Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sun., Jan. 5, 2014)

The Sunday opener finds big class dropper #1 He’s Not too Shabby as the 8/5 morning line favorite. He’ll win if he has one good one left but this type of play is a loser in the long run. #4 Change of Plan moves up a notch on the claiming scale but chased older foes last time and today faces only 4-year-olds, so he should be competitive, especially considering the enormous break in the weights. These are the two we’d consider for rolling exotic play.

The second race finds two major contenders in #2 Caribe d’Oro and #6 Cougarontheprowl. The former has been burning up the track in the a.m. for her first start since June and may be a better type this time around for a trainer who excels with layoff runners. The latter is a first-timer with a series of sharp workouts and might be a nice sort. Both should be included in your rolling exotics.

The third race is a weak race for the level; a $25,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares. We don’t have much confidence in any of these; #4 With a Miracle has been consistent of late but likes to run second more than she likes to win. We’ll put her on top without any great conviction and suggest you include as many others as you can afford to use in your rolling exotics.

The Pick-6 begins in the fourth race, a non-winners of two $25,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares. This is another extremely tough race with nothing to trust. #1 Beautiful Spirit, away since September, seems to be working well enough for her return and may improve for new trainer Bonde. If she can avoid trouble from the rail she may beat this field. #6 Elusive Luci won a maiden claimer across town with an okay number and if she has a forward move in her she might be a threat right back. We suggest you include these two any others that catch your eye.

Bottom rung maiden claimers sprint seven furlongs in the fifth race and this may be another affair requiring a spread. #3 Gentlemen Pete looks best on paper but he’s a 22-race maiden. #2 Deception Free is a solid threat off his best try and should be a late factor. #5 Ice Cream Truck has a look off his useful runner-up effort two runs back. We’re thinking the winner will be one of these three but won’t be surprised no matter what happens.

At first glance #2 Brother Pete looks like the logical top pick in the sixth race, a turf miler for entry-level allowance runners. And the son of Broken Vow should be in the thick of things after a pair of recent strong runner-up efforts vs. similar. You have to use him in your rolling exotics, but better value might be found with #8 Jules Journey. A consistent type with good form over this turf course, the Cassidy-trained gelding has looked quite sharp in the morning of late and can fire a big shot fresh. With good racing luck he seems capable of producing the last run.

#5 Public Policy looks primed for a winning effort in the seventh race, a maiden dash for state-bred 3-year-olds. The son of Dixie Chatter is back sprinting on conventional dirt and ran his best race under these conditions when nosed out in his debut while earning a better than par speed figure. He switches to Bejarano and offers value at anywhere near his morning line odds of 7/2. #10 Sir Vronski flashed speed in his debut before weakening; the Bonde-trained gelding has a right to be fitter and tougher today.

The featured Monrovia Stakes for sprinting fillies and mares looks made to order for #8 Pontchatrain, unbeaten in two starts over the Hillside Course and training better than ever for her first start since her Maddy Stakes score two months ago. She has the perfect stalking style for this trip. #7 Ultrasonic represents stranger danger; the European import has as series of strong Racing Post ratings that should make her a solid fit on this circuit and she, too, has been impressive in the morning. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.

The nightcap is a maiden claiming sprint for sophomore fillies; the debuting #7 Hanna No Sir looks intriguing for Mitchell and really doesn’t have much to beat. She trains like she has enough speed to act in this league and this barn generally does well with first timers. #1 Strollin Home may be the best of the known element; she drops a ton of weight and has an improving pattern for Proctor.