Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Fri., March 9, 2012)

The Friday opener is an abbreviated sprint for $10,000 claimers that seems like a logical spot for #6 Lt. Hopeful, though the two month gap in between starts causes some concern. First off the claim for Armstrong and likely the controlling speed, the veteran gelding gets a break in the weights with the switch to bug boy Flores and his recent five furlong workout of :58 4/5 should have him on edge. Of course, he’s 4/5 on the morning line, so there’s no value to be found.

The second race is a bottom rung maiden claimer for older fillies and mares with only six starters; this is another borderline unplayable race. #3 Warren’s Jazz Walk ran well at this level last month, finishing a solid second while more than two clear of the rest; she retains Bejarano and with another forward move today should be home free. She’s the 8/5 morning line favorite and could easily go lower.

The third race begins the Pick-6 sequence and it’s a fairly competitive downhill turf sprint for maiden 3-year-old fillies. #2 Miss Pippa has worked like she’s fit and ready for Sadler at Hollywood Park and seems sure to gain considerable play; at 9/2 on the morning line she’s a “must use” in rolling exotic play. #6 Hidinginplainsight exits a killer race won by Mamma Kimbo; there’s not likely to be anything here remotely as talented and the daughter of Elusive Quality has the pedigree and style to enjoy this turf course. #7 Miss Communication has steadily improving numbers, two solid races down the hill this meeting and a powerful recent five furlong drill over at Hollywood Park to indicate she’s continuing to move in the right direction. She’s the logical 8/5 morning line favorite, though we wouldn’t go quite so far as to say she’s a rolling exotic single.

A group of hard knocking $16,000 claiming fillies and mares meet in the fourth race at six furlongs. #1 Subpoena the Dress always gives her best; she lost a toughie last month from the rail and had the misfortune of drawing the inside post again today. She seems most effective when allowed to settle early and take hold late, but from this post Rosario may have to use her early to gain favorable position. Still, she’s the one to beat in our book. #2 Halfapondarosa, away since November and realistically dropping in class for Eurton, has plenty of back numbers that would crush this field and her work tab over at Hollywood Park seems healthy enough. First or second in nine of 16 career starts, this 7-year-old mare always has had her problems but has shown she can fire fresh. We’re going to try to survive using only these two, though a strong case also can be made for the 2-1 morning line favorite, #3 She’s Very Rare, a sharp winner for hot trainer Garcia in January and moving up two levels in class while switching to Bejarano.

Older state bred maiden fillies and mares clash in the fifth race at nine furlongs on turf, and we’re expecting #4 Sshewhomustbeobeyed to make a forward move in just her second career start for trainer Mike Puype, whose stats with this maneuver are off the charts. The daughter of Good Journey should improve with experience and distance and with Talamo having been aboard her in a strong recent five furlong workout all signs point to big effort today. #6 The Grans, away since mid January but training in solid fashion over at Turf Paradise, vans back to Arcadia for Lund and rates a look off her third place finish in a similar spot at a mile. She could have opted for an easy maiden turf event in Phoenix with an $11,000 purse last week; today’s prize money totals $56,000. #7 Our Heat disappointed when never landing a blow in a sprint last week but is wheeled back quickly by Abrams and stretches out again today. She ran well under similar circumstances two races back when a closing runner-up and a repeat of that effort makes her a threat in a modest field.

The sixth race is a fairly decent first level allowance affair over a distance of ground for 3-year-old fillies with the first two morning line choices likely to get the bulk of the play. #4 Indecise tries conventional dirt for the first time and should enjoy the switch; the daughter of Pleasant Tap continues to impress in the morning and is a solid fit in the speed figure department. #5 Sage d’Oro was little match for Princess Arabella at seven furlongs last month but stretches out to what probably is a better trip and won’t have to face anybody that good today. Rosario should have her on or near the lead throughout as the 8/5 morning line favorite.

The featured seventh race is a downhill turf sprint for entry level state bred fillies and mares and is one of the few races on today’s program with any kind of depth to it, though our strategy is to single #1 Melissa Rose. The daughter of Old Topper is a first-off-the-claim for Sadler (from Mitchell) and must overcome the rail, but she switches to Rosario and should have enough gate speed to gain a favorable early position. If she can transfer her main track form to turf she can beat this field (her one prior grass race up north was inconclusive; it came around two turns and she can’t route). If she doesn’t win today, anybody can, so rather than spread the race we’ll just take a stand and hope for the best.

The finale is a restricted (nw-2) $25,000 seller for older sprinters. #1 Blake appears to be coming around and this, his third start off a layoff, should be his best. He exits a fast and productive race, has trained well since, and looks like another live item from the hot Cerin stable at 6-1 on the morning line. #7 Meadow Road recently broke his maiden by more than six lengths, though the number wasn’t special; it was his first start since July so maybe he’ll move forward for Hendricks and Talamo stays aboard. #8 Magic Beam, away since October and dropping to his lowest level ever, does his best work from off the pace and if a pace meltdown takes place – and it could – the lightly-raced five year old could provide trainer Eduardo Inda with a victory in his first starter of the meeting.