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Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sun., Dec. 29, 2013)
The Sunday opener is a straight maiden state-bred juvenile filly dash that sets up well for a fresh face. #5 Made to Worship has done some good work in the morning for Hollendorfer and while she’s probably no world beater the daughter of Minister’s Wild Cat won’t have to be. #8 Shakeitupbetty may be the best of the previous runners; she closed with interest in her debut and has plenty of room to improve off that effort.
The second race is a very soft $16,000 claiming miler for fillies and mares; two of the main contenders just won for $8,000 and look tough despite the triple raise in class. #1 Ghost N Your Heart seeks her third straight for new trainer Craigmyle and is a solid fit on speed figures. #2 Amulay also has won her last pair and rates a strong look despite being claimed by a trainer who is 1-for-76 this year. #5 No Tricks for Jack won for this bug boy rider at this level at Del Mar and should draft into a good mid-pack position. We’re expecting the winner to be one of these three.
The third race, for older maidens over a mile, looks like an ideal spot for #4 Seeking the West to break through. He’s a first-time blinkers play for Ellis and we’re hoping the light switch finally goes on in his fourth career start. The Heatseeker gelding continues to train like he’s got some talent and hopefully he’ll leave with his field and get into a reasonable striking position for Smith, who, significantly, rides him back. #5 Scarly Charly has strong numbers for this level and is strictly the one to beat.
The fourth race is a raffle down the hill for first-level allowance fillies and mares. #3 Zambo ran well under similar conditions two races back – she finished a closing third in a solid race for the level – and today switches to Bejarano. We like her slightly on top but we’ll also include #2 Madre Luna, a prior winner down the hill and a dangerous late threat, and #6 Tribal Spy, freshened since October but working well and likely to be a strong pace factor throughout.
Bottom rung fillies and mares sprint in the fifth race. #6 Metaxa just beat a similar field earlier this month at Hollywood Park and despite picking up four pounds she seems quite capable of winning right back. The Truman-trained mare has won over this conventional dirt surface in the past and seems to be holding her form in the morning. If it’s not her, it could be anybody.
The sixth race offers another grass grab bag, this one for $32,000 claiming distaffers. #3 Cayanna hasn’t won in more than two years and hasn’t been out since last February but she’s worked well enough to be fit and we’re expecting her to fire a big shot fresh. There’s some value here at 8-1 on the morning line. #2 Thermal Nermal, away since May, has plenty of zip and is another likely to be dangerous off the bench. These are the two we’re certain to include on our rolling exotic tickets but if there was a race to spread, this is it.
The seventh race, for maiden juvenile fillies, marks the debut of #8 Beverly the Boss, a Street Boss filly which brought $250,000 at the OBS April two-year-old-in training sale. At the preview session she worked a quarter in 20 3/5 seconds – the fastest workout in the entire sale – and she’s trained well enough locally for Miller to be plenty fit and ready. #5 Fashion Plate is improving with racing and should produce another forward move while switching to Bejarano, while #6 Mum is an intriguing first timer with a series of solid works and could be live for Mandella and Smith.
The featured Robert J. Frankel Stakes over nine furlongs on turf for older fillies and mares seems like a good spot for #3 Moone’s My Name, an overnight winner in her comeback across town earlier this month for Sadler and training quite well since. She switches to Bejarano and could be on the lead again or settle off the pace, which was her style last year in Europe. Either way, she’s quite dangerous and we’ll take the 4-1 on the morning line if we can get it.
The finale is a messy miler for juvenile maiden claiming fillies; best advice is to use as many as you can afford to. #4 Cheeky Stone has the two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern we like so much and probably is better than shown. She’s certainly bred to run this far (Grindstone). #7 Big Rosie Brown broke slowly in her sprint debut and never got involved but we’ve got a hunch this daughter of Big Brown can run a bit so we’ll toss her in. #9 Warren’s Lil Margie is another projection play; she has improving numbers and retains Talamo. A long shot case can be made for a few others, as well.