Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Fri., Nov. 2, 2012)

It’s Breeders’ Cup Friday – be sure to get here early as first post on the 10-race program is 11:15 a.m.

The opener is a difficult entry level allowance race on turf. #9 Swift Eagle seeks his third straight win while moving up from state bred company and on speed figures should fit with these. Freshened since Del Mar and training extremely well for Gallagher, the lightly-raced gelding retains Gomez and should produce another forward move. At 8-1 on the morning line, he offers considerable value, so we’ll put him on top. #11 Quail Hill does his best running on the front end and will take them as far as he can under Dominguez. He’s won over this course in the past and if he can get away with moderate early splits he’ll prove to be an elusive target.

#7 Big Tiz ran a winning race in defeat when beaten a half length in a strong race for the level in her recent comeback, and the daughter of Tiznow should build on that in today’s second race. Talamo rides her back for Glatt, and with an extra half furlong to work with this graded stakes placed filly should be along in plenty of time. Let’s make her a straight play and rolling exotic single.

In the third race, #6 Northern Iowa was an unlucky loser when beaten a neck in the Pomona Derby. The effort represented another forward move for this lightly-raced colt and today he switches to Bejarano while dropping back to an extended sprint. We’re expecting him to be along in time, though we wouldn’t quite make him a rolling exotic single. #7 Macho Dorado, off a couple of months and training well in the interim for Mitchell, switches to Rosario and returns to a track he’s had success over. This distance seems perfect for his pace prompting style, so we’re expecting a strong effort at 6-1 on the morning line. #12 Malibu Rum is a consistent Pacific Northwest invader with competitive numbers. He knows how to win and is another ideally suited for seven furlongs. He seems better than his morning line odds of 20-1.

The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint goes as the fourth race and should boil down to the two favorites. #3 Merit Man is undefeated in two starts with a recent stakes score over this track, so he’s quite logical as the 8/5 morning line favorite. However, we’ll prefer Baffert’s recent maiden winner #5 Super Ninety Nine, a big figure earner last month and working in splendid style since, including a drill in which he convincingly handled Executiveprivilege.

The fifth race is the Breeders’ Cup Marathon and looks almost impossible to decipher; price players have plenty to choose from. #2 Fame and Glory tries dirt, blinkers, and Lasix for the first time, and this former Classic winner from Ireland has won 14 of 25 overseas, so he clearly out classes his opposition at 5-1 on the morning line. However, he is totally unproven over a conventional dirt surface. Regardless, you have to use him. #7 Not Abroad can run all day and is fresh from a thoroughly convincingly score in the Maryland Million Classic. He tends to want to run second or third more than he wants to win, but he always tries hard and has to be included in your rolling exotics. #12 Worth Repeating is, perhaps, the most dependable runner in the field so we’ll make him our top pick. He’s won over this track, has marathon-type stamina and never looked better than he did when crushing his rivals in the Hinds at Pomona last time out. A repeat of his runner-up effort to Richard’s Kid in the Cougar II Stakes at Del Mar probably would be good enough to beat this field.

The Euro’s should dominate the sixth race, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. #3 Sky Lantern was ultra impressive winning the Group-1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at The Curragh and if she repeats that type of performance today she’ll probably win right back. The Hannon-trained filly prefers to settle behind horses and then explode late; that style is preferred over this tight turf course. #4 Flotilla was blocked when trying to rally in the Prix Marcel Boussac on Arc Day and was beaten just over a length in a race she could have won. She’s unproven over firm ground, but this American-bred daughter of Mizzen Mist should love it. She’s a “must use” at 8-1 on the morning line. #10 Waterway Run has won three of four against quality competition in England; her Racing Post ratings are quite strong. She’s very dangerous at 10-1 on the morning line. All three must be used in the exotics; an ever-so-slight edge may go to Sky Lantern.

The seventh race is a terrific edition of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, but a very difficult handicapping proposition. #1 Beholder earned an incredible speed figure when winning a six furlong allowance sprint earlier this meeting, an effort that would have made her an odds-on favorite in the Juvenile Sprint had her connections opted for that race. But she stretches out to a mile and one-sixteenth while seeking a championship; there is little evidence one way or the other as to her capability around two turns. She lands the rail so you know she’s going to the front, but even under “lone f” conditions she must be considered questionable over a route of ground based on pedigree, which is sprint on sprint. #5 Dreaming of Julia is undefeated in three starts in New York, though her numbers aren’t overwhelming, and in her Frizette Stakes win she went the first half in 46 seconds and her second 25 lengths slower in 51 seconds. They might try to take her back and hope for a better late kick today; if the daughter of A. P. Indy she cooperates she might be able to pick up the pieces. We’ll put her on top but not with a lot of confidence. #8 Kauai Katie, like Beholder, has proven herself to be an outstanding sprinter but has never been beyond six furlongs. Her pedigree okays a middle distance and she’ll almost certainly draft into a stalking position outside (similar to the trip she got in the Matron S.) but to be truthful we have our doubts whether she’ll switch off and relax under these condition. If she does, she can win. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics; clearly we’re trying to beat #2 Executiveprivilege and if you feel the need to toss her in by all means do so. The Baffert-trained filly is perfect in five starts and deserves favoritism, but she has looked something less than herself in a pair of recent drills and we’re wondering whether she’s gone over the top.

There are 11 entrants in the eighth race, the BC Filly & Mare Turf and each one has a right to be in the field, making it extremely deep and competitive. #2 Zagora prefers firm ground and a patient ride; she’ll certainly get the first and we’re hoping for her sake she gets the second as well. Drawn perfectly inside, she’ll get cover throughout while saving ground before being produced at the head of the lane by Castellano. Her very best effort will be required but under the circumstances that’s what we’re expecting. #4 The Fugue is a terrific filly and really should out class this group. Her European form is outstanding; the scary part is that she might be even better suited for American racing. Her turn of foot is electric and should be on display over the top of the ground conditions that should bring out the best in her. #9 Marketing Mix could claim to be the best the Americans have to offer and she already owns a superb win over this course, though not quite beating the same level of competition that she’s facing today. Genuine, consistent and versatile, she can adapt to any kind of pace scenario and it will be surprising if she doesn’t at least get a piece of it. #10 Ridasiyna has been beaten just once in her career and her victory in the Price de l’Opera over soft ground on Arc day was legitimate. It would appear that she can be equally effective if not more so on firm turf, so you have to use her. We’ll go four deep in our rolling exotics recognizing that if she brings her “A” game The Fugue will be difficult to deny.

We’ll use just two in the BC Ladies Classic but by no means does this indicate that we don’t think Royal Delta or Questing can win; the former is the defending champ and returned to her best form with a romp in the Beldame; the latter should be the controlling speed and if they let her roll she might keep going. But you have to take a stand somewhere. #2 My Miss Aurelia is undefeated in six starts and has trained in superb fashion since arriving in California a few weeks ago. She’s never been better and won’t concede her perfect record without a fight. #5 Awesome Feather looked simply sensational in her comeback in New York, winning by a pole without being knocked about; you know she can run this far and her perfect stalking style should guarantee an ideal trip. Trainer Brown says she’s never been better, so we’ll take his word for it. We’ll prefer Awesome Feather on top and at 3-1 on the morning line she deserves some consideration in the straight pool as well.

The finale, the Twilight Derby, is an excellent betting affair. #2 Speaking of Which looked like King Kong winning the Gallinule Stakes at The Curragh in the spring but missed most of the summer and perhaps was a tad short when beaten into third in his comeback in a Grade 3 affair at Leopardstown upon his reappearance. He gets Lasix today and this leggy son of Invincible Spirit should be most effective at this nine furlong trip. His Racing Post ratings make him a major player and his 2-1 morning line odds seem justified. However, we were a bit more impressed from a visual standpoint by fellow European invader #7 Grandeur. A progressive gelding from Jeremy Noseda’s yard, he took the overland route to secure a win against a useful bunch at Newbury in his most recent start while displaying an exceptional late kick. He’ll need another forward move today but seems quite capable of producing it; he’s another who should absolutely excel over the glib Santa Anita turf course. #8 My Best Brother is the best of the locals and is a tough-as-nails front runner who survived in the Del Mary Derby at this distance. He was originally ticketed for the B C Mile but opted for this easier spot. He’s good, and we’ll use him, but the European invaders simply look stronger on paper.