Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Fri., March 16, 2012)

There’s little that can be done with the early Friday daily double. Five meet in the opener, a bottom rung $8,000 claimer restricted to 4-year-old fillies, and on paper it looks like a match race between #3 For You My Heart (4/5) and #4 Queenie Marini (6/5). The former is a first-off-the-claim for Belvoir (29% with a flat bet profit) while the latter gets a break in the weights with the switch to bug boy Flores and has an edge in speed figures. Take your pick.

The second race isn’t any better. #4 Missie Ky I You is a first-off-the-claim for Hofmans and gets what appears to be a ridiculously easy spot to make amends for finishing fourth as the favorite in a similar spot last month. With Rosario staying aboard, it all adds up to 50 cents on the dollar according to the morning line. The combined in-the-money finishes for the entire rest of the field? One.

Things get more interesting in the third race, which kicks off the Pick-6. #1 Fordham Road has been a money burner so far (a beaten choice in three of five career starts) but he continues to train well and may deserve one more look. However, he’s 7/5 on the morning line so we’ll try somebody else. #6 Anabaa Premium, by Goldikova’s sire Anabaa, was given a run in his debut sprinting on the main track last month and will get serious today. The Gallagher-trained gelding continues to impress in the morning and seems certain to improve a ton stretching out on turf. Bejarano rides him back and at 5-1 on the morning line he appears to offer some real value both in the straight pool and in rolling exotic play. #10 Unex Dali has tailed off badly of late after flashing a bit of promise earlier in his career. However, he makes a monumental barn change to Doug O’Neill, has looked good in recent workouts, and could snap to life today. At 12-1 on the morning line he may be worth using somewhere.

The fourth race in an excellent entry level allowance sprint for 3-year-olds and could produce a stakes runner or two in the near future. #1 Hierro, a route to sprint play, exits the Sham Stakes and after being freshened since early January should come out firing in this extended dash. He broke his maiden impressively at this trip last November and earned a big figure in the process; today we’ll see how much progress he’s made. The son of Hard Spun remains very well regarded. Clearly the one to beat is #7 Consulado, back sprinting and potentially the controlling speed based on his sizzling maiden score two runs back. He lost little in defeat when overrun by Fed Biz at a distance too far for him last month but he’s come back to train superbly for Puype and should show his best stuff today.

The fifth race appears to be a wide open $25,000 claiming miler on turf and probably requires a spread. We’ll simply use both of the Mitchell-trained runners and hope that’s enough. #7 Going for a Spin doesn’t have what you’d call a healthy pattern – she drops again and now is well below her $40,000 claim level – but she gets a weight break while switching to bug boy Flores and will be tough if she can repeat her last race, a runner-up try in a $32,000 affair. #9 Bella Swan, the second of two Mitchell entrants, is stuck farther out than we’d prefer but could inherit the lead and take this field a long way.

A very strong first level allowance sprint occupies the sixth race; we’ll double the race using #5 Caffeine High and #9 Cyclometer. The former is a second-off-a-layoff play for Ellis (strong stats) and has trained very sharply since a nice runner-up effort in a hot race last month. He should enjoy the extra half furlong of today’s event and Rosario stays aboard. The latter broke his maiden with a huge figure for Headley last month, has been burning up the track since, and lands the cozy outside box where Talamo can dictate the race.

The seventh race looks like a potential spread for rolling exotic players – it’s a starter’s allowance for 3-year-olds at a mile on turf – but we’re going to get brave and single #10 Baby Blake. The son of Lion Heart has steadily improving numbers, exits a strong race, and showed two races back his affection for grass with a nice runner-up effort against a stronger field at Hollywood Park. On pedigree he should stay a mile, so if he can project his one-turn form at this distance he’ll be hard to beat. However, from post 10 we wouldn’t want to settle for anything much lower than his 5/2 morning line odds.

The finale is an abbreviated five furlong sprint for bottom rung older maiden fillies and mares. #1 Elusive Spirit is a high-headed filly with a lot of zip and not much stick, though at this distance she may forget to stop. We’ll use her along with #8 Warren’s Performer, freshened since January, training well, switching to Bejarano, and with back numbers that would beat this field.