Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sat., March 15, 2014)

It’s going to be fun today. A massive Pick-6 carryover of $226,505 will be offered in races four through nine.

The opener is a maiden claiming turf sprint that appears to have three main contenders. #3 Surfer Moon may offer some value at 6-1 on the morning line; the Ellis-trained gelding was far back in his debut against much tougher straight maidens but he continues to impress in the morning and will add blinkers today. #4 J Kat is another class dropper likely to improve; Talamo stays aboard for Dollase and he’s a fit on numbers. #5 Distillery, a route-to-sprint play, missed in a photo vs. similar last month and should be in the thick of things once again.

#6 Maximinus blew a two length lead in mid-stretch in a similar $50,000 claimer last time out so he may be a tad hard to trust, but he should be the controlling speed once again in today’s second race and in a field lacking in closers he may be able to stick it out. Bejarano stays aboard, but at 8/5 on the morning line there’s not a lot of value to be found. You can use him as a rolling exotic single or perhaps just pass the race.

The third race, a maiden claiming sprint for 3-year-olds, could be a good spot for a newcomer and #3 Bart the Barrister fits the bill. The Southern Image gelding has trained well enough for Mitchell to indicate he’s fit and ready and he certainly won’t have to be a world beater to act with this group. #8 W. Giles seems like the best of the known element; the Harrington-trained gelding has an improving pattern and seems to be working well at Los Alamitos, so another forward move is likely.

The fourth race kicks off the Pick-6. Miller has two major contenders and we’ll use both. #5 Ciao Bella Luna comes off a clever win on Sunshine Millions day and she earned a career top speed figure in doing so. She’s been kept on edge with a healthy work pattern at San Luis Rey Downs, switches to Bejarano, and figures to run another blinder again. Stable mate #7 Could Be Trouble, second off a layoff, lands the cozy outside post and should settle in behind the leaders and be ready to pounce when called upon. She’s reunited with Nakatani, who has won twice with her in the past. #4 Tribal Spy is also worth including; the Kitchingman-trained filly is genuine and consistent and has had prior success over the Hillside course.

The fifth race is treacherous. We’ll recommend using #7 Tenkiller Kid and #8 Brave Act to small ticket players but we’d suggest you use as many as you can afford to. Tenkiller Kid chased tougher up north and returns to the southland in a proper spot for O’Neill. His speed figures are gradually rising and he appears capable of another forward move. Brave Act finally broke his maiden in career start number 11; maybe the light switch has finally gone in and he’ll be able to string a few good ones together. His main track runner-up try two races back earned a sharp figure, and with Bejarano staying aboard the Truman-trained gelding may be the one to beat.

Maiden three year old fillies meet over a mile on turf in the sixth race. #11 Bird In Love flashed promise in her debut; the O’Neill-trained filly rallied with purpose to finish second down the hill and today stretches out to what should be a more suitable trip. She continues to impress in the morning and Bejarano stays aboard. #9 Star Act missed by a half-length in a similar affair at nine furlongs recently; she shortens to a mile today and shouldn’t be inconvenienced. Stevens and Proctor make a powerful team. We’ll prefer Bird in Love on top but use both in our rolling exotics.

The Santa Margarita is card as the seventh race; it’s a contentious affair with several legitimate contenders. #1 Fiftysahdesofhay didn’t get the best of runs in the La Canada and finished fourth, beaten just a length, but today with clear sailing she’ll make her presence felt. She’s certainly overdue for a win and we’re expecting to see a top effort even though a minor problem caused her to miss the Santa Maria last month. #5 Let Faith Arise offers value at 4-1 on the morning line; the improving Hollendorfer-trained filly is lightly-raced with plenty of upside and with another forward move today could be the one to beat. We’ll double the race in our rolling exotics; you can use a few more if your budget allows.

A very strong group of allowance turf performers meet in the eighth race at nine furlongs; this is another race that goes quite deep in contention. #5 Rookie Sensation returns to turf after a failed attempt on conventional dirt in the Strub Stakes; we’re expecting the Sheriffs-trained colt to bounce back in a big way with the switch to Nakatani. #4 Horizonatalyspeakin seems likely to be the controlling speed and will take them a long way if not policed, while #2 Di Giorgio is getting acclimated for McAnally and really won’t have to improve all that much to win. We’ll try to survive using these three with slight preference going to Rookie Sensation.

The finale is a better-than-par straight maiden sprint for state-bred 3-year-olds. #3 Whine for Wine closed with interest in a promising debut for Hollendorfer and earned a good figure in doing so; we’re expecting Bejarano to have him along in time. #4 K Thirty Eight, third in the same race ‘Wine exits, is another second-timer capable of moving forward with experience. #7 Masochistic has shown excellent speed in the morning for Avila and represents stranger danger. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotic play.