Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Thur., April 4, 2013)

Santa Anita Derby week begins with a nice Pick-6 carryover and a better-than-par maiden route affair. Chief Havoc got burned up in a speed duel in his U.S. debut and faded in a fast, highly-rated race. He seems sure to benefit from that effort and with a patient ride from Gomez, figures to improve a ton today. Roman Tizzy flashed some ability in his debut sprinting last month and is another likely to step forward today. Talamo rides him back and probably will have him on or near the lead. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and then press a bit with Chief Havoc on top.

In the second race, Bas removes blinkers for his comeback and surfaces in a maiden claimer for O’Neill. He has back numbers that make him a fit and the works are okay. Firendesire isn’t fast on numbers but he’s hit the board in three of five career starts and seems like a logical exacta partner with Bas. We’ll double the race for rolling exotic purposes and then press with Bas on top.

Hidethegoodstuff looked good graduating last time out and likely will continue her improving pattern in today’s third race. Bejarano should have her in an ideal pace prompting position. My Cinsation looks like the controlling speed and won over this course in her debut earlier this meeting. She didn’t run badly in an off-the-turfer last month and is back on her favorite surface today. Both should be used in rolling exotic play; we’ll prefer My Cinsation on top.

The fourth race is a fairly competitive mid-grade claimer and probably requires a spread. We’ll go three deep. Joe Carl has been changing barns after every start lately and was re-claimed by Hess last time out, a positive sign. He’s an old pro who always gives his best and Gomez knows him well. He’s our top pick. Guidopanzini removes blinkers for new trainer O’Neill and drops to a realistic spot while stretching out again. He could be dangerous on the front end. Nextdoorneighbor returns from Phoenix and gets Bejarano. His best puts him in the battle, so we’ll toss him in.

Midnight Crooner takes a nosedive in class in the fifth race and must have sprung a leak. If he has one more left in him, the former stakes winner in Baffert’s barn can beat this field, but that’s a big if. We’ll put him on top but this looks like a race that might be best left alone.

The sixth race, a bottom rung maiden claimer, doesn’t offer much in the way of value. You may want to consider passing this one as well. Warren’s Wesley has hit the board in his last pair and probably has a bit of improving to do. Bejarano stays aboard, a very good sign. Unmarked Bills is a nine race maiden and probably not one to trust, but he’s been second in three of his last four starts and should win one of these eventually. He gets an extra half furlong to work with today and seems capable of producing the last run under Talamo.

In the featured seventh race, Disarm has plenty of zip and could take control early and never look back. Freshened since mid January and working well while retaining Talamo, the Sadler-trained gelding has a considerable edge in the speed figure department and exits a pair of very tough races. Horizon Sky finished steadily to be an okay third down the hill in his U.S. debut and has a right to move forward today for Mullins. Baze will have him doing his best work late. We’ll give Disarm the edge but use both in our rolling exotics.

Great Friends Rule has little to beat in the finale, a modest maiden claiming abbreviated sprint, and looks very much like a strong straight play and rolling exotic single. He has the blinkers- off angle working for him, retains Krigger, and has better numbers than par for the level. He likely will leave at shorter than his morning line odds of 3-1.