Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sat., May 24, 2014)

We sure hope you were with us yesterday! We swept the card – hitting every rolling daily double, Pick-3, Pick-4, Pick-5, and Pick-6 ($8,336.80 on a recommended $144 ticket) – and we’re expecting to do the same today. Well, maybe not, but here goes.

The opener is an abbreviated sprint for $12,500 sellers; we’ll use two but not with any real conviction. #6 Xuang Feng looked good beating a bottom-rung band recently with a nice number and should be competitive despite the two-level raise. However, he’s 6/5 on the morning line and there’s no value at that price. #1 Close to the Edge has been chasing tougher and if he can avoid trouble from the rail the Carava-trained gelding should be the one to fear most. He likes to win races and he’s always preferred this track.

Each of the six runners in the second race has credentials to win; we’ll double the race and hope that’s enough. #3 Stormberg may have been a bit rusty in his comeback but should be fitter and tougher today. He’s partial to this turf course and Baze will have him rolling late. #1 Rangi missed at 7/5 in a similar affair last month but he’s been earning strong speed figures lately and can be expected to fire another big shot.

The third race is a first-level allowance main track affair for fillies and mares. #7 Onna Bugeisha has rising speed figures and looks capable of regaining her winning form if she can avoid losing too much ground from her outside post at this flat mile distance. Her form says she’s pretty much a need-the-lead type but may be forced into a stalking role if she can’t clear the field into the first turn. #1 Seans Silverdancer is a sharp Oaklawn Park invader with competitive figures for this level on this circuit and from the rail she should enjoy an ideal ground-saving, second flight-trip. She’s a veteran mare who knows how to win races. We’ll use both in rolling exotic play.

The fourth race kicks off the Pick-6 sequence. #3 Warren’s Tricia R. has an improving pattern and in a below par field for $50,000 maiden claiming state-bred fillies and mares she seems as good as any. With a strong recent five furlong drill to her credit, she should be able to produce another forward move. #5 Jaycee’s Faith continues to flash excellent speed in the morning and seems very much better than her first two races indicate. If she can leave with her field today, she could be the quickest of the quick and that makes her dangerous at 6-1 on the morning line.

We’ll go three deep in the fifth race, a tough entry-level allowance affair on turf for 3-year-old fillies. #8 Front Page was visually very impressive breaking her maiden earlier this month and though she’s tackling winners today the daughter of Giant’s Causeway should love the turf and likely will continue to improve. We’ll put her on top and hope to get close to her morning line odds of 9/2. #1 Magic Spot represents dangerous inside speed and a repeat of her race before last – a gate-to-wire score with a strong figure – could make her tough to catch. #7 Cause Im a Bigshot looks like the best of the closing contingent and could be tough to contain if the race-shape compliments her style.

Maidens meet at a mile on the main track in the sixth race, a stronger-than-par affair that should find #9 Yard Line earning his diploma in his fourth career start. Although beaten as the favorite in his last pair – most recently at odds-on – the Harty-trained colt continues to earn terrific speed figures and really shouldn’t miss today with the switch to Smith. However, #5 Big Casanova has strong credentials as well, and the Miller-trained Argentine-import is a “must use” following two strong efforts on turf since his importation, one of which came against winners. He ran well on dirt in South America so the switch in surface shouldn’t be an issue.

The Charles Whittingham Handicap is carded as the seventh race and looks very much like a rematch between the one-two finishers in the Last Tycoon Stakes. #2 Quick Casanova overcame a slow start and a wide trip to produce the last run and win that race by a head; today he gets an extra furlong to work with and with good racing luck should be along in time. #6 Fire With Fire lost a heartbreaker to ‘Casanova in the Last Tycoon after leading throughout; he won the San Luis Rey Stakes before that so he’ll be a tough customer once again. They’re hard to separate so we’ll use both in our rolling exotics.

The eighth race is an extended sprint for $12,500 claiming fillies and mares; if you’re going to spread in rolling exotic play this is the race to do it. Small ticket players may try to survive using just #8 Brandon’s Princess and #4 Classic Journey. The former is genuine and consistent and dropping for the money run, but will be ridden by a 10 lb. bug rider who has yet to win a race. ‘Journey ran well at this level at 54-1 earlier this month and this ex-Los Alamitos campaigner will be a factor if she can turn in two alike.

The finale is a highly-competitive state-bred maiden turf miler; we’ll use three while strongly preferring #1 Chattering Gambler on top. The Bell-trained colt finished eagerly though never a threat in his debut sprinting on dirt and we’re expecting the son of Dixie Chatter to improve a ton stretching out on turf from the good rail post. He continues to work like he has some talent and under these conditions we’re eager to see what he can do. #5 It Is Living Water has finished in the money in four of five career starts and has better than par speed figures for the level. He should be in the fray again. #9 Wicked Heat, first off the claim for Conlon, switches to Espinoza, has worked nicely since his last start and tries turf. As a son of Unusual Heat, he should love the lawn.