Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sat., June 21, 2014)

A nine race Saturday program on this first day of summer begins with a short-priced standout in the opener, a six furlong maiden special weight sprint for fillies and mares. #6 Bonus Spin was beaten as the choice in her debut but earned a good figure and has come back to work well. Drawn comfortably outside, the Mullins-trained daughter of Hard Spun shouldn’t miss today, but will offer no little to no wagering value.

A competitive starter handicap down the Hillside course is carded as the second race; there’s only six runners and the field includes another short priced favorite. #5 Spring Up, shortening up and exiting graded stakes company, is more than capable at any trip and is back with Nakatani, who won on him two races back. He’s 4/5 on the morning line and it will be no surprise if he justifies his favorite’s role. #2 Tones (route-to-sprint angle, likes this course) and #3 Candy’s Sunrise (first off the claim for Mullins) warrant consideration for the minor awards.

#3 Southern Sunrise looks logical in the third race, a restricted (nw-3) $16,000 claiming sprint. Raised only one level after a highly-rated win just two weeks ago, the Dehere gelding is being dangled by Puype and must have his problems but will win again if he has at least one good one left. However, at 7/5 on the morning line, he’s another offering little to work with.

The Pick-6 begins in the fourth race, a soft $50,000 maiden claiming five furlong sprint for juvenile fillies. Those with prior experience don’t look enticing so let’s embrace a newcomer, #3 Positivo, from the Harrington barn. Bred for speed and showing plenty of it in her drills at Los Alamitos, the daughter of Marino Marini looks plenty fit and ready to win right now. We’ll make her a straight play at anywhere near her 5/2 morning line odds and a rolling exotic single.

The Singletary Stakes for 3-year-olds over a mile on turf came up strong. We’re especially intrigued by #2 Toowindytohaulrox in his first start around two turns. The Harlan’s Holiday colt, freshened since January and training extremely well for his return, has excellent sprint figures but has the style to run long and we’re expecting the D’Amato-trained colt to make the most of the opportunity. There’s potentially some very good value at or around his morning line odds of 6-1. #4 Home Run Kitten won the La Puente Stakes in April and then followed up with a strong allowance score over this course and distance last month. He’s strictly the one to beat. #7 Reno Rebel is worth including somewhere at a price; the son of Big Brown was visually pleasing in an overnight win on grass up north and with further improvement could make his presence felt in this tougher spot under Smith.

The sixth race is a starter’s allowance six furlong sprint; it’s a tough affair and probably requires a spread in rolling exotic play. #1 Presiding Justice is lightly-raced and improving but in two starts hasn’t shown any tactical speed, and from the rail at this distance his task won’t be easy. The Sadler-trained gelding will need luck but if he can secure room he’ll turn it on late. #4 Mavericks Gun, first off the claim for O’Neill, is solid in the speed figure department but we’re wondering if six furlongs might be a tad sharp for him. #3 Solid Wager, in his third start off a layoff for Miller, seems a progressive type and should have every chance under Talamo. These are the three we’ll prefer but feel free to go deeper if you can afford to.

The classy #4 Unbridled Command makes his first start since February of 2013 in the seventh race, a strong allowance affair at a mile on turf. Winner of the Hollywood Derby and the Saranac Stakes as a 3-year-old, he’s now in Miller’s barn (excellent stats with layoff runners) and has been training smartly for his comeback at San Luis Rey Downs. There’s plenty of pace in here to compliment his late-running style, so we’ll put him on top while also including #2 Horizontalyspeakin (loves course but may be a need-the-lead type and is hooking other speed) and #7 Trend (rusty in his comeback but training sharply since and likely to improve for Mandella).

The $200,000 Summertime Oaks for 3-year-old fillies is the eighth race feature; #4 Delta Flower is strictly the one to beat in her first try over a distance of ground. The Arkansas-bred filly finished third in her debut at Oaklawn Park in February and hasn’t lost since, with three straight victories including the Angel’s Flight Stakes in her first California appearance last month for Hollendorfer. Based on pedigree she she’ll handle today’s trip and Nakatani should have here in a good pace-stalking position throughout. She’s 5/2 on the morning line and that seems just about right.

The nightcap brings together a full field of maiden 3-year-old fillies sprinting down the Hillside course; we’ll try to survive using just two. #8 Williams Bay has done everything like a good filly in the morning for Proctor and looks extremely live in her racing debut. The daughter of Kitten’s Joy lands Smith and may go lower than her 4-1 morning line odds. #3 Pouncerounddaclock flashed promise in her debut when finishing a solid third over this course and distance last month and appears clearly the best of the known element.