Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Fri., Oct. 20, 2012)

Today’s opener is a fairly strong starter’s allowance affair that sees the one-dimensional – but very quick - #3 Field Report as the 9/5 morning line favorite. The Benchmark gelding earned a huge figure when graduating vs. straight maiden state bred foes last month but is eligible to this starter’s allowance affair after starting for $50,000 (and being claimed that day by Spawr) two races back. He has only one way to go – bust out and head to the front – and he does look like the quickest of the quick. #7 My Slew earned a decidedly lower number than ‘Report when graduating at Del Mar vs. maiden claimers last month but might have further improvement in him and Miller is protecting him today in a non-claimer. Given the discrepancy in speed figures Field Report deserves top billing but both should be included in rolling exotic play.

#3 Luckarack is the second choice on the morning line at 2-1 in today’s second race, and that seems about right. Double-jumped in class following two extra sharp scores at Pomona last month, the hard knocking gelding loves to win races and has the perfect stalking style for this extended sprint trip. Though winless in four starts at Santa Anita, he’s run well over this track in the past and appears to be holding his form with a pair of easy breezes since his most recent victory. We’ll give him a slight edge over the morning line (9/5) favorite #2 Nextdoorneighbor because he has a bit more tactical speed in a field that seems to lack a true pacesetter. You can be safe and use both in your rolling exotics but we’re willing to take a stand and single Ted West’s gelding.

The third race, a restricted turf claimer, looks difficult and requires a spread. #2 Acodoro is winless in two years and just 2-for-27 overall (not to mention 0-for-13 on turf) but he’s a fit on speed figures, lands a comfortable inside draw and should draft into a comfortable second flight stalking position. He’s hard to trust but most of the others in here are as well. #6 Warren’s Wild Thing (2-for-34) has a look with a repeat of his starter’s allowance score three races back and should be rolling late under rejuvenated Tyler Baze. He’s hit the board in three of six career starts over the Arcadia lawn and his chances will increase if the pace turns up faster than par, which could happen. #10 Yankee Dan was nowhere in a tougher Pomona sprint last time out but under these conditions he seems capable of snapping back, outside post and all. He’s always been pretty much a need-the-lead type but there’s other speed inside him and he may be forced into a stalking role under Blanc. These are the three we’ll be using with a slight edge to Acodoro; you may want to toss in morning line favorite (5/2) Street Rocket, though we’re gambling that his last two outings (both wins) make him look a bit better than he actually is.

Anything goes in the fourth race, a weak maiden claiming sprint for fillies. #1 Amy’s Cashin In showed a bit of improvement when second vs. slightly tougher at Del Mar last time out and with another forward move today the Doug O’Neill-trained juvenile becomes a major player. The rail, of course, is a concern for a filly lacking in early speed but at this extended sprint trip she might be able to muster up a competitive late kick. #6 Bojour earned a fairly decent number in her debut vs. maiden claimers but was out of her element vs. Stakes Company at Pomona. She did, however, earn a nice figure in that last race and today she is dropping and dangerous for French while being reunited with Valdivia. There’s some value here at 4-1 on the morning line. #9 Sense of a Woman, the second O’Neill entrant in the field, missed as the favorite recently at Pomona when collared late (while 11 lengths clear of the rest) and should be on or near the pace again today. She’s a route-to-sprint play and could appreciate this turn back in trip. Let’s use all three in our rolling exotics while preferring Bojour on top.

The fifth race, a downhill turf sprint for older maidens, is a real grass grab bag. The temptation is to spread pretty deep but we’re going to try to survive using a mid-priced single. #5 Our Lucky Son is lightly raced and eligible to improve; his numbers are solid and he might be most effective as a late-running sprinter. His two races up north going long on the lawn weren’t bad and a recent bullet half mile workout at Hollywood Park should have him right on edge. For those with a bigger bankroll, you should consider somewhere in your exotics #1 Only the Gold (now trained by Marty Jones, who has excellent stats with layoff runners); #3 Vantage Point (working well and out of the terrific mare Tranquility Lake; and #4 Spit Ball (an okay fourth in his only prior start down the hill).

The sixth race is a bottom of the barrel claiming miler and is another that might require a spread. #1 Low Gear Power doesn’t have any real tactical speed to take advantage of his rail post and he’s winless in seven starts over the Santa Anita main track, but he ran well when dropped to this level for the first time at Del Mar and the Mullins-trained gelding might respond in a positive manner after a six week vacation. His deep closing style doesn’t really fit the track profile but we respect the connections so we’ll toss him in. #6 Streets of Heaven chased tougher at Fresno 12 days ago but earned a nice figure and today drops for the money run. He’s a 10-race winner during his career and won for $8,000 during the Del Mar season. #10 Asset Play is stuck way outside but he’s a first-off-the-claim play for Belvoir (25%, flat bet profit) he does have back numbers that make him a solid fit. Let’s give a slight edge to Streets of Heaven in a race that is extremely chaotic.

The seventh race feature is a nine furlong conditioned allowance turf affair for fillies and mares. #2 Romantic Wish likes to run second and third a whole lot more than she likes to win but Gomez stays aboard and she’s dropping from stakes company into this second level allowance affair while landing the favorable inside draw. She’s light in the speed figure department but we’re expecting her to at least get a piece of it. #3 Hard to Resist is back with Bejarano, who has won with her in the past, and she’s exiting three stakes races, so this drop in class could get her back on the winning track. #4 Camelia Rose exits two graded events and wasn’t really beaten too badly in either one, so this return to the two-other-than level should really help. However, she’s just 2-for-15 lifetime so she might not be totally trustworthy. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics and we’re hoping that will be sufficient.

The finale is another wide open bottom rung maiden claiming race that looks very difficult on paper. #6 Bull Rush is a seven race maiden but finished second twice at Pomona against similar opposition and switches to Talamo today. #12 Courageousandbold, a distant second vs. similar here last month, seems to be moving in the right direction for Sadler and with only four career starts probably has further improvement in her. Use anybody else you’d like; it’s that kind of race.