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Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sat., Martch 1, 2014)
A $72,912 Pick-6 carryover awaits players on a Saturday program that will be conducted over a very wet but probably very fast, sealed racetrack.
#4 Paseo Alegro and #5 Truelee Scrappin look like the right ones in the opener, a bottom-rung seven furlong claimer. Second off the claim for Belvoir, Paseo Alegro has the perfect style for this extended sprint trip and has superior form on off tracks, so he’ll be hard to deny. Truelee Scrappin hasn’t won in two years and is zero-for-six over the Santa Anita main track but a repeat of his last race should at least land him in the frame.
#4 Socialbug will be an overwhelming favorite in an unplayable second race, a two-other-than sprint for fillies and mares. Second to subsequent stakes winner Scherzinger in a highly-rated dash last month, she continues to impress in the morning for Baffert and should simply out class this field. The wet surface shouldn’t be a problem.
The third race is a maiden sprint for older horses; #3 Bad Behavior has been burning up the track for his comeback and with the scratching of major rival #5 Mank the Baffert-trained son of Midnight Lute doesn’t have all that much to beat. If he runs to his works and handles the track, he should be able to outrun this group in his first start since splitting the field as the favorite in his debut last March.
The Pick-6 begins in the fourth race, an off-the-turfer for first-level allowance sprinters. #2 Bob Consultation earned a giant figure in beating $16,000 restricted claimers recently and should be able to take this class raise in stride. He’s never tried a wet track but has the pedigree to enjoy it. #3 Major Truth isn’t as fast on numbers as Bob Consultation but should draft into a good second flight position and seems like a logical exacta partner with the likely favorite.
#3 Peacenik, a sharp winner for $10,000 last month, is triple jumped in class by Spawr in a sign of confidence and seems quite capable of repeating on the raise in the fifth race. He’s won on an off track in the past, continues to look good in the morning, and retains Bejarano. At 5/2 on the morning line he’s a straight play and rolling exotic single for us.
We’ve got the sixth race down to two main contenders. #2 L X Sunrise has the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern and we’re expecting the Miller-trained filly to enjoy this two-turn affair. She has an improving pattern and enough pedigree to anticipate that she won’t be inconvenienced by a wet surface. #8 Chicago Angel, second in her last pair, is fastest in the speed figure department but probably has less room to improve than ‘Sunrise. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics.
The seventh race is a $12,500 nw-2 sprint for fillies and mares and looks wide open, especially considering the track condition. #8 Vindicted Ruler, away since Del Mar, returns in a reasonable spot for Carava and could be dangerous despite her brief recent work tab. #3 Secret Memo has a win at this distance earlier this meeting and could bounce back over a wet track she’s bred to like. #5 Serious has low profile connections but will be part of the pace and may stick around for at least a piece of it. Best advice is to use as many as you can afford to.
The featured eighth race is Santa Ysabel Stakes for 3-year-old fillies; the suspect 5/2 morning line favorite is #3 Awesome Baby. She’s fresh from a sprint score in the Santa Ynez Stakes but ran her final sixteenth in seven seconds and we have to question whether she really wants to run this far. The wet track might carry her, though. Our top pick is #4 Swiss Lake Yodeler; she was no factor from a poor post in the Cal Cup Oaks last month on turf but has worked super since that race and we’re anticipating a huge bounce-back performance today. We’re thinking Bejarano will have her along in plenty of time.
The finale is an abbreviated sprint for maiden claiming 3-year-olds. #4 Closet E missed by a neck in a similar spot last month and earned a better than par figure; a repeat of that effort today should be good enough. #9 Johns Journey chased tougher recently and figures to improve in this easier spot; his narrow second place effort at this level in early January makes him the one to fear most.