Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Thu., April 10, 2014)

A new week begins with an eight-race Thursday program that contains four maiden races. Our work is cut out for us, so let’s see what we can come up with.

In the opener, both #2 Newfound Gold and #4 Road Ready are coming off all-out, taxing wins, so there’s no guarantee either will run as well today. However, in a lackluster bottom-rung claimer, it will be something of a surprise if the winner isn’t either one or the other. Neither offers much in the way of value, so this is a race we’ll probably stay clear of.

#2 Dancinginthestreet looks ready to graduate in the second race, a seven furlong sprint for older maiden fillies and mares. She closed with purpose in an abbreviated sprint last month and has trained well since, so we’re expecting another forward move. Bejarano should have her rolling in the final furlong. #6 Courageous Call may wind up being the controlling speed and with that kind of trip she might be hard to catch. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics.

The Pick-6 begins in the third race. #5 Footbridge appears to be rounding into winning form and with the return to the main track and the stretch-out to 10 furlongs the Harty-trained colt seems primed for a big effort. We like him on top but in rolling exotic play we’ll also toss in #6 Seeking the West, a fit on speed figures and with the style that should work well at this distance.

The fourth race in a poor maiden claimer that could be won by just about any of them. #3 Ryleigh Ruler walked out of the gate and then closed a gap in her debut last summer; she returns for Diodoro and should enjoy this extended sprint trip. #5 New Nature has shown the ability to pass a few in the final furlong and might be able to out-grind this group. #8 Alice Roadtrain shortens up a half-furlong and could be tough to catch if she can shake loose early. These are the three that we’ll prefer but feel free to spread as deeply as you can afford to.

The fifth race is a grass grab bag for older mid-level claiming fillies and mares over a mile. #6 Smart N Dreamy returns to her claim level for Hollendorfer and a repeat of her race-before-last puts her right in the thick of things. She makes a positive switch to Bejarano and looks like the one to beat. #1 Elegant launches a comeback for O’Neill and represents inside speed. If her Pomona works have her fit she’ll have a chance. #5 Spiced Latte seeks her third straight after winning a pair of photo finishes against slightly lesser company; her winning spirit must be respected and she continues to do well in the morning for Puype.

The sixth race is an inscrutable maiden claiming abbreviated sprint for bottom-rung claimers. The aggregate record in 2014 for trainers with runners in this race is 1-for-65. We have absolutely no opinion. Any of them can win. Or none of them.

The featured seventh race looks very similar to a March 16 event and contains five runners exiting that race, including the first four finishers. #2 Noise of the Crown and #7 Mark of a Gem finished one-two in that downhill turf sprint with a nose separating each at the wire; they figure just as close again today. Stranger danger comes in the form of #5 Tiz a Kiss, away since Del Mar but training solidly for Sadler at San Luis Rey Downs. She has shown a liking for turf and could fire a huge shot fresh.

The finale is a maiden claiming router for 3-year-olds; it’s another scramble with a few price possibilities. At 8-1 on the morning line #7 Code of Pleasure deserves a look; the Hofmans-trained colt stretches out for the first time and his sprint efforts give some hope that he’ll like the added ground. #8 Warrensgoldenyears is strictly the one to beat off his last solid effort at this level, while #6 Closet E stretches out again and will take them as far as he can on the front end.