Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Fri., Feb. 10, 2012)

Friday’s program begins with a $40,000 claiming mile affair restricted to 4-year-olds and it’s a toughie. #5 Bronster, freshened since early December, has been primarily a front runner throughout his career but has run well from off the pace and in fact that might be his preferred style. However, there’s not lot of speed in here so Bejarano will have to judge the situation soon after the start. There are a number of different directions you can go in; #1 Moment of Weakness had a sharp five furlong work recently and may be perking up; #2 Red Sharp Humor is a second-off-a-layoff play for Palma and retains Rosario; #4 Wild Revenge had a prep down the hill vs. open company and tackles his own age group today so he should improve; and #8 Life Is a Rock has plenty of back numbers that could win a race like this. Difficult event; spread if you’re playing rolling exotics.

With the scratching of the fast working #2 Mavericks Gun and another first-timer, #6 Givimaway, there’s only four left in the second race. #3 Congrats Ski, first off the claim for Lewis, looks like the best of the lot though #5 Midnight Con is a fit on figures and may improve with the addition of blinkers. There simply isn’t much to work with here.

#1 Teraad and #2 Dylan Donnelly will get most of the play in today’s third; they exit the same Jan. 20 race on the main track and both will be trying turf for the first time. Bertrando has been a pretty good turf sire and Teraad may move up on the sod; he retains Bejarano and should inherit a nice ground-saving journey. His all-weather efforts up north chart extremely well in this spot. Dylan Donnelly has no turf breeding to speak of but he moved forward considerably in his most recent outing and if improves again for Mitchell he’ll be right there. #7 Candy’s Sunrise ran quite well on turf in his debut at Hollywood Park two runs back but we’re not sold on Marino Marini as a route sire and in a race like this you have to take a stand somewhere.

Modest sophomore claiming sprinters contest the fourth race and not much can be made of it with only six starters. #1 D’wildbunch had little behind him when graduating recently but the number was okay and he should fit with these; he’ll do his best running from off the pace again. #4 Jack O Lyn exits a much tougher race and is reunited with Bejarano, who won on him two races back. He’s 8/5 on the morning line and would seem to be the most likely winner but there’s no certainly no value here.

The fifth race is a slalom event for $40,000 older sprinters; nothing would surprise us here. #5 Oak Kye Why switches to Pedroza and has only one way to go, on the front end for as far as he can take them. He’s a very strong fit on numbers and this class drop seems warranted, so the Cassidy-trained gelding is a “must use” in the exotics. #7 Mr. Bossy Pants has his problems but he’s won half of his 12 career starts, and he gets a break in the weights with talented bug boy Flores taking the call. We’re not convinced that this gelding will run as well today Diodoro as he did for Barba or Mitchell, but he’s too much racehorse to simply toss. #8 El Vino is a sneaky layoff runner for Shirreffs who has won down the hill in the past; he’ll be rolling late and deserves consideration for those who can afford to spread.

We’ll double the sixth race in our rolling exotics, using #1 Wegner and #4 Miles Heir in this middle distance mid-grade claimer. Wegner returns from Phoenix where he hit the board in a pair of races that earned fairly decent speed figures; he should fit nicely at this level and has won over this conventional dirt surface in the past. From where he’s drawn he should draft into a nice ground-saving, second flight position. Miles Heir, first off the claim for O’Neill, moves up three levels in class in a show of confidence following a blowout score vs. bottom-rungers last month. The race was fast early, slow late, and the number was moderate, so perhaps his was nothing more than a race-shape aided win. However, Miles Heir is fairly reliable (first or second in 10 of 23 career starts) and gets in with a feather with the switch to bug boy Flores. Not sure he’s worth 9/5 in the straight pool, though.

The feature today is another downhill turf sprint, this one for entry level state bred fillies and mares. #1 Cactus Flyer retains Bejarano and won’t have to deal with La Sombre this time; today’s pace scenario should be much less taxing so we’re expecting her to stick around for a long time. #3 Miss Becca is improving with racing and looked quite good dismantling a starter’s allowance field in December over the all weather at Hollywood Park. Her run over this course two back was pretty good as well, so expect Rosario to have her rolling in the final furlong. #5 Sean S earned a career top figure beating a claiming field over this course and distance last month; she continues to look good in the morning and should be primed for another forward move while seeking her third straight score. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics.

The eighth race is a maiden claiming sprint for 3-year-olds and with two late scratches presents a field of only seven. #2 Mon Coeur is a first-off-the-claim for Chambers and will try to maintain a straight course today after having his number taken down when winning a similar event last month. He’s worked since that race, gets the hot apprentice and should be a short price to make amends. #4 Run Charlie Run, in the money in his last four, figures to clunk up and at least get another minor award today; you may want to save with him on a ticket or two. #5 Always the Same was more than six clear of the rest when a solid runner up in a similar affair last month; it was his first start since May and the Fanning-trained gelding has every right to produce a forward move. He may be the quickest in the field as well.