Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Mon., Feb. 17, 2014)

A Pick-6 carryover of $119,278 makes the Santa Anita President’s Day Monday program a “must play.”

The day begins with an extended sprint for $25,000 claimers with #6 Kafister appearing properly spotted for a repeat score. Drawn comfortably outside, the Ellis-trained gelding should be primed for another big effort after earning a huge figure when beating a slightly lesser foes last month. He’s trained well since, retains Espinoza, and looks capable of extending his unbeaten streak over the Santa Anita main track to three. He’s also catching a very favorable pace scenario which should allow the son of Kafwain to set or prompt very easy early fractions.

The second race, a middle distance main track maiden event for 3-year-olds, attracted just five entrants, including two from the Miller barn. Both figure strongly, so for the purposes of rolling exotic play we’ll simply double the race. #3 Dublin Up shipped in from Kentucky and performed decently when fourth in a hot sprint; today he stretches out to a distance he should be able to handle and Talamo rides him back. #4 Garen, a son of Street Cry, sports the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern. He has serious early speed (21 flat, 44 flat in his most recent race) plus a bullet workout at San Luis Rey Downs since raced.

Older maiden claimers sprint six and one-half furlongs in the third race; there appears to be two main contenders and both should be used in your rolling exotics. #2 Tasha’s Courage is steadily improving with racing and with another forward move could be ready to graduate. Second in his last pair with rising speed figures, the Armstrong-trained gelding makes a major switch to Talamo and should enjoy this extended sprint trip. #7 Bench Press actually won a maiden claimer two races back but was dq’d and then was overmatched in straight maiden company last time; he’s back where he belongs today and the Sadler-trained colt should draft into a comfortable pace prompting position. We’ll give a slight edge to Tasha’s Courage on top.

The fourth race, a tough seventh furlong first-level allowance sprint, begins the Pick-6. #5 Toledo Eddie is razor sharp, having crushed a starter’s allowance field with a career top speed figure recently, and seems more than capable in his present form of repeating on the raise. The Dollase-trained gelding probably won’t go favored, though, as Bejarano jumps ship to pilot the unbeaten (in two starts) #3 Jet Warrior, a winner on all weather and turf but making his first start over conventional dirt. The Hollendorfer-trained gelding is not as fast as ‘Eddie is on pure speed figures but the numbers probably don’t tell the story. In both of his starts the Jet West gelding failed to break well and in his most recent start he didn’t change leads while appearing a bit green through the lane; if he ever gets his act together there’s no telling how fast he might be. We’ll use both in rolling exotic play; we’ll give Jet Warrior a very slight edge on top due to his greater upside.

Maiden special weight 3-year-old fillies sprint down the hill in the fifth; with so many question marks the race looks treacherous but we’ll try to survive using just two. #10 La Sorella was given a little bit of a run in her debut, finishing a willing fourth over this course and distance last month, and we’re expecting the Jones-trained daughter of Corinthian to improve considerably with that effort behind her. She’s trained especially well since that outing and this stable excels with second time starters. With Smith riding her back, she offers considerable value at 7/2 on the morning line. #3 Beverly the Boss moved considerably forward in her second career starts last month, cutting out good fractions before weakening to finish third in a strong heat. She’ll be out blazing again, and, as a daughter of Street Boss, she is very likely to stick better with the switch to turf.

The sixth race looks very much like a spread affair; it’s a wide open abbreviated sprint for maiden claiming state-bred 3-year-olod fillies and we suggest you use as many as you can afford. #10 Gisele At Fonz was all the rage before her debut last spring but in two starts never ran to her good morning works and was turned out. She returns for new trainer Miller (superior with comebackers) and Delgadillo, who picks up the mount, has been out to work her, specifically in a recent gate drill that was impressive from a visual standpoint. Let’s hope that she’s a better type this time around and at 6-1 on the morning line she could offer some real value. #2 Hearitfrothegirls is a first timer from the Sadler barn with good enough morning drills to warrant inclusion in an unclassified race. Sadler also saddles the most dependable of the known element, #4 Moscato Girl, in the money in four of five career starts and likely to be in the battle throughout though not particularly fast in the speed figure department. Others to consider include #5 Ipolita, an Ellis-trained filly with a bit of speed and a mildly improving pattern, and #8 Alice Roadtrain, the second of two Miller entrants bred for zip (Tribal Rule) and apparently training decently at San Luis Rey Downs.

The featured seventh race is the Buena Vista Stakes over a mile on turf for older fillies and mares. #2 Egg Drop deserves top billing; the Mitchell-trained mare has won four of her last five and her last three all by the same margin – a head – so you can get much more genuine and consistent than that. She continues to impress in the morning, lands a comfortable inside post, and is tough on the front end or from a stalking position. #1 Miss Serendipity was a Group-1 winner on turf in Argentina and will be making only her second start since being imported; she’s been burning up the track in the morning for McAnally, switches to Bejarano, and should be set for her best effort. #4 Tapicat, sharp winner of an overnight stakes at Gulfstream Park on New Year’s Day, is lightly raced and eligible for further improvement and clearly is doing well, as Velasquez flies out to ride her for Mott. These are the three will be using on our rolling exotics but there are other contenders with strong credentials, so this is one of those hold-your-breath affairs.

The eighth race, an extended sprint for first level 3-year-old fillies, is a better than par event that looks tough as well. #3 Rovenna, a route-to-sprint, class dropper from the Machowsky barn, seems well spotted to regain her best form; she won over conventional dirt in Florida in her debut so the surface switch won’t be an issue and Espinoza knows her well. A sharp recent half mile workout should have her on edge, so we’ll put the daughter of Vronsky on top while also including the recent debut winner #4 Wonderful Lie. She’ll probably be held up early and cut loose late by Smith and very likely will enjoy the extra furlong she gets to work with today. We’re going to sink or swim using only these two.

The nightcap is a grass grab bag down the hill for $32,000 older claimers. #2 Carbonite, freshened since opening day and training well since for Sadler, takes a slight drop in class, retains Espinoza, and should be on or near the lead throughout. He’s always liked the hillside course and knows very much where the wire is, having won 12 races during his highly-productive career. #3 Shame On Alex is perfect (1-for-1) down the hill and has trained like he’s fit and ready for Ellis. #8 Depreciable is another with excellent form over the local lawn and appears primed for a smasher for Mullins. #9 Big Note, perhaps the speed of the speed, is always dangerous when he can shake loose early without undue pressure. And #11 Dixieland Blues, third in his last pair but getting a huge break in the weights with the switch to talented bug boy Van Dyke, has credentials to win. You talk about a tough race!