Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Thu., Oct. 31, 2013)

Free general admission and a Pick-6 carryover of $439,663 make the Thursday program a “must play” day as Breeders’ Cup week begins at Santa Anita.

In the opener #1 Pure Blush and #3 Miz Wounded Knee exit the same race, with the former finishing a willing third while the latter was checking in fourth. Both are capable of winning at this level with ‘Blush the preferred of the two.

The second race looks like a good spot for #2 Frandontjudge to win right back after the Benchmark filly broke her maiden with a sharp speed figure sprinting earlier this month. She’s protected in starter’s allowance company and has the pedigree to handle the extra distance. #7 Susans Express earned a strong number in her maiden win and if she duplicates that form around two turns she might be hard to catch.

The pick-6 begins in the third race, a fairly competitive turf affair that probably requires a bit of a spread. #6 Square Dancer, away since May, seems to be training well enough to be fit and ready for Miller and should be dangerous from off the pace. We’ll put him on top but also use #1 Sinfully (good inside draw, solid recent runner-up in a strong race, retains Bejarano) and #8 Under Review (class dropper adding blinkers and getting Johnny V. for Sadler).

The fourth race is a strong maiden juvenile router that has two main contenders. #2 Hold Everything finished a promising third in a hot race won by barn mate Tap It Rich and has come back to train very well since that race for Baffert, who excels with second-time starters. He also has the blinkers-off angle working for him. Kristo already has been beaten twice in two starts at 3/5 and may be hard to trust, but he continues to impress in the morning for Sadler and could very well improve a ton in his first try around two turns.

We’ll also double the race in the fifth, a downhill turf sprint for mid-grade claimers. #10 Mr. Bossy Pants always gives his best and has won half of his 12 career starts over this course. Drawn comfortably outside, the Diodoro-trained gelding should draft into a nice pace-prompting position. #3 Carbonite is another course specialist with a big look; the Sadler-trained gelding loves to win races and drops to his lowest level ever.

The featured Big Bear Stakes is carded as the sixth race; it’s an overnight main track miler that should find #3 Rousing Sermon as the favorite and one to beat. Fresh from a nice score over this track four weeks ago, the Hollendorfer-trained colt is strong in the speed figure department and has a good stalking style that should allow Leparoux to settle into a good second-flight position. #2 Summer Hit got run over in the nine furlong Awesome Again Stakes but shortens to what should be a more favorite trip and clearly will appreciate the softer company. These are the two we’ll be using; you might find the need to spread a little deeper in a competitive affair.

The seventh race is another grass grab bag down the hill; we’ll use three but you should include as many as you can afford to. #3 Oscillator seems intriguing; the Periban-trained filly wants patient handling and should get it from Leparoux and she’s run decently over this course in the past. She’s a reliable sort and has finished in the money in eight of nine career starts. #1 Horsesanddivorces has plenty of zip and adds blinkers; she should stick better in this league. #7 Chimi Dee is a route-to-sprint play and is worth including in the exotics; she doesn’t win often but usually is in the thick of things.

The nightcap boils down to #5 Glad’s Gals and #9 Sophie’s Secret and both should be used in rolling exotic play. Glad’s Gals switches to Gryder and if she can get out of the gate cleanly she should draft into an ideal pace prompting position. #9 Sophie’s Secret has been a big money burner in her career, but she adds blinkers, had a bullet recent blowout, and has numbers that would probably win.