Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Thu., June 5, 2014)

A pick-6 carryover of $129,366 awaits players as Belmont Stakes week begins with an eight-race program beginning at 1 p.m.

We’ll double the first race in our rolling exotic play. #5 Soar Home returns to the main track, drops a notch, and probably beats this field with a repeat of her race before last. #3 Super Defence has been working quite sharply for her comeback and looks like the probable pace setter in her first try around two turns. She ran well fresh on this track last year.

The second race is a six-runner downhill turf sprint for claiming fillies and mares; it’s a tough affair and we’ll use three in our rolling exotics but without any conviction. #3 Thermal Nermal looked good beating a similar field last month and has trained well since, so another good effort is likely. #2 Joeandbetty’sbaby is a route-to-sprint play and figures to be a late threat under Nakatani. #6 Burns Turn has won over this course and will appreciate the class drop.

The Pick-6 begins with the third race, a maiden juvenile sprint for fillies, and appears to be a pretty decent affair. #8 Screaming Skylar brought $505,000 at the Ocala March Sale where she was impressive breezing a furlong in 10 2/5 seconds. She looks cranked up and ready to show her stuff. #2 Bennett Jean went the same distance at the same sale in 10 1/5 seconds and looks plenty live for West and Talamo. #5 Champion Risk has done everything asked in the morning for O’Neill and should be a square price. We’ll use all three while preferring Screaming Skylar on top.

#2 Theatre Star and #6 Unusual Hottie will be hard to beat in the fourth race and we’ll use both in our rolling exotics. Theatre Star cut out wicked fractions and understandably weakened late in the Wilshire Stakes in her last outing; these are easier and she’ll probably try gate to wire tactics again. Unusual Hottie can settle into to a stalking position and fire; in a race that could have hot early fractions she looks like the most logical of the closers and therefor gets top billing.

The fifth race is a bottom-rung extended sprint for fillies and mares; we’ll recommend doubling the race for small ticket players but if you can afford to spread, by all means do so. #2 Wine Country Wanda has been something of a money burner but she’s a route-to-sprint play and in a weak affair deserves one more chance. The switch to Talamo could easily make the winning difference. First-timer #5 Do It Mobile Style has shown enough in the morning at Los Alamitos to warrant a look against this group, so we’ll toss her in. The others are hard to like but at this level anything goes.

A strong first-level allowance event for fillies and mares over a mile on turf is another that might require a spread strategy; we’ll go three deep and hope that’s sufficient. #4 Miss Well Molded drops sharply in class for new trainer Miller, has looked fine in the morning of late and is more than good enough with her best effort to beat this field. She should be prominent throughout but doesn’t need the lead to win. #2 Tiz a Kiss promises to be a late threat in her first start since joining the Sise barn and she’ll appreciate a faster that par early pace. #3 Wonderful Lie is lightly raced with plenty of upside and gets a rather significant break in the weights. She doesn’t have a noteworthy turf pedigree but there’s no reason the switch in surface should inconvenience her.

The seventh race is a six runner mid-level claiming miler and is yet another open event that has a number of possibilities. #4 When We Met, first off the claim for Belvoir, had good form up north recently and should fit very nice at this level on this circuit. He’s won over the Santa Anita main track in the past and the projected race shape should complement his late-running style. #2 Fit to Rule moves up a notch for new trainer Miller following a claim and will try gate-to-wire tactics from his comfortable inside draw. He likes to win and loves this track. #5 Graeme Crackerjack, claimed in his last pair, switches to Talamo, is a fit on figures, and should be rolling late. These are the three we’ll prefer but the other starters have credentials as well.

The nightcap is a $40,000 claiming turf miler; there are eight starters but a logical case can be made for at least half the field. #3 Hobbits Hero seeks his third straight score but is dropping a notch while bypassing the chance to win his first condition. This isn’t a sign of confidence, but we do respect the barn (Mullins) and the son of Aragon appears to be training well enough. #4 Photography is rounding into form as he acclimates for Belvoir and switches to Talamo. Look for him to be running on late. #7 Number Five shows up in a claimer for the first time, fits on speed figures, and should draft into an ideal pace stalking position.