Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Fri., March 14, 2014)

The Friday program begins with a five-runner restricted claimer. #1 Cuneo returns to the main track and a repeat of his maiden claiming runaway score two races back probably will be good enough to beat this field. #4 Warren’s Tyler S. is another turf-to-dirt play while turning back in trip and though he’s 1-for-19 he still must be considered a contender, especially with the break in the weights.

#3 Versye is well-spotted in the second race, an entry-level sprint for state-bred 3-year-old fillies. A winner of her debut last September, she returns for O’Neill with a healthy series of works and should be able to control this five-runner field from start to finish.

The third race begins the Pick-6, and it’s a spread affair for claiming fillies and mares two-turning on turf. #5 Spiced Latte won gamely down the hill last month and she can be effective over a distance of ground as well, so we’ll put her slightly on top. #4 Love Tale returns to her winning level and should return to good form after being overmatched and no factor in a much tougher allowance affair. #6 Born Lucky just won an off-the-turf event in game style but she can act on the lawn as well, and this barn’s been hot all meeting. We’ll toss her in; feel free to use a few more if you can afford to.

#4 Goyan, away since New Year’s Day but continuing to impress in the morning for Gaines, adds blinkers today and looks ready to graduate. He exits a fairly hot race and gets a break in the weight with the switch to bug boy Van Dyke. #5 Practical, away since August, tries maiden claimers for the first time and if he runs to his works he’ll be a fit in this league.

The fifth race is a downhill turf sprint for older maiden distaffers and #1 Yana looks ready to earn her diploma. The Spawr-trained filly switches to Smith, has a distinct speed figure edge on her rivals and likely has plenty of improvement in her. The rail is no help but we don’t believe the poor post will prevent her from winning.

We’ll go three deep in the sixth race, a restricted $12,500 claimer at a mile. #5 Crusher gets the edge; the O’Neill-trained gelding returns to the main track – probably his preferred surface – and his numbers continue to rise. We’ll also include #7 Shackbamalama (stretching out and likely to be on or near the lead throughout) and #8 Trouble X Two (a class dropper with a number two runs back that makes him a major fit in this league).

The featured seventh race, a downhill turf sprint for second-level allowance horses, should boil down to #7 A Toast to You and #8 Brokered, and we’ll use both in our rolling exotics. A Toast to You comes off a nice score over this course and distance against a similar field and he’ll likely run every bit as good today. #8 Brokered earned a giant number when beating a lesser field last month; with continued progress he’ll be more than capable of winning right back.

The nightcap is a maiden claiming sprint for bottom-rungers. The known element isn’t much, so let’s take a close look at a newcomer. #3 Slewissurfing has done enough in the morning to indicate he has more than enough speed to beat a field such as this and the Ellis-trained gelding looks extremely live under Talamo. We’ll put him on top but double the race using #5 Profile, in the money in his last pair and inching upward in the speed figure department.