Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sun., April 8, 2012)

An eight race Easter Sunday program closes out the penultimate week of racing at the 2011-12 Santa Anita season with a 2/5 a morning line favorite in the opener 3-year-olds. #5 Forest Souvenir, second for $40,000 last time out and surfacing today for $12,500, must have issues but beats these if he has at least one more good one left in him. Bejarano stays aboard for Mullins; there’s clearly nothing to be gained here.

The second race looks only a bit better. The six furlong $12,500 claiming sprint restricted to 4-year olds brings out #2 Stormin Proud Papa, very popular of late at the claim box and now in the Hollendorfer barn after finishing a solid second at this level last month. However, at 7/5 on the morning line, the Stormy Atlantic gelding offers little in the way of value. #5 Lime Rock Revenge seems considerably more attractive at 5-1; the O’Neill-trained gelding chased a tougher field in his first start since December and seems very likely to make a forward move with that race behind him coupled with a drop in class. Both are worth including in rolling exotic play.

The third race begins the Pick-6 sequence and offers a potential single in #4 Baby Blake. Nosed out in a similar mile turf event last month, the Pender-trained colt removes blinkers (excellent angle) while retaining Garcia and should be on or near what likely will be a very soft pace. After three consecutive runner-up efforts, the son of Lion Heart is overdue for a win and looks well spotted at 5/2 on the morning line.

Today’s fourth race contains a logical single. #4 Laser Point, a very sharp sprint winner for $8,000 last time out, moves up a couple of notches for Mullins and stretches out to a distance he’s shown he can handle. Bisono knows him well and should have this veteran gelding on the front end throughout. The one to fear most is #1 Personalitary, reunited with Rosario for whom he won a $12,500 restricted claimer over this track two races back. You might want a have a saver ticket or two using Personalitary in your rolling exotics.

We’ll go two-deep in the fifth race, a $12,500 starter’s allowance one mile turf event for fillies and mares. #5 Vikkilee is a blinkers-off play and seems capable of regaining her good form today while making a major switch to Rosario. Our top pick, though, is #6 Tripped the Light, a clever winner for $20,000 last week and wheeled back on short rest by Hess to take advantage of a condition that is rarely carded on this circuit. The veteran mare is clearly most effective on dirt but she’s won on turf, too, and in her present form must be given top billing.

Maiden $30,000 claimers meet in the sixth race at six furlongs and looks like an ideal spot for #3 Warrens Venedalucy to earn her diploma. A solid second in a similar event last month, she retains Pedroza and should be on or near the lead throughout. She’s a standout on speed figures and likely has further improvement in her.

The featured seventh race is a state bred first-level grass sprint down the hill for 3-year-old fillies that contains at least two nice prospects. #2 Starry Skies won at first asking over similar conditions for Jones last month and earned a strong figure in the process; she’ll be tough right back with Rosario staying aboard. #3 Darling Dodie did the same thing – she captured a maiden turf sprint in her debut – and the daughter of Good Journey should be rolling in the final furlong once again. We’ll give preference to Starry Skies, who earned the better number, but both are worth using in rolling exotic play.

The nightcap is a bottom rung maiden claimer that looks made to order for #4 Iron Joe T. He’s 3-1 on the morning line and well worth that if you can get it. The Bonde-trained gelding has the always powerful maiden-to-maiden claimer angle working for him and has the type of early speed to land him in a very favorable pace prompting position. He continues to train well, has little to beat, and seems all set to graduate.