Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Thu., June 19, 2014)

Two weeks remaining in the winter/spring/summer Santa Anita season. Eight races are carded for the Thursday program with first post at 1 p.m.

A small but strong group of juvenile fillies sprint five furlongs in the opener and with just four runners there will be no show wagering. #5 So You Say drilled a eighth in 9 4/5 seconds (fastest of the sale) in Ocala in April and should get plenty of support as a first-timer from the Baffert stable. She travels wide up front but clearly has plenty of zip. #2Caval, from the first crop of Blame, is bred to run long, of course, but she’s showing signs of precocity for Hollendorfer.

The second race, a maiden claiming extended sprint, finds #4 Antinanco dropping again in class while seeking his winning level for Headley. The Sky Mesa gelding adds blinkers following a distant fourth place effort vs. tougher two weeks ago and in a shallow six-runner affair looks good enough to graduate. We’ll use him as a rolling exotic single pretty much by default.

The Pick-6 begins with the third race, an entry-level optional claimer over nine furlongs on turf for fillies and mares. #5 Another Sky was visually quite impressive beating high-priced maiden claimers in early May but has been scratched twice since; the Cassidy-trained mare must be okay as she’s being protected today and had a solid recent five furlong drill. Perez stays aboard, so we’ll put her on top while also considering #4 Warren’s Rosebud, sixth with trouble in a similar affair last month but a winner over this course earlier in the meeting.

Just five go in the fourth race, a two-other-than middle distance main track event that brings back #5 Magic Mark, a more than five length winner against lesser with a big figure in April. Off the track for two months but training strongly in recent weeks for Ellis, the Benchmark gelding should draft into a comfortable pace-stalking position. #2 Tiz Dynamic likes the front end and probably will inherit the lead; the Baltas-trained gelding has rising numbers and an admirable record (four wins in eight starts) over the Santa Anita main track. These are just two contenders but any one of the five is capable of winning in what has to be a spread affair for rolling exotic players.

#4 Superboot seems well-placed to graduate in the fifth race, a Hillside turf sprint for $50,000 maiden sellers. Second off the claim for Miller, the Irish-bred gelding was a solid but no excuse runner-up under similar conditions last month and probably won’t have to improve much today. Miller’s other starter, #3 Super Reagan, was claimed for $20,000 in a troubled fourth place effort earlier this month and with Irish River on the bottom of his pedigree he could produce a strong forward move in his first try on grass.

Miller also has a logical contender in the sixth race, a first-level optional claiming abbreviated sprint for fillies and mares. #3 Fly to Freedom broke her maiden in sharp style off a long layoff two runs back and then was nosed out vs. similar with a career-top equaling number three weeks ago. She switches to Maldonado and with another forward move looks tough. #6 Queen of the Hill does her best running from off the pace and this trip might be a tad sharp, though it must be noted that she’s one-for-one lifetime at five and one-half furlongs. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics.

The seventh race over a mile on turf seems like an ideal spot for the stretching-out Glitter of Silver, whose sire, Fulbridled, was a front-running grass router during his relatively brief career. Glitter of Silver should have more than enough early speed to establish the pace, and if he’s ever going to stay a mile it will be today. He switches to Talamo and may be worth a gamble at 6-1 on the morning line. #7 Dancer Humor earned a career top number when a strong closing second in a restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claimer over this course and distance last month and is protected today by Puype. The Sharp Humor gelding will be a late factor again today.

The finale in a weak maiden claiming extended sprint for fillies and mares; #3 Nonna Reese is the 7/5 favorite by default. She’s a 10-race maiden but has hit the board six times and is a standout on speed figures. If she doesn’t win today, we hope that you can find the one that beats her.