Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Mon., Oct. 14, 2013)

A massive $430,034 double Pick-6 carryover makes the special Columbus Day program a “must play” for handicappers.

The first race is a scramble; rolling exotic play should use as many as they can afford. #4 Titian drops to his lowest level ever and may deserve a slight edge, though he is hardly trustworthy. #6 Blake is much slower on recent speed figures than Titian but his form at Pomona – albeit against cheaper – wasn’t bad and he’s won on this track in the past. #10 Noble Kent is stuck way outside but beat a better field two runs back and is a fit on figures. Best advice is to consider these three and use anybody else that catches your fancy.

The second race is no picnic, either; a maiden claiming miler for juvenile fillies. #3 Miss Fast Eddie has the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern and on pedigree should enjoy the added ground. She’s a little soft in the speed figure department but we’ll assume that her best is yet to come. O’Neill is usually fairly solid with projection plays. #8 Appearance has been chasing much tougher foes without any success; she continues to train like a filly with a bit of ability and should thoroughly enjoy this massive class drop.

A short field of five occupies the third race, a conditioned allowance sprint that marks the return of two high class runners, #3 Frumious, and #6 Secret Circle in what pretty much amounts to a match race. Frumious, away since January of 2012, has been burning up the track in the morning while showing all of his old speed and if ready he’ll be hard to contain. He’s clearly the controlling speed. Secret Circle, best remembered as the winner of the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint (now defunct), also has been very impressive in morning drills leading up to his first outing since April of 2012. It’s splitting hairs as to which one of these past classers will win today but there’s little value to be had in either case.

Five first-level allowance juveniles meet in the calm-before-the-storm fourth race. #3 Jedi Mind Trick has won two straight and is getting better with each outing; he’s a relentless type and will be bearing down late. #5 Can the Man removes blinkers and shortens back to a sprint where he should be most effective. Of the two we’ll slightly prefer Jedi Mind Trick in a race that doesn’t offer an attractive wagering opportunity.

The massive Pick-6 begins in the fifth race; this is a tough six race sequence and it will take some superiority handicapping to wade through unscathed. Maiden state-bred fillies and mares traverse a mile on turf and pretty much anything goes, though we’ll definitely have #1 Crystalline Indy, #9 Keldy, and #11 Kathleen Rose on our ticket and several others are worth including as well. Keldy may deserve an ever-so-slight edge; the daughter of Benchmark ran well two-turning on turf at Del Mar (finishing third, beaten just over a length) and a repeat of that race will put her right in the picture again. Crystalline Indy is bred to run long (Friends Lake) and gets her chance today while stretching out from a good inside pot. #11 Kathleen Rose ran very well in her comeback last month at Del Mar and today goes long on the lawn, just what her pedigree (Good Journey from a Decarchy mare)) suggests she’ll excel at. She’s drawn farther out than we’d prefer but at 10-1 on the morning line she offers considerable price value. Those who can afford to go deeper should also consider #2 Sidepocket Run and #3 Tickle Again, both of whom have credentials off their best efforts.

#4 Final Step was well-meant in his debut at Del Mar last month and ran quite well, finishing a solid third while earning a legitimate speed figure. The Miller-trained gelding looks well spotted in today’s sixth race to graduate, having worked smartly since that race. He gains blinkers and Bejarano today and probably deserves consideration as a single for smaller ticket players. Those who can afford to should also consider #3 Big Medicine Man, seemingly better than his troubled fifth place performance in the same race Final Step exits, and #10 Enterprising, a first timer with a strong work tab for the always-potent Stevens and Proctor team.

Restricted claimers meet in a grass grab bag in the seventh race over a mile and this is another event that might require some deep pockets. The three that we’re sure to include on our ticket are #5 Very Elusive, #6 Mr. Ornery, and #11 Ransom Canyon. Very Elusive drops sharply in class and removes blinkers for Callaghan; the Irish-bred gelding exits a quick sprint and should draft into a good stalking position. Mr. Ornery drops into a claimer for the first time for Jones and seems sure to improve in this league; he’s a strong fit in the speed figure department. Ransom Canyon adds blinkers for the first time and is another first-time-in-a-claimer play; he’s also switching to hot riding Nakatani and figures to be charging in the final furlong.

Low level restricted claimers make the eighth race yet another very difficult affair; we’ll try to survive using just two but you can make a case for a number of the entrants. #6 Fighting On, freshened since July and realistically spotted by Truman, is a genuine and consistent sort with back numbers that can beat this field. This barn doesn’t have many bullets to fire but has been red hot this meeting and with Bejarano aboard this Sky Mesa colt looks extremely well meant. #8 Hodge was an okay third in his recent comeback at Pomona and should build on that today. The Machowsky-trained gelding has won on this track in the past and should be on or near the lead throughout.

Today’s ninth race feature is a good second-level allowance event at nine furlongs on turf. #1 Big Bane Theory exits a very strong race at Del Mar and won’t really need to improve much at all to handle this task. He’s drawn well inside, has a good stalking style, sharp recent works, and proven ability (two wins in four starts) over this turf course. The son of Artie Schiller seems quite logical but price players may want to find a spot for 12-1 morning liner #5 Mambo Man, improving with each outing and a highly-rated winner form a lesser field last month at De Mar. Also, #11 Extensive, though poorly drawn and winless this year, should be set for a forward move in his fourth start off a long layoff and has plenty of back class in his resume.

The nightcap is a seven furlong sprint for bottom-rung older maiden claimers and if you’re desperate for a single you should consider #6 Winninginfashion. Unlike many of those in here, she’s not thoroughly exposed, having started just once, a disappointing but troubled off-the-board performance vs. similar at Del Mar in August. Claimed by Miller out of that race, the daughter of In Excess has trained like she’s much better than that race gives her credit for, and we’re expecting big improvement today. #9 Frannie’sspiritoo is a 10-race maiden and not one to trust, but she’s a fit on figures and should be in the firing line. #12 Glad’s Gals had improving form at Del Mar, has worked well since, and seems to have the proper style for this extended sprint distance.