Santa Anita News
Jeff Siegel's Prime Picks for Wednesday, Feb. 25
We have another Pick-6 Carryover Wednesday - $169,419 in the pool as we kick things off – and the card is typically deep and challenging. We’ll pass the early Daily Double that presents little wagering value and kick things off with the 3rd race. The Pick-6 lid-lifter presents us with a downhill turf dash for mid-grade claimers and we’ll try to escape using just two horses - #1 My City by the Bay and #9 Kewen. My City by the Bay, freshened since mid- November, has historically been more comfortable finishing second than winning (15 starts, 3 wins, 7 seconds) but he shows up in a $40,000 claimer, his lowest level ever, and has shown the ability to fire fresh in the past. The rail post isn’t preferred, but he’s good enough on numbers and the Carava barn has enjoyed a solid season. The race doesn’t have a whole lot of pace, so Talamo should have this veteran gelding close up throughout. Kewen is a 9-year-old gelding who, like My City by the Bay, has made a habit out of finishing second. He’s another coming off a more than three month layoff but the works are sharp and he’s another who seems to do well following a brief vacation. Garcia’s won with him in the past, and the oldtimer always has been partial to this turf course. He’ll be rolling in the final furlong. Maiden claimers going a flat mile offer a tough proposition in the 4th race. We’ll go three-deep, using #1 Morton Owen; #2 Laser Point; and #6 Only Be Cause. Morton Owen takes a drop in class, lands the rail, retains Bejarano and tries a distance of ground for the first time (he’s bred for it). The Mitchell-trained gelding projects very nicely in this spot. Laser Point was beaten as the choice against similar company in an extended sprint but he switches to Gomez in his first route try for Mullins and seems sure to improve. Only Be Cause earned a career top speed figure when second in a similar spot sprinting 11 days ago and with another forward move today for Baffert he could be hard to deny. The 5th race is another grass grab bag and we’ll use three trying to stay alive. #2 Sunny Peace broke her maiden gamely while under pressure throughout from the rail at seven furlongs and you’d better believe that on this racing surface that’s a very difficult task. As such, that’s a better winning effort than the raw figures give her credit for. Stretching out and trying grass today, the Gallagher-trained import could be long gone on the front end if not respected. #3 Moscow Rising has improving numbers for Jones, has a solid work tab since her last race on New Year’s Eve, and is strictly the one to beat. #5 If Not for You has hit the board in six of nine career starts and could be a late threat if the early pace comes up faster than par. The 6th race is a modest maiden claimer and you may want to utilize a spread strategy. Two that you must certainly use are #4 Sarah’s Melody and #6 Mysterious Marissa. Sarah’s Melody has steadily improving speed figures and a decent try over this track at the level last month. She would appear best of the known element. Among the first timers, the morning patrol believes that #6 Mysterious Marissa may have a chance in a soft field. The daughter of Royal Academy hasn’t broken any stop watches in her a.m. drills, but trainer Clifford Sise excels with first time starters, most of whom run much better than they work, so beware. Today’s feature is another downhill grass sprint we’re intrigued by #3 Got Tobe Rio and #5 Real Fancy Runner. Got Tobe Rio seems like the quickest filly in the field and with Nureyev on the top side of her pedigree she’s worth using in her first start on turf. A recent bullet five furlong work since her last race should have her on edge. Real Fancy Runner clearly exits the best race and should be in a perfect pace prompting spot throughout. She’s the likely choice and strictly the one to beat. If you’re alive into the 8th race, hopefully you’ve got the field covered. Nothing in here is trustworthy, but our two top picks are #3 River Spey and #10 L’ Aziza. River Spey ran pretty well in her debut, finishing with some interest to be third in what was a fast race for the level. She drops to the bottom today and horses from the Puype barn do extremely well in their second career starts. We’re a little surprised with the class drop – after a promising debut we thought she might be headed upward – but perhaps the barn is simply trying to win a race (and she’s a 4-year-old, so maybe $25,000 is all she’s worth, anyway). L’ Aziza failed without an apparent excuse vs. similar two weeks ago but her kind of speed is always dangerous in these abbreviated dashes and we’ll throw her in despite trainer Patrick Biancone's 1-for-38 record this season.