Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sat., Oct. 12, 2013)

An excellent Saturday program begins with a mile maiden turf affair that brings out a short priced morning line (7/5) favorite, #3 Cervaro. The Sadler-trained sophomore exits a hot race and although he was beaten as the choice in that affair, he deserves another chance as a logical rolling exotic single.

The second race is a competitive $12,500 sprint that finds class-dropping #8 Trulee Scrappin in an excellent spot to regain his winning form. The Mitchell-trained veteran exits a very strong race and should find this group well within his range. #3 Toss the Dice also is being lowered considerably on the class ladder and when he feels like it he can be very tough. #6 Silver Wings beat a bottom-rung group here last month and is being double jumped in class by Ellis. He shouldn’t be out of his element at this level.

We see three main contenders in the third race, an abbreviated maiden claiming sprint for juveniles. #6 Takem by Surprise drops in for a tag for the first time after flashing decent speed in much tougher straight maiden races. He should stick a whole lot better at this level. #2 Capo chased straight maidens in his debut at Pomona and certainly has a right to move forward in this softer spot. Debuting #4 Run for Pleasure has shown enough in the morning for Glatt to indicate he’ll be competitive at this level.

The fourth race marks the debut of the highly-regarded Tap It Rich, a $510,000 Keeneland yearling purchase by Tapit. He’s been very impressive in the morning and looks more than fit to win first crack out of the box. This is a stronger-than-par maiden race, though, and both #3 Candy Boy (blinkers off, improving numbers) and #9 Gift Exchange (solid third sprinting in his debut at Del Mar) are worth using in rolling exotic play.

#3 Major Magic looks well-spotted for a huge run in the fifth race, a downhill turf sprint for mid-grade claimers. Now in the D’Amato barn and turning back to what might be his best trip, the Kitten’s Joy looks very dangerous from off the pace. With good racing luck we’re expecting him to be along in time, though #9 Trelawney, a dangerous class dropper from Mullins’ barn, probably is worth using on your ticket as well.

The sixth race is an extended sprint for $25,000 sellers and probably requires a spread. #7 Cast a Doubt has been chasing tougher of late but could wake up with this class drop. He seems to have the proper style for seven furlongs. #2 Know More is an ex-classer showing up for a tag for the first time and is another likely to improve in this softer spot. He may be most effective if held up early and allowed to run late. #8 Congregationalist is winless in five prior starts over the Santa Anita main track but he ran well at this level at Del Mar and should be part of the pace throughout.

#1 Bella Viaggia is a quality California-bred filly and may be most at home as a turf sprinter. She gets ideal conditions in today’s seventh race feature, the California Distaff Handicap, and looks likely to regain her winning form over a course she’s proven she can handle Stevens should have her along in the final furlong as a straight play and rolling exotic single.

The eighth race is tough optional claiming sprint; we’re expecting #4 Master Chef to step forward big time for new trainer Mulhall. The veteran gelding loves to win and loves this track, and has looked extra sharp in the morning while returning to conventional dirt. He’s always runs best for Talamo, who is back aboard today. #13 Life a Riley handled a softer field in strong fashion last month and was promptly claimed by Spawr, who enlists Bejarano. With another forward move, the Bertrando colt could be heard from right back.

Entry-level California-breds clash over a mile on turf in the ninth race; you may find the need to include several in here. We’ll try to survive using just #9 Brown Boss and #8 Turn On the Pumps. We strongly prefer ‘Boss on top; the Hess-trained gelding is improving with racing and has won under Bejarano in the past. He’s a handy sort that can be placed pretty much anywhere. Turn On the Pumps is a fit on speed figures and usually finishes with interest. He seems a like a logical exacta partner with ‘Boss.

The finale is a straight maiden sprint for two-year-olds. #10 Mass Transit has done plenty of good work in the morning for a trainer who excels with debut runners. The son of City Zip acts like a quality sort and should be extremely live. #4 Pray Hard would seem to be the best of the known element; the Hollendorfer-trained gelding finished a strong second in a legitimate affair at Del Mar last month and has every right to continue his improving pattern.