Jeff Siegel's Analysis for Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010

Week three of the winter/spring Santa Anita season opens with a $50,000 claiming sprint for newly-turned 3-year-old fillies and #5 Yankee Romance seems very much the controlling speed. The daughter of Yankee Gentlemen had little behind her when graduating under wraps at Hollywood Park vs. the boys last month and likely will face a tad more pace pressure today. However, she’s a nice moving filly with a good work since ran, and with Rosario back aboard she figures to be a short price to score again.

#2 Recess also is seeking back –to-back scores and seems well spotted to do just that in the second race, a $12,500 claimer for older fillies and mares over a distance of ground. First or second in four of six career starts over the Pro Ride surface, the O’Neill-trained mare retains Bejarano and should be within striking range throughout. She’s up a notch in class following her victory at Hollywood Park last month but is facing essentially the same crew.

Two fillies exiting the same race – a starter’s allowance turf miler at Hollywood Park last month – should dominate the third event, a downhill turf dash that brings back #1 Angel Before Us and #7 Coracao Beijo. Both ran well when second and third respectively behind Living Our Dream and both should be very comfortable turning back in trip. Angel Before Us, much improved since being switched to the turf, should be forwardly placed in a field without much speed and that lack of pace may provide her with very slight edge over the deep closing Coracao Beijo, who may have been flattered just a bit last time with a race-shape aided close. Both should be used in your rolling exotics.

The fourth race looks like a spread, as these modest claiming older route types seem to take turns. The three we’ll use in our rolling exotics are #3 Skippy Due, #6 Fenice, and #8 Esporte Dos Reis, but you might want to a go a bit deeper if you can afford to. Skippy Due looked good beating a slightly lesser field in a race with a fast early pace that complimented his late running style, and on paper the fractions in today’s event should at least be legitimate, so he could come right back. His winless-in-five lifetime record over this surface is of some concern, though. Fenice exits a much tougher starter’s allowance event and should fit very nicely at this level. He’ll be running on strongly late and Bejarano won with him two races back. Esporte Dos Reis is competitive on numbers and was chasing tougher in Phoenix before making a return trip to California. He’s another who does his best running from off the pace and might be a better type now than he was here last year.

We’ll go three-deep in the fifth race, a six furlong mid grade claiming sprint for distaffers. #2 Onefurnsonofagun won a similar race at Hollywood Park last month, has won in the past over this surface as well, and should fire a similar shot today. #3 Sky Marni seeks her fourth straight victory while moving up a notch and tackling older foes, but in her present form and over a track she likes she’s very dangerous once again. And #7 Petite Cherie takes a realistic class drop for her first start since Oak Tree and the considerably easier company could be just what she needs to get back on track.

A very good allowance race for Derby-aged colts brings back impressive maiden winner Quiet Invader in today’s sixth race and if he can route as well as he sprints the Baffert-trained colt should be tough to beat. Bred to handle a middle distance and giving every indication he’ll have no trouble stretching out in his fast maiden sprint score, the son of Songandaprayer likely will be on or near the lead throughout. Baffert’s other entrant, #4 The Program, set the pace in the Cash Call Futurity before weakening late and winding up fourth, and on the basis of that effort deserves a big look as well. But Quiet Invader has had fewer chances and probably has more upside and it may be significant that Gomez takes over for this colt while Martin Garcia gets bounced to The Program.

The seventh race is a 12 furlong turf marathon for entry level allowance types and trainer Neil Drysdale has two main contenders in #7 Bourbon Bay and #11 Power Blitz, who along with long shot #9 Prize Play (I’ve got to throw him in, you know) exit the common race at Hollywood Park Dec. 4, a much tougher affair on paper. Bourbon Bay was a tad disappointing when fourth in that race but it was his first since returning from Woodbine and he has a right to move forward today. Power Blitz, a closing third in that race and a proven winner over this turf course, figures to make another forward move and is the likely choice and one to beat. Prize Play (20-1 on the morning line), finished ahead of Power Blitz when third in a similar 12-furlong turfer at Oak Tree and could get another piece of it with a similar performance today.

Modest maiden claiming sophomore fillies do battle in the finale and the race should be won by any one of three. #2 Melbisha switches to Rosario and has enough early speed to be dangerous in a soft field. She’s worked better of late and may make another forward move today. #9 Mum’s Zip has improving numbers and might not have to improve much at all off her second place effort vs. similar last month across town. And #12 Shine’n Time, comfortably drawn outside, is a bit slow in the speed figure department but retains Smith and might be most effective if held up early and allowed to run late.