Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sat., April 6, 2013)

Santa Anita Derby day offers a terrific 11-race program, with early first post time of 12 Noon.

Brave Act is improving with racing, ran well under similar conditions last month and has trained well since. He switches to Bejarano and should be tough to beat in the opener, a competitive maiden sprint down the hill. Tribal Dude, a route to sprint play, adds blinkers again and switches to Gomez. A repeat of his race before last puts him right there. Meydan Magic is a first timer with a solid series of works and seems plenty fit. Toss him in at a price. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics while slightly preferring Tribal Dude on top.

Metaxa has little to beat in the second race and seems the solid choice. She just missed in a similar spot last month and has come back with a sharp half mile drill since, indicating she’s maintaining her form. Low profile connections notwithstanding, we’ll make her a straight play and rolling exotic single.

Declassify has been burning up the track in the morning for Baffert and reportedly is the real deal. He’s a short priced rolling exotic single in the third race. ‘Nuff said.

Cacau failed to run to his fancy work tab in his debut when much troubled but he’s come back to train impressively since that race so we’ll give him another chance in the fourth race. He’s a beautifully-bred son of Unbridled’s Song and switches to Espinoza. Boss of Me continues to impress in the morning for Hendricks and stretches out for the first time. Despite the bad draw we’ll include him in our rolling exotics while preferring Cacau on top.

Fiftyshadesofhay just chased home Beholder but gets another crack at her today in the Santa Anita Oaks. She should continue to improve but it still will be hard beat last year’s champion juvenile filly. We’re expecting Beholder to win right back but we’ll use both in our rolling exotics.

Willyconker is back in his finest form and will fire his best shot in the sixth race. Gomez seems to get the most run out of him. Fed Biz made his turf debut in the Kilroe and just missed in a huge effort. He continues to shine in the morning for Baffert and is our top pick, though we’ll include both in our rolling exotics.

Comma to the Top is a tough-as-nails sprinter and has been kept on edge following his extra game win in New York. He’s the best of the speed types in the seventh race but will have to worry about Jimmy Creed in the final furlong. The latter can really turn it on late and we’re expecting the Mandella-trained colt to be along in time. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.

Birdlover just won the China Doll Stakes over this course and the extra furlong of the Providencia Stakes should be within her range. She’s tough on the front end but doesn’t necessarily strike us as a need-the-lead type. Scarlet Strike is back on turf and we believe that’s her best surface. Bejarano takes over so look out. Flashy Ways may have been a tad short in her recent comeback but won’t be today and the nine furlong trip helps her cause. All three should be used in your rolling exotics; we’ll have a few extra tickets with Scarlet Strike on top.

Flashback will get the patient ride he needs from Gomez in the Derby and we’re expecting the son of Tapit to return to winning form. His recent workouts have been nothing short of sensational. He’s a strong straight play and rolling exotic single.

Points Offthebench earned a giant speed figure when second in a similar spot earlier this meeting and has trained superbly since for Yakteen. He’ll be hard to beat in the 10th race with his best effort. Oliver’s Tale also ran very fast last time out; the son of E Dubai drew off at will after cutting out blistering splits in one of the most impressive maiden wins of the season. We’ll double the race in our rolling exotics and then press a bit with Oliver’s Tale on top.

The finale is a tough, competitive starter’s allowance affair and requires a spread. We’ll go three deep and hope that’s enough. Square Dancer has improving numbers for Miller and is back on turf. He’s a “must use” in the exotics. East Sky can turn it on late and figures to move forward in his first off the claim for Mitchell. He goes from Scott to Bejarano as well. Yikes. Russel’s Run looked good graduating from a lesser field and earned a nice figure doing so. If he can negotiate a decent trip from his outside post he could be dangerous right back. We’ll prefer East Sky on top.