Handicapping with Jeff Siegel
Sunday’s nine-race card begins with a first post of 1 p.m. There are several attractive wagering opportunities.
Trainer Ron Ellis is exceptional with the first-off-the-claim angle that’s the main reason #7 Nueva Fortuna should be a rolling exotic single. Lightly-raced and drawn comfortably outside, she’s especially fond of this main track and has the proper style for this extended sprint distance. If you can get close to her morning line odds of 5/2, take it.
We’ll double the second race, a maiden claiming miler for juvenile fillies. #9 Midnight Candy surfaces for a tag for the first time and has speed figures that are more than good enough, so she’s the logical top pick. However, at 6/5 on the morning, she doesn’t offer much in the way of value. #8 Yes Yes Baroness chased much tougher sprinting in her debut, continues to train like she has some ability and is very likely much better than her first race indicates. Baze stays aboard. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.
A fairly good group of entry-level sprinters occupy the third race. #3 Cherubin gets back to conventional dirt, and we suspect he’ll return to his best form. Freshened since late July and showing a considerable amount of spark in recent drills, the D’Amato-trained colt is good enough to win with his best effort. #6 Kristo had no chance when an overmatched runner-up to Masochistic in a highly-rated race at Del Mar but this group should be within his range, and he’s another with a good record over the Santa Anita main track. He’s a fit on figures and should draft into an ideal pace-prompting position. We’ll give Cherubin a slight edge but use both in our rolling exotics.
The fourth race is a straight maiden turf miler; it’s a below par field for the level and an ideal spot for the once-started Mr. Excavator to earn his diploma. Fourth but beaten less than a length in a similar event at Del Mar, the Gaines-trained colt will benefit greatly from the outing and should produce a major forward move today. We like him on top but we’ll also toss in#4 Silver Torch, unproven on turf but runner-up in his last pair with strong numbers.
The fifth race is a restricted (nw-3) $16,000 sprint; we’ll double the race without a great deal of conviction and if you prefer to spread, go right ahead. #4 Zippingaroundtwon has won over this track in the past, ran well when third in a similar spot at Del Mar last time out and continues to hold his form in the morning. #3 Cuzan shows up for a tag for the first time and though he’s never been keen on winning (two wins, nine seconds) he does have several back numbers that would put him strongly in the fray.
#2 Daddy’s Duo gets a nice spot in the sixth race, a maiden claiming sprint for juvenile fillies. The daughter of Scat Daddy drops to her lowest level ever, has better than par speed figures, and very little to beat. The main concern – that this represents her third consecutive class drop (despite having finished second last time) – makes her a bit suspicious so this hardly qualifies as a prime play, but if she doesn’t win, we’re not really sure who will. Let’s make her a default rolling exotic single and not get too involved in the other pools.
#1 Big John B has been awesome in winning his last three starts while moving up to the top of the class in the older turf handicap division on the West Coast. We’re fully expecting the veteran gelding to extend his streak to four, though at 8/5 on the morning line (and likely to go lower at post time) there really isn’t much we can do with him. He’s a logical short priced rolling exotic single.
The eighth race is a fairly strong sprint for juvenile fillies and a couple of promising first-timers catch the eye. #5 Ol’ Fashion Gal has done good work in the morning for Casse and Talamo has gotten to know her; the daughter of Sky Mesa looks fit and ready for a big effort and offers considerable value at 6-1 on the morning line. #1 Olivia’s Greatdane is another newcomer with an impressive work tab; the Baffert-trained filly must overcome the rail but she’s trained well enough to earn “must use” status in rolling exotic play. The best of the known element is #8 Moons Over Me, a closing third in her debut for Cassidy without being knocked about and very likely to benefit considerably from the experience. Smith rides her back and the extra half furlong will compliment her style. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics while preferring Ol’ Fashion Gal on top.
The nightcap is a deep first-level turf miler for sophomore fillies and requires a bit of a spread. #13 Grazenette gets the worst of the draw but if she can somehow negotiate a trip she can fit with these based on recent speed figures. She’s also a proven winner over this course and Talamo fits her nicely. #7 Royal Temptress was no factor sprinting on the main track in her local debut seems sure to improve a bunch today while catching much more favorable conditions. Smith rides her back for Puype. #6 Charlie’s Angel makes her U.S. debut for Hollendorfer and her French form was strong, though much of it came over very soft ground. She’s worth tossing in as “stranger danger.”