadler and that’s certainly not a healthy sign. However, in this bottom rung maiden claimer and with a pretty decent half mile work since raced, he’s worth tossing in. Joe Hardoon is another who is dropping and dangerous and has numbers that will beat this field. He’s our top pick. Run Charlie Run has hit the board in four of nine starts and against a field such as this he should clunk up a get another minor award, at least.