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Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sun., March 4, 2012)
At first glance the Sunday program could wind up being a chalk fest, as the card has a number of small fields and obvious favorites. There is a massive two day Pick-6 carryover of $430,582 to make it all worthwhile.
The opener finds #3 Geniality as the even money favorite in a restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming mile event on turf for fillies and mares that drew seven starters. Second in a similar affair last month, she retains bug boy Flores and should be on or near the lead throughout. #6 Magical Eclipse was a closing third in the same race Geniality exits but she’s 9/5 on the morning line and really isn’t a terribly attractive alternative to the favorite.
The second race, a $12,500 claiming sprint, appears to have two major players in #2 Itssultryinthecape and #7 Slam Slew. The former just won a similar event in desperate style and picks up a couple of pounds due to that win. The latter adds blinkers while moving down in class a couple of notches and should be tough with Bejarano riding him back from a good outside post. However, the Bonde-trained gelding hasn’t won in two years and is only 2-for-18 lifetime, so he may not be your kind of 8/5 morning line favorite.
#2 Lofty Ambition is the 4/5 morning line choice in the third race, a downhill turf sprint for fillies and mares competing at the first condition. The daughter of Sky Mesa was a willing runner up to course specialist La Sombre last month while earning a career top speed figure and a repeat of that race today will legitimize her short price.
The Pick-6 begins in the fourth race, a maiden special weight sprint for state bred older runners. The two worth including on your ticket are #2 Mary Helen’s Storm and #3 Red Tesla. Mary Helen’s Storm adds blinkers for his third career start and if his improving pattern continues, the Koriner-trained colt could be hard to handle. He has yet get away cleanly but if he breaks well today he’ll probably show much better tactical speed and be in the firing line throughout. Red Tesla, away since July but training like he’s fit and ready for Baffert, is another with an apparent lack of early speed but he could be a better type this time around and produce the last run under Bejarano.
#2 Capital Account was highly impressive beating a two-other-than field here in late January in a fast, highly-rated affair and will be a short price to continue his winning ways in the fifth race. He’s won three of five lifetime (with three triple-digit Beyers) and has looked his usually razor sharp self since his most recent win. Capital Account is hooking a pair of well established stakes winning types in #1 Courtside and #3 M One Rifle but we’re thinking that the son of Closing Argument is the “now” horse and deserves top billing.
The sixth race is a maiden claiming abbreviated sprint for $40,000 state bred fillies and really doesn’t have much in it. #5 Warren’s Mo Money ran second at this level in her debut last summer and then couldn’t quite handle straight maiden company in a pair of starts, so she returns to the claiming ranks today for her first start since August. The work tab looks steady and the presence of Rosario in the saddle probably indicates that she’s fit and ready. First time starter #7 Sweet Nectar has trained well enough for O’Neill to be given some consideration in a soft field, especially with Bejarano taking the call. We’ll try to get by using just these two.
#3 The Black looks like a potential rolling exotic single in the seventh race, a starter’s allowance sprint for 3-year-olds. The son of Cherokee Run obliterated a maiden claiming field last month while winning with plenty left by more than 11 lengths; a similar effort today will make him a repeater. There’s some value here at 3-1 on the morning line if you can get it.
The featured Joe Hernandez down the hill is just an overnight stakes but it drew a graded group of older sprinters, including the lightly-raced eight-year-old #2 Mr Gruff. The Ellis-trained gelding got into a silly speed duel with Breeders’ Cup Turf sprint champion Regally Ready in the Daytona Stakes in January and weakened to finish in a dead-heat for third; he’s not likely to have anywhere near that kind of pressure today and could easily dominate from the gate to wire. #3 Pressday, a hot shot sprinter from Australia, was well-backed in his recent U.S. debut in a good allowance race and wound up missing by a neck to Carbonite in a strong performance for Sadler. If he moves forward today he could give the favorite a scare from off the pace.
The nightcap is a middle distance maiden claimer for $30,000 sophomores and lacks depth. We’ve come up with two main contenders and that’s it. #3 I Feel Free, in the money in his last three at or around this level, gets a break in the weights with the shift to bug boy Flores and is overdue for a win. He’s not the easiest of rides and tends to find trouble but he has clear edge in the speed figure department and would seem to be the logical favorite. #10 Cheezy Breezy flashed improvement when closing with interest to be third in a race-shape aided affair last month; if he moves forward at all he’ll be right there with Pedroza riding him back for Hofmans.