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Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Mon., Feb. 20, 2012)
The early part of today’s President’s Day program is light in value; the fields are the small and the payoffs potentially short. #7 Baron Von Red is even money on the morning line in the opener and will be hard to beat if he runs back to his very sharp second place performance at this level last month. Rosario stays aboard for Sadler so he’s almost guaranteed to leave at odds on. Let’s pass.
The second race doesn’t look any better. #7 Warren’s Patron has the proper style for this extended sprint distance and a good outside post to insure clear sailing. Beaten a neck in a similar restricted $12,500 claimer earlier this month, the Gutierrez-trained colt is listed at 6/5 on the morning line. #4 His Boy Elroy, third in the same race Warren’s Patron exits, drops a whopping nine pounds with the switch to bug boy Flores and you would think that kind of weight shift is worth the two lengths he needs to make up. But at 7/5 on the morning line His Boy Elroy doesn’t offer any value, either.
The third race is a bottom rung maiden claimer with another pair of short priced morning line contenders. #3 Candys Girl, a closing second vs. similar in her first outing since Del Mar (and her first for Mitchell), probably won’t have to improve much at all to graduate today. She gets an extra half furlong to compliment her late running style and Talamo stays aboard. #6 Subtle Greek, in the money in her last pair and a solid fit on figures, should be prominent throughout and have every chance to earn her diploma in her eighth lifetime outing. Nothing else in here inspires.
The fourth race begins the Pick-6 sequence; the card now becomes a little more playable. This is a rare 12 furlong turf event for first level allowance stayers and the logical 9/5 morning line favorite is #5 Imponente Purse, a Brazilian import in Avila’s barn who has been facing graded company in all of his recent outings and in fact was beaten in a photo in last year’s San Juan Capistrano ‘Cap. Entered to be claimed for $40,000, Imponente Purse might be being dangled for sale or perhaps his connection are simply tired of losing; the gelding has won just once since 2010. You probably have to use him in your rolling exotics along with #6 Antidote, second to subsequent stakes winner Slim Shadey at this level last time out (but starting to get a rep as a nibbler more than winner), and #6 Acafella, rounding into top shape with two recent races to get the rust off and likely to make another forward move today.
The fifth race is a $12,500 restricted (nw-2) sprint for fillies and mares that looks shaky and chaotic. #3 To the Top takes a 50% drop in class following a disappointing run earlier this month; she can win if she runs back to her maiden score two races back. But that’s not the kind of “if” you’d want to take when backing a favorite. #7 Kids Table, also dropping for $25,000 to $12,500, is a first-off-the-claim for Palma after flopping at 3/5 in early January. She’s another with a fancy maiden claiming win to her credit and little else. With nothing in here to trust, this race should be either passed or bought.
Older state bred maidens sprint down the hill in the sixth race. #2 Relentless Heat, in the money in his last three and earning a career top speed figure when a good runner-up in a recent maiden claimer, moves up to straight maiden company today in his second start off a layoff, and any kind of improvement should earn him a diploma. Granted, his two prior runs over the course were only so-so, but there’s simply not much in here. #3 Madeoftherightstuf removes blinkers and returns to turf; his second place finish two races back charts well with these and the switch to Rosario must be viewed in a positive light as well.
The seventh race is a state bred first level allowance sprint on the main track and offers some value. #5 Rule by Force, first off the claim for Sherman, is a veteran with a winning punch (13-for-38) and is wheeled back against pretty much the same bunch after finishing a solid third with a bit of rouble last month. He’ll do his best running from off the pace. #7 Caffeine High, away since May, is protected by Ellis upon his return and the works – and the presence of Rosario in the saddle - indicate fitness. #8 Obsess chased open company last time out and disappointed but he’s back with Calbreds today and is good enough to at least get a piece of it. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics; you may want to spread a little more.
The featured Buena Vista Handicap has a full field of 12 and looks like a bit of scramble with some price possibilities available. #2 Strawberrydaiquiri is a high class veteran mare and Group-2 winner at Royal Ascot who has trained like she’s fit and ready for Cecil. Anything close to her “A” game will be good enough to win. #3 Cambrina, beaten less than three lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, loves this turf course (3-for-5) and will be a solid threat if cranked up. #5 Vano a Galupiar was the beneficiary of a set up against a lesser field recently but she’s a winner of four of six career starts and probably has further upside for Drysdale. This is another race you may to want to go deeper in.
The finale is a maiden claiming sprint for 3-year-olds. #4 Good Mojo, freshened since the autumn meeting and with better than par numbers for this level, seems the logical selection. He’ll do his best running from off the pace while being paired with hot riding bug boy Flores and should be along in time.