Handicapping with Jeff Siegel
The Santa Anita autumn season concludes today with a mandatory payoff in a massive Pick-6 carryover of $1,335,505. First post is an hour earlier than usual at 12 noon.
The opener is a modest middle distance claimer that finds #2 Tuckers Point being raised a notch following a game score vs. bottom-rungers last month. His number was solid, so if the Carava-trained gelding can turn in two alike he’ll be dangerous right back. #5 Woodman’s Luck doesn’t seem capable of winning – he has two victories and 16 seconds and thirds during his career – but he joins the Hess barn, switches to Desormeaux, and adds blinkers, so improvement is possible. He’s certainly a strong fit on speed figures. #3 Squawk One is an interesting New Mexico invader with good tactical speed and numbers that aren’t bad. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics.
The second race is a maiden special weight sprint for older fillies and mares; there are a few nice debut runners to consider but the one with the proven form – #5 Sky Mega – figures to be hard to beat. She missed by a head in a fast, highly rated affair here last month and really won’t have to improve at all to graduate, assuming there isn’t a monster hiding in the weeds. #7 Dancinthenightaway has done some good work in the morning for Glatt and is bred to win right now (Indian Charlie). She attracts Bejarano and looks live first crack out of the box. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.
#11 Bookworm will attract most of the play in the third race, a bottom-rung maiden claiming sprint, but you have to wonder why he’s being thrown away after just two starts, neither of which were all that bad. He’s a standout on speed figures but there’s a condition question with the Baffert-trained colt, so there’s very little value to be found at what surely will be a short price. You can single Bookworm in your rolling exotics and cross your fingers that he has one good one left, or better yet simply pass the race.
The fourth race is a first level allowance turf event at a mile and has two major players, both of which should be used in rolling exotic play. #5 Grachus the Hunter has improving speed figures and with another forward move today should be hard to deny. The Palma-trained gelding can be effective on the lead or from off the pace, so Desormeaux has some options, and with two nice workouts since his last race this sophomore gelding should be set for another big effort. We like him on top but we’ll also include in our rolling exotics #8 Macho Sox, who ran well on turf at Del Mar when finishing second after cutting out the fractions and then came from slightly off the pace to win starter’s allowance affair over conventional dirt at Los Alamitos. He’s another with rising speed figures and a right to make another forward move today.
The fifth race is a good maiden two-year-old sprint that has several very nice prospects making their racing debut. We’ll try to get by using three, but feel free to spread a bit deeper if you can afford to. #1 Just Kidding must overcome the rail but this first-timer brought $110,000 at Ocala in a two-year-old in training sale and certainly didn’t attract that kind of bid due to his modest bloodlines. Smith rides for Eurton and if this colt leaves cleanly he should be able to make a run for it. #5 Dortmund was a $140,000 two-year-old purchase in Maryland and shows up in the entries with a typical blazingly fast Baffert set of workouts. The son of Big Brown looks dead fit and ready to roll. #9 Serbian Syclone, from the Miller stable, is another with a noteworthy set of workouts and many of these Miller-trained maidens at San Luis Rey Downs run better than expected. He brought $160,000 at Ocala and that’s a rather significant amount of money for a son of Wildcat Heir. He was the fastest worker in the sale (9 3/5 seconds) so you have to expect he’ll display much speed.
The sixth race is yet another unclassified affair with several promising juvenile maidens. However, the edge might go to a filly with some experience. #4 Meta Mu was off slowly in her debut and then closed with interest but much too late to make an impression in early June. She’s been off since then but has worked nicely for here return for Mulhall and should enjoy the extended six and one-half furlong sprint distance. #8 Illuminant has worked like a promising sort for McCarthy and the daughter of Quality Road was impressive in her preview during the Ocala two year old in training sale in March. She looks plenty fit and ready to run. #12 Callback, a daughter of Street Sense, was burning up the track at Los Alamitos for Baffert and then came to Santa Anita and worked six furlongs in 1:11 2/5 from the gate. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics but in an unclassified field such as this nothing, really, would be surprising.
#2 Hugh Knew looks primed for a huge run in the seventh race, a starter’s allowance affair on turf. The daughter of Henny Hughes, second off a Truman claim, has been a bit of a money burner lately but if she can avoid getting into a pace duel with the sprinter-stretching out #8 Ina Mina she should be able to handle this task. If not, #1 Q’ Viva figures to be running on strongly late. The Tribal Rule filly has run well over this course in the past and in here present form should be able to get this trip. #11 Patriotic Brother – yes she’s a filly – is lightly raced and improving and though stretching out and trying turf for the first time the daughter of Brother Derek seems like a trier and should be inconvenienced by these new conditions. All three should be used in rolling exotic play; we’ll give #2 Hugh Knew a very slight edge.
The eighth race is an excellent allowance sprint for fillies and mares over seven furlongs and it would appear the main contention drew inside. #1 Global Hottie moves up a level while seeking her third straight win and her speed figures say she’ll be more than capable of handling the task, assuming she can avoid any trouble from the real. She’s not terribly fast leaving the gate but should be able to settle into a stalking position, and it this extended sprint distance we’re expecting she’ll produce the last run. #2 Lemon de Oro, a strong second in a similar spot at six furlongs, gets more distance to work with today and should enjoy it. She’s another with rising figures and another forward move is likely. The edge goes to Global Hottie but both must be included in rolling exotic play.
The featured ninth race is the Goldikova Stakes over a mile on turf for fillies and mares; this is a very difficult affair with contenders top to bottom. Spread as deeply as you can afford to. #6 I’m Already Sexy likes the front end and when she gets it she can get very brave, as she was when winning a nice stakes at Kentucky Downs in mid-September. She arrives in peak form for Catalano and should inherit an ideal pace forcing or prompting position. #4 Strathnaver exits the Grade 1 Flower Bowl and was in too tough; she’s not overmatched against this group and with her best effort could be dangerous from off the pace under Bejarano. #1 Filimbi likely will enjoy a nice ground-saving trip from the rail and a repeat of here Del La Rose Stakes victory at Saratoga three runs back makes her a solid fit in this league. These are the three we’ll be using – maybe a slight preference should go to I’m Already Sexy in a very difficult affair.
The finale is a maiden special weight extend sprint that may boil down to just two. #11 Alfa Bird ran too good to lose when nosed out here last month and ran equally as well when second in his debut at Del Mar. The numbers in both races were strong, so this son of Birdstone will take some beating. #5 Little Curlin was getting closer with each outing and his speed figures were rising when this sophomore colt last seen in February. If he returns as well as he left, or perhaps better, the Hollendorfer-trained colt will provide strong competition.