Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Fri., Nov. 1, 2013)

The Breeders’ Cup two day festival begins with a sterling 11-race program that begins early at 10:40 Pacific Daylight Time.

The first race is a highly-competitive entry-level downhill turf sprint. Anyone of three seem capable of winning with good racing luck. #11 U S Citizen has the right style for the course and in his first opportunity down the hill the Jones-trained colt rallied bravely but just missed. A similar effort today puts him right there once again. #5 Love de Car pressed the fractions in that same race and weakened late; with less pace pressure today he could stick around a long time. #6 Yankee Rebel closed with the race-shape to be beaten just a half-length in that common event Sept. 27 and is lightly-raced and capable of better. We’ll triple the race in our rolling exotics while slightly preferring Love de Car on top.

In the second race, #13 Wild Dude finished second as the favorite in a similar event in late September in a fast, highly-rated affair, and seems well spotted to make amends in this extended sprint for first-level allowance runners. From his cozy outside post, the Hollendorfer-trained colt can settle into a stalking position and then move when he pleases. #2 Got Even has been away since last December but hails from a barn that does well with layoff runners and with Rosario taking the mount he appears to be fit and ready. There’s some value here at 6-1 on the morning line. #3 Basmati drops into a claimer after finishing second in a minor Pomona stakes. He likes this track and has the perfect style for seven furlongs. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Wild Dude.

#7 Tamarando really should out-class his rivals in the third race, state-bred stakes for juveniles. The son of Bertrando won the Gr. 1 Del Mar Futurity and then did well enough to finish third in the Gr. 1 Frontrunner Stakes; either one of those two efforts would be good enough to beat this field. Leparoux stays aboard and we’re expecting this colt to be along in time at a relatively short price. For protection, you may want to consider #2 Life Is a Joy in your rolling exotics. Unbeaten in three starts and improving with every outing, the Hollendorfer-trained gelding gets tested for the class and should be on or near the lead throughout. He’s a little light in the speed figure department but we’ve always been partial to synthetic-to-dirt shippers. The presence of Rosario in the saddle doesn’t hurt, either.

The fourth race is the filly version of the third; we’ll go two deep and hope that’s enough. Moving Desert, freshened since August, returns for Heap over a distance of ground and while she may not be a slam dunk to get the trip on pedigree, her style suggests she will handle two turns. She continues to impress in the morning and likely has some upside. Stevens should have her forcing or pressing the pace throughout. Stole a Kiss has a nice progressive pattern for Puype and is a fit on numbers, though on pedigree she may be strained to get a mile. She is another that has an impressive recent work tab. We’ll give Moving Desert a very slight edge on top but both offer some value.

The Twilight Derby goes as the fifth race and looks very much like Del Mar Derby with a number of the same contenders. #12 Gabriel Charles is a terrific turf runner and although he’s stuck farther out than we’d prefer, the Street Hero colt seems good enough to overcome the poor post. He has an electric turn of foot and ran lights out over this course last year on Breeders’ Cup day. #10 Gervinho just finished an excellent second to ‘Charles in the Del Mar Derby and today gets a four pound break in the weights, for whatever that’s worth. #2 Charming Kitten probably prefers firm turf and finally gets it today. He’s drawn comfortably inside, picks up Johnny V., and should be finishing well. He’s worth tossing in your rolling exotics.

The Breeders’ Cup program begins with Marathon as the sixth race. There’s seems to be an abundance of pace types; we’re looking at the most dangerous of the closers to use in our rolling exotics. #2 Cease moved too soon when hitting the front and then fading off the board in the final furlong in this same race two years ago in Kentucky; he likes to lag and make a run and with a well-timed ride today by Cohen could get the money. We like him on top but will also use #7 London Bridge, a stayer from England who has a dirt pedigree (Arch) but is unproven on the main track. Big ticket players certainly will be tempted to use a few more, and based on the unpredictability of the race a spread in rolling exotic play would seem to be warranted.

The seventh race Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf showcases #5 Bobby’s Kitten. He was best when beaten with as troubled trip in his debut but since then has been very impressive in a couple of sharp scores, one against maidens and the most recent in the Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont Park. He’s fast on numbers and very impressive visually; all it means is that he’ll be very hard to beat. #2 Giovanni Boldini is an improving War Front colt that might prefer synthetic, but he did finish third in a Group-1 race on turf and appears to be quite the progressive sort. He represents stranger danger. There’s nothing wrong whatsoever with #4 Outstrip’s European form; the Godolphin color bearer finished an excellent third in the Dewhurst at Newmarket three weeks ago and has Racing Post ratings that make him a major player right off the plane.

The Breeders’ Cup (dirt) Mile, the eighth race on the program, always has been a tough one for us to figure; many of the runners we’ve liked over the years have been disappointing and a few of the ones we didn’t like at all ended up winning. So, our confidence level for this particular Breeders’ Cup event isn’t terribly high. #12 Goldencents is more than good enough to win if the poor post doesn’t do him in. #10 Verrazano can run off the charts when he’s in the mood and finish far back when he’s not motivated; who knows which version will show up today. #2 Golden Ticket may have been a tad short in the Awesome Again; he won’t be today.

#8 Chriselliam appears to be a high class European import and if she duplicates her Shadwell Fillies Mile victory she’ll win the ninth race, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Blessed with an exceptional turn of foot, the Hills-trained filly should be ideally suited for the tight turns and the top of the ground conditions she’ll encounter at Santa Anita. Two other European invaders must be given strong consideration as well. Al Thakhira is unbeaten in two starts and was a stylish winner of both; today we’ll find out her quality but her Racing Post ratings make her a major threat. Vorda is a terrific French sprinter trying a mile for the first time; she likes to settle early and make a run and if she switches off early she should be heard from late. Preference goes to Chriselliam but we’ll have tickets on all three in our rolling exotics.

The featured 10th race, the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, is a race in which you simply have to take a stand. #5 Beholder looks like the quickest of the field but won’t get any breathers if #4 Royal Delta shows up with her “A” game and the two could engage early and set things up for #6 Princess of Sylmar. The latter has won eight of her last nine and already has beaten all of here main rivals in this race. She continues to hold her exceptional form in the morning for Pletcher and given the projected pace scenario there’s no reason she can’t produce the last run. She’s 9/5 on the morning line but not the favorite; we think she should be. Big ticket players might find room for all three; smaller ticket players should construct a strategy that showcases Princess of Sylmar as a single.

The 11th and finale on the program is a race restricted to Arabians. To be honest I am not familiar with any of these runners and really have no interest in playing the race. The good news is that the race is not affiliated with any rolling exotic wager on the program. We’ll enjoy the spectacle but leave the wagering to those in tune with this breed of horse.