Jeff Siegel's Prime Picks for Saturday, April 11 at Santa Anita

Today’s program doesn’t offer much quality and does look fairly chalky. We’ll pass the 1st race – a maiden claimer with no value – and begin our action in the 2nd race while expecting #5 My Maloof Rocker to regain her winning form. The Carava-trained filly lost a heartbreaker when nosed out vs. similar last month but certainly performed admirably and beats this field with a similar effort. She wants to be held up early and allowed to run late, and that’s exactly how Rosario rode her last time. She doesn’t have an extended run, though, and her late move needs to be timed perfectly.

In the 3rd race, #3 Magna Cum Laude has little to beat and gets the money with a repeat of his race before last. The Hess-trained gelding disappointed when well-backed in his most recent outing but switches to Nakatani and should be within striking range in a field without much speed.

#7 Lag do Oro also rates top billing pretty much by default in the 4th race. The San Luis Rey Downs shipper seems to be gradually improving and should have enough early speed in a paceless sprint to gain favorable early position. With another slight forward move today, he’ll be along in time.

The 5th race is a grass grab bag and any one of a half dozen could win it. Use as many as you can afford to use in the rolling exotics.

The 6th race kicks off a very playable late Pick-4, and we’ll begin the proceedings using #1 Diamond Tags, #2 Stormy Slew and #6 Stevie’s Afleet in an exacta/trifecta box and in all of our rolling exotics. Diamond Tags had a good sprint tune up in her recent comeback for Baffert and today stretches out from the favorable rail post to a distance she’s bred to like. She figures to take a step forward and be in the battle throughout. Stormy Slew was thrown to the wolves in just her second career start when unplaced as a maiden in the Santa Anita Oaks but returns to reality today following a series of sharp recent works and seems sure to be strong factor throughout. It may be significant that Rosario jumps off Diamond Tags to ride the O’Neill-trained filly. Also toss in Stevie’s Afleet at 10-1 on the morning line. In the money in both of her starts in maiden claiming affairs, the Cerin-trained filly has improving numbers and a pedigree that should allow her to handle this two-turn trip.

The La Puente Stakes goes as the 7th race and even with his poor outside draw, #12 Battle of Hastings will be hard to deny. The Mullins-trained gelding was as visually impressive as one could be winning the Baldwin Stakes with an eye catching late turn of foot and if he can project that ability around two-turns, he should develop into a major turf star in the 3-year-old ranks this year. Worth noting is that he won a 16-horse valuable handicap at Doncaster over a mile as a 2-year-old, so we’re thinking today’s added distance won’t bother him in the least. For exacta players, consider the Bay Area shipper #4 Arden Park, unbeaten in two starts over the Tapeta surface – both at a mile – while looking like a high quality colt for Gilchrist. We can’t vouch for his ability on turf, but we’ll use him just in case he likes it.

She’s not exactly Zenyatta or Life is Sweet, but the improving Fusaichi Pegasus filly #5 Theodora is yet another very talented older filly in the John Shirreffs barn and she seems well spotted to record her first added money win in the 8th race, the Santa Lucia Handicap. Unless #1 Champagne Eyes shows early speed – and she hasn’t been out in 15 months – Theodora should have a very comfortable pace setting or prompting trip. She’s solid on numbers, continues to work sharply, and likely has further improvement in her. She looks like a legitimate 8/5 morning line favorite.

We’ll go three deep in the 9th race in an exacta/trifecta box and also in our rolling exotics. #5 Gifted Gina graduated in good style recently and did so with a career top speed figure. With grass breeding on both sides of her pedigree, she rates a good look at 8-1 on the morning while stretching out for the first time. #6 Moscow Rising, beaten as the choice in similar company in her last pair, continues to act sharp in the morning and figures in the fray, although a 1-for-15 career mark doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. We’ll use her nonetheless. #7 Dailies isn’t particularly fast on numbers but we love her turf pedigree and her one try on the lawn against tougher straight maidens wasn’t half bad. And virtually everything Kathy Walsh sends out these days must be respected.