Jeff Siegel's Prime Picks for Sunday, April 19 at Santa Anita

Closing day presents a challenging program and since there’s a mandatory payoff in the Pick-6 we might as well take a swing at it.

The 1st race is one of many maiden claimers on the program and the main contention seems situated on the far outside. #9 Whatafantasy is a first timer in the Doug O’Neill barn with a series of promising works and surfaces in what appears to be a rather modest field. Let’s use her along with the logical #10 Ivy by the Shore, who shortens up to this abbreviated sprint trip after weakening late vs. similar at seven furlongs. She retains Gryder and looks like the controlling speed from her outside draw.

The 2nd race brings back #8 Uncle Jeep, who just whipped a similar field two-turning last week and shows up in an elongated sprint today while retaining Bejarano. He won going short earlier this meeting with a strong figure, and from the cozy outside box he should be able to control this race throughout. Looks like a short priced rolling exotic single.
We’ll double the 3rd race using #3 Tripped Fuse and #6 Michelle Marie. Tripped Fuse adds blinkers, exits a tough race and should be on or near the lead throughout with the switch to Baze. Michelle Marie was overmatched in straight maiden company last time out but isn’t today, and the West-trained filly makes a positive rider switch to Rosario. In a soft race for the level, she’s a “must use” in the exotics.

The 4th race is a restricted claimer with two main contenders. #7 Miss Lydia has back figures that would win, exits a tougher race, retains Rosario, and should be a strong late threat in a weak affair. #9 Warren’s Devonline drops to her lowest level ever and figures to be prominent throughout from her outside draw. She comes back in two weeks after a series of layoffs and should show her best today.

#5 Trilliant took a sharp drop in class and beat a softer field last week while earning a number that makes him a solid threat right back in the 5th race. Mitchell sure is pulling out all the stops in his attempt to win the trainer’s title. #7 High Intellect has a series of sharp recent races for Carava, takes a two level class drop, and is the strictly the one to beat.

The 6th race is another maiden claimer with two main contenders, #3 Indomitable and #5 To Hot for You. The former flashed early speed vs. tougher before faltering and makes that all important class drop into the maiden claiming ranks while switching to Bejarano. At this shortened sprint trip, the daughter of Vindication will take some beating. To Hot for You has been impressing the private clockers while gearing up for her comeback and she could very well be a better type this time around after flashing some ability in a pair of races last summer at Del Mar.

The 7th race is an open turf affair and we recommend using as many as you can afford to. #3 Fu Peg He Rat has improving form for Sise and if he can duplicate his sprint ability at this nine furlong trip he’ll be right there. #6 When We Met is steadily moving forward with experience and should enjoy the added ground. Bejarano will have him running on strongly late. #8 African Gray is strictly the one to beat and missing by a neck in a strong race for the level last month. It was his first start on grass and clearly that’s where his future lies.

The 8th race is a difficult first level allowance race and is another that has “spread” written all over it. We’ll try to survive going three-deep, using #2 Sangaree, #3 Cause, and #5 Sensational Star. Sangaree looked good graduating recently (although not beating much) and has a right to make another forward move in just his third start off a layoff. Cause has been chasing tougher for the most part this meeting but did run second vs. similar two races back and will be tough with a repeat of that effort today. Sensational Score always is dangerous from off the pace, retains Bejarano, and is more than capable of winning with anything close to his best effort.

There’s not an ounce of speed to run with #3 Midships in the 9th race, the San Juan Capistrano Handicap, and this Mizzen Mast colt showed he could take full advantage of that type of situation when he controlled the San Luis Rey Handicap from gate to wire last month. There’s no reason he can’t do it again, and that’s why he’s a rolling exotic single and most likely winner on the program.

Another maiden claiming affair brings down the curtain and the winner should be one of #1 Christy’s Bullet, #3 Chic Chick, or #7 Hannah’s Moment. Although she must leave from the rail, Christy’s Bullet is a strong contender while dropping to the bottom maiden claiming rung and sporting a recent black type half mile blowout. She should have enough early speed to gain favorable early position. Chic Chick launches a comeback for new trainer Vienna and has worked well enough to be a strong factor off the bench. She’s also dropping out of straight maiden competition and seems sure to enjoy this much easier spot. Hannah’s Moment has finished in the money in four of five career starts and has numbers that make her a strong factor throughout under Bejarano.