Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Thu., Feb. 16, 2012)

A very windy Thursday program begins with a modest maiden claimer for 3-year-old fillies. The two main contenders as we see it are the first timer #2 Footnotedisclosure, working well for Hofmans and looking very live pretty much by default, and #4 Nifty Drream, a cheap speed type who should stick much better at this abbreviated five furlong trip. Preference to the new face who will carry those famed Seattle Slews silks of Karen and Mickey Taylor.

The second half of the early daily double is another maiden claimer for sophomore fillies, this one at a mile. #4 Cavalletta exits straight maiden company and appears realistically spotted by Hendricks; she’s looked solid in the morning lately and has numbers that can win a race like this. The favorite, though, is #5 Hannah G., a first-time-in-a-claimer play for Jones following a two month layoff and switching to Rosario. It will be somewhat surprising if the winner isn’t one or the other; we’ll give a slight preference to Cavalletta but this is hardly a prime play.

The third race begins the Pick-6 sequence and has a bit of depth to it. #1 Subpoena the Dress has been claimed no less than five times since August and is back in the Mitchell barn following a $16,000 acquisition last month. She didn’t run a jump when last seen but we’re expecting a rebound effort for a barn that excels with first-off-the-claim plays (35%, flat-bet profit). She worked in an easy five furlongs last week and switches to Rosario. #2 Jaws n’ Paws just scored in the race that Subpoena the Dress exits and this win machine (7-for-21) moves up a notch for new trainer Garcia following a claim. She retains Krigger, is a perfect 3-for-3 at Santa Anita and is especially effective in extended sprints. You simply have to use her right back. #3 Blue Tambourine is a class dropper adding blinkers for the first time and looks very much like the quickest of the quick. She also gets a big break in the weights with the shift to hot bug boy Flores and it won’t be surprising at all if she gains control early and never looks back.

A fairly competitive downhill turf sprint for $32,000 claiming fillies and mares is carded as the fourth race and is another you might feel the need to spread in rolling exotic play. #2 Picture Perfect moves up a notch following a clever win over this course and distance last month and she’s done well in the morning since, so we’re expecting this Sadler-trained mare to be a major player right back. #6 Sarasota Sunshine drops to a proper spot after being run into the ground by the razor sharp La Sombre; she has nothing remotely that tough to worry about in this league and could easily take this group gate to wire for the always potent Mitchell-Rosario team. #7 Brown is Beige likely will settle into a stalking position and has been successful in the past with that kind of trip; she won at this level two races back and has been first or second in nine of 12 career outings. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics with maybe a slight preference to Sarasota Sunshine.

Bottom rung sprinters meet in the fifth race at six furlongs and we’ll try to survive only using #3 Twice the Vice and #7 Clue Me In. Twice the Vice (6-1 morning line) offers better value and might be dangerous if he runs back to his race before last; he got chewed up chasing a hot pace last time out and faltered but can improve today in race that offers a less taxing pace scenario. Clue Me In, a hard knocker in Julio’s barn, drops to his lowest level ever while retaining Pedroza and is the logical favorite and one to beat.

Maiden 3-year-olds run nine furlongs on turf in the sixth race and it looks like a fairly decent race on paper with a few promising, lightly-raced colts hoping to step forward. #1 Late Night Sky stretches out again and should be the controlling speed from his inside post. He’s always been vulnerable under pressure in the final furlong but if he’s left alone early he’ll take them a long way late. #6 Cat’s Enough closed well in a similar spot at a mile and today gets an extra furlong to work with. The O’Neill-trained colt has improving numbers and should continue to progress with experience. #9 Montego Bay was given a run down the hill in his debut and should be much more serious today. He’s a big colt by War Chant who found his best stride much too late and galloped well in that Jan. 28 affair and has come back to train especially well for Drysdale. Garcia rides him back; we’re expecting a major forward move today at somewhere around his morning line odds of 5-1.

The feature is a extended sprint on the main track for entry level state bred allowance 3-year-old fillies and looks like a better than par race for the class. #2 Habit Forming missed by a head at 4/5 up north in a similar spot but earned a huge figure in defeat (she was four clear of the rest) and we always pay close attention to these Tapeta to conventional dirt shippers from the north. She will insure a very hot pace and could keep going if she enjoys the surface switch. #3 Almost a Lady missed at 50 cents on the dollar in a very disappointing effort last month but she has Rosario and Sadler in her corner and seems capable of bouncing back. We wouldn’t toss her completely though she’s probably the least preferred of the three main contenders. #5 Twelve Folds freaked when graduating by more than eight lengths with a sensational figure two runs back and the completely fell apart when tried on both turf and around two turns in her next outing. She’s back sprinting today; it’s tough to predict what effect, if any, that last race had on her. We’ll prefer the Bay area invader Habit Forming while considering all three in our rolling exotics.

The finale is a split of the first race, a maiden claimer at five furlongs for 3-year-old fillies. The known element isn’t much so let’s try a newcomer, #1 T J’s Stormy Wit, from the Doug O’Neill barn (solid with debut runners). The daughter of Stormello has trained well enough to win at first asking at this level; let’s just hope she breaks running from the rail. There could be some nice value here at 4-1 if you can get it.