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Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sun., Sept. 29, 2013)
Sunday’s program begins with a mid-grade claiming sprint restricted to 3-year-olds. #2 Judge Carr was scratched opening day for this more plausible spot, and the Hendricks-trained gelding looks capable of producing the last run following a significant drop in class. Bejarano stays aboard. #3 Hazardous also is tackling much easier today and may have found his friends.
The second race showcases a group of promising maiden juvenile fillies. #8 Southern Sunshine wasn’t beaten too badly when fifth in the Del Mar Debutante and returns to the maiden ranks against a group she figures to handle. Her speed figures continue to rise and Gomez knows her well. #9 Miss Personality has done good work in the morning for Baffert and looks plenty fit and ready. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.
Bottom-rung claiming sprinters collide in the third race, with preference going to #9 Bev N Bud. First off the claim for connections that put over a big priced winner opening day, the veteran gelding should enjoy a lovely pace prompting trip outside, and though he’s never run particularly well over this track, the son of Tizbud offers value at 5-1 on the morning line.
Low-level maiden claimers occupy the fourth race; we’ll go three deep in our rolling exotics but you may find the need to spread even more. #12 Kevin’s Kool Kat must overcome the extreme outside post but she’s stretching out for the first time for a barn that does well with the sprint-to-route maneuver and the Mitchell-trained filly should be quick enough to get over a secure a nice pace prompting position. We’ll put her on top but also use #5 Classic Candy (first time blinkers) and #8 Top Knot (beaten choice in her last three but with speed figures that fit).
#1 Tom’s Tribute burned some money at Del Mar when failing in his last pair as the favorite, but probably only needs a little bit of luck to break through with a victory. He should enjoy an ideal ground-saving trip from the rail and he’s reunited with Smith, who won on him three races back. #5 Quiet Force was rusty in his comeback but won’t be today; the Mandella-trained colt broke his maiden over this course and distance last winter. #7Horizonatalyspeakin has dangerous early speed and will take them as far as he can.
Older maiden fillies and mares sprint six furlongs in the sixth race, and #2 Tappingintherain should enjoy the switch to the main track and the shortening in trip. A repeat of her race before last should be more than good enough. #4 Pearl de Vere has finished in the money in her last three starts with useful speed figures and seems like a logical exacta partner with our top pick.
The seventh race looks like a perfect spot for #8 Magestic Stinger; the Spawr-trained filly earned a career top speed figure when a distant second in a hot race at Del Mar earlier this month against a slightly tougher field. That effort should be good enough to beat this crew. If she doesn’t win, anybody can.
The featured John Henry Turf Championship goes as the eighth race and has several legitimate contenders. #3 Kettle Corn was a distant second in the Pacific Classic to Game on Dude last time out and before that defeated Paynter, both races over the Del Mar all-weather surface. He’s won on turf in the past and 10 furlongs is right up his alley, so the Sadler-trained veteran should be the one to beat. We’ll also toss in in his Sadler barn mate, #8 Vagabond Shoes, winner of the Del Mar Handicap in his last start, and the Arlington Million beaten choice #4 Indy Point, a very impressive winner in his U.S. debut two runs back and good enough to win today with a repeat of that performance.
The ninth race is an extremely hot entry-level allowance sprint. #5 Wild Dude earned an off-the-charts speed figure in his nearly six length maiden win at Del Mar last month and if he doesn’t bounce off that effort he can score right back. #4 Raise a Secret is genuine and consistent and a fit on numbers; the Glatt-trained colt is better than his 10-1 morning line would lead you to believe. #9 My Slew comes off a facile triumph at Pomona but he’s equally effective on the big circuit and has run especially well over the Santa Anita main track.
The finale is a wide-open restricted miler on grass for moderate claimers. #9 Dolphin Shorts is lightly raced and eligible to improve; the Mitchell-trained filly is bred for grass and is stretching out for the first time. Leparoux should have her on or near the lead throughout. #11 Hair On Fire ran fairly well over this turf course last winter and really won’t have to improve much to win.