Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Thur., March 14, 2013

There’s not much depth to the Thursday opener. Wild Tony ran well when second (beaten a head) in a similar spot two races back and a repeat of that effort today puts him in the thick of things again. He should be on or near the lead throughout. In an empty field, we’ll make him a straight play and rolling exotic single.

In the second race, Talk the Walk adds blinkers for the first time and displayed enough ability in his race two back to act with these. Talamo stays aboard. Door’s Open is a first timer from the Cerin barn and has shown enough in the morning to warrant a look in a below par race for the level. These are the two we’ll use; go deeper if you can afford to. We’ll a very slight edge to the fresh face, Door’s Open.

Mia Isabel has much in her favor in the third race and we’ll use her as a rolling exotic single and straight play. She’s reunited with Bejarano, who won on her two races back, she lands the favorable rail, she’s back on turf and she’s back to her winning level. The O’Neill-trained filly should draft into an ideal second flight, ground-saving position and then quicken when it counts.

Iconic Spirit probably is better than her last race indicates over a wet fast track she may not have cared for; a repeat of her race before last puts her right there in today’s fourth race and Gomez will have her rolling late. Black Witch didn’t fire at all when even money vs. similar in late January for Baffert but she switches to Bejarano and is likely to improve considerably. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and then press a bit with Black Witch on top.

In the fifth race, Swerve didn’t get the best of runs in her U.S. debut vs. tougher last month and never was a factor but at this level, and with a race under her belt, the Callaghan-trained filly must be taken seriously. She should get plenty of cover from her favorable rail post. Van Brit may have lost her sharpness but it’s also possible that she’ll snap back to life today in her first start for Belvoir (very strong with first-after claims). She’s always loved this turf course and switches to Stevens, who will give her the patient ride she needs. We’ll double the race in our rolling exotics while slightly preferring Van Brit on top.

Luckaruk has been chasing tougher but drops to a realistic level in today’s sixth race and should regain his best form for West. The rail is of some concern but Leparoux will have him doing his best work late. Courtside has plenty of back class and showed a return to good form in his last pair with two solid runner-up efforts. He’s the quickest of the quick and will take them as far as he can. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and then have a few extra tickets keying Courtside.

The seventh race is a tough, competitive downhill turf sprint and it will take a pretty good filly to win it. There is No Limit seeks her fourth straight score and her speed figures continue to rise. Krigger will produce her late and with good racing luck she should be right there. Best Present Ever lost a toughie in a similar spot last month and retains Bejarano. She won’t have to improve much to win. Schiaparelli was in a bit too steep in the Wishing Well Stakes last time out but she’s properly spotted today while adding blinkers for the first time. We’re expecting Talamo to have her along in time and will press with this Puype-trained filly in the straight pool as well as the rolling exotics.

The nightcap is a stronger than par bottom rung maiden claimer. Deception Free, second in his last pair while earning rising numbers, will be tough if his improvement continues. Krigger stays aboard for Eurton. Unmarked Bills may have been best when beaten after a rough start in a similar affair last month for Mandella. He is reunited with Talamo and deserves top billing. Shot of Chaya is a first timer finally getting to the races at age 4. He’s a Bertrando gelding with good works and deserves inclusion in the exotics.