Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Fri., Dec. 27, 2013)

A Pick-6 carryover of $118,415 makes the Friday program especially enticing. The program begins slowly with a pair of five runner fields but picks up noticeably thereafter.

The opener offers little in the way of value, with #2 Kylee’s Star and #4 I’m Not Patsy expected to attract the majority of the money. 'Patsy probably deserves top billing after a decent third place effort in a similar spot during the autumn season and the works since then seem decent enough for a bottom-rung maiden claimer. But she’s 7/5 on the morning line and there are better opportunities later on.

The second race, a restricted bottom-rung claimer for older fillies and mares, is even less attractive. With the late scratching of #1 Chila Ali, #2 Clearly Confused is logical but isn’t trustworthy; she seems in okay form but is slow on numbers. Might be best to sit this one out.

The Pick-6 begins in the third race with Baffert having two of the five starters. #2 The Admiral, at 7/5 on the morning line, is clearly preferred over #4 Icy Ride (4-1) and looks like a rolling exotic single. The son of Giant’s Causeway finished with interest and galloped out well in an excellent debut sprint earlier this month across town and should benefit greatly from the outing and today’s two-turn trip. He’ll have a chance to join the Triple Crown trail if he performs up to snuff today and we’re expecting him to step forward as most second-time starters from this stable usually do.

We’ll double the fourth race, a modest six furlong claiming sprint, using #1 Dunmore East and #7 Half Dome Dude. Drawn comfortably outside and very likely to draft into an ideal pace-prompting position, Half Dome Dude gets ideal conditions while returning to the level of his last victory, a clever score over this track in October. His chances are further aided by a pace scenario that looks extremely soft. Dunmore East is a strong fit on numbers and gets Bejarano. The rail is no bargain but shouldn’t be too much of an issue at this extended sprint trip.

We’re fairly confident that we can get out of the fifth race going just two-deep. #8 Autumn View had a solid prep off a long layoff last month at Hollywood Park, tiring late to finish third in a fast, highly-rated affair. She’ll be much fitter and stronger today while retaining Bejarano and the switch to turf can be viewed as a positive. #10 Sea John’s Spirit has a similar pattern – she was off about a year and a half and then was dead short in her comeback last month – and like Autumn View should move forward considerably today. The main concern is that she showed nothing in her only previous try down the hill, which is why we’ll strongly prefer Autumn View on top.

We were quite impressed with the debut maiden win of #5 Chitu three weeks ago at Hollywood Park and we’re expecting the son of Henny Hughes to come right back and win again as the logical favorite in today’s sixth race, a good entry-level sprint for juveniles. He’s facing considerably more speed today but strikes us as a colt that won’t back down from a fight. In a race lacking in effective closers, he should be able to exert his superiority by the time the field hits the head of the lane.

The seventh race is a first-level miler on grass for fillies and mares, and it’s pretty clear that #5 Kathleen Rose will have every chance as the controlling speed to take this group gate-to-wire. She just missed in her only prior two-turn try in October in what was just her second career start, but the daughter of Good Journey should be able to see out the trip this time around following an excellent downhill maiden score in her most recent outing. For protection, you might consider as a small saver #2 Krazypapaya, fresh from a decent Phoenix win and perhaps the best of the closers.

The finale is an intriguing maiden claiming miler and that contains a few price possibilities. #2 Reps and Warrants has the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern and a pedigree to get the distance; he’s also drawn inside and should be comfortably placed throughout. We’ll use him at 8-1 on the morning line. #3 Runaway Que also is stretching out for the first time and has a pedigree that suggests he’ll be more comfortable going long. Mullins is good with this maneuver and this gelding continues to train like he can run a little bit. #6 Papa’s Paisley is yet another sprint-to-route play and is a solid fit on figures. His steady, even series of one-turn running lines give hope that he’ll route okay, though his pedigree is mostly sprint oriented.