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Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sunday, June 8, 2014)
The Sunday program, featuring a Pick-6 carryover of $109,125, begins with a maiden claiming dash for juvenile fillies. #8 Myrna Lou split the field in a Turf Paradise stakes race and should find this group within her range. #6 Wackett exits a hot race and is another likely to improve a bunch in this softer spot. We’ll try to get by in our rolling exotics using only these two.
The second race finds #3 Elegant back at her winning level and the O’Neill-trained mare looks on paper pretty much like the 7/5 morning line favorite that she is. #1 Love Tale ran well at this level three runs back – she was beaten a nose – and her subsequent win in a starter’s handicap charts very well in this spot. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.
High priced maiden claimers sprint five and one-half furlongs in the third race; it’s an open affair requiring a bit of a spread. #5 Aleander shows up for a tag for the first time and the Baffert-trained colt should fit well with these despite the long layoff. The recent works are okay and he really doesn’t have all that much to beat. #4 Juliet’s Tizzy ran well against softer recently while earning an improved speed figure and with another forward move he’ll be right there with these. #7 Magna Warrior chased tougher in a hot race last month; he’ll stick much better with these in his second start since joining the Mullins barn.
The Pick-6 begins in the fourth race, a contentious downhill turf sprint for state-bred fillies and mares. #3 Jade With Envy earned a career top speed figure when narrowly missing over this course and distance in April in her first start for Puype and has trained steadily since to remain on edge. She’s best when held up and allowed to run late. #2 Prayer Be Mine tries grass for the first time while removing blinkers and the lightly-raced daughter of Lucky Pulpit gets a break in the weight with the switch to bug boy Van Dyke. If she takes to the lawn she’ll be a strong factor throughout.
Older state-bred maidens sprint six furlongs in the fifth race, with #4 Next Book looking like the logical favorite after three consecutive placings in photo finishes. #5 Babe’s Journey has shown ability in the morning for Hollendorfer and seems plenty fit for a big try in his debut, while #6 Watch It Buster was scratched out of a maiden claimer to be run protected today and has worked well enough to deserve strong consideration.
The sixth race is a starter’s handicap at a mile on turf and seems the proper spot for #2 Soi Phet to get back in winning form. Overmatched in his last five starts – all stakes races – the Powell-trained gelding clearly should outclass this field, but he’ll have to channel his inner Forego while toting 129 lbs. #5 Husband’s Folly was claimed back by Hollendorfer in a recent winning performance and at the weights – he’ll be getting seven lbs. from Soi Phet – the veteran Decarchy gelding looks capable of making another strong for it.
A claiming race carded for 3-year-olds only is slated for the seventh race, and #4 Happy Idea, haltered for $25,000 in late April by Hess, returns at the same level despite having just won. This isn’t the healthiest of signs, but if he can turn in two alike the Private Gold gelding should be in the battle. #5 This Cat’s Awesome broke his maiden for a tag last month with an okay number and with another forward move should be in the picture. However, the one to beat is #7 Cousin Ricky, up from the $12,500 ranks following a Yakteen claim and a strong fit on speed figures despite the class hike. The Council Member gelding has a healthy pattern and a good pace prompting style. We’ll give ‘Ricky a slight edge while using all three in rolling exotic play.
The featured Crystal Water Stakes goes as the eighth race; the one mile state-bred turf affair is another open affair that has a number of logical contenders; we’ll try to get by just using two. #6 Mega Heat is genuine and consistent and stretches out again to his favorite distance (five wins in six starts). His numbers are strong and Nakatani will have him stalking the pace, ready to pounce. #3 Stoney Fleece, a $62,500 Carava claim in April, shortens from 10 furlongs to a flat mile but is capable at this trip and retains Espinoza, who knows him well. The veteran gelding will be running on late.
The finale is a maiden claiming sprint for bottom-rung fillies and mares. #1 Fair Praise closed a gap to be a fairly promising runner-up in her debut last month and if she avoid trouble from the rail and produce any kind of forward move she’ll be dangerous. The one to beat, though, is #8 Nothing to Hide, second at this level in a fairly decent effort up north and today trying conventional dirt for the first time. The Miller-trained filly gets bug boy Van Dyke and will benefit from a bit of a weight break. The concern, of course, is that she’s been a beaten favorite in three of her four career starts.