Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Tue., Jan. 1, 2013)

The New Year’s Day program looks quite interesting with a number of challenging races and good-sized fields.

Shackbamalama has shown enough in the morning to warrant a strong look in the opener, a modest maiden claiming sprint. The barn doesn’t win very often with debut runners but this son of Broken Vow probably deserves considerable attention The one to beat is Tenango, nicely drawn outside and dropping into a claimer for the first time. The Bay Area invader has several back numbers that are better than par for this level.

Joe Carl, first off the claim for Hess, returns in the second race following a seven week vacation and has worked nicely and eagerly. He gets a good inside draw while switching to Gomez and always has been partial to this main track. Anabaa Premium looked good winning across town recently and is double jumped in class by O’Neill in what we take as a sign of confidence. He has good tactical speed and seems primed for another big effort. Let’s use both in our rolling exotics and then press a bit with Joe Carl on top.

Through My Eyes flopped as the favorite in his debut but we’re willing to give him another shot in today’s third race. The Mullins-trained gelding continues to look good in the morning and Baze stays aboard. Judge Carr is the one to fear most. He’s moving up in class following a nice runner-up try last month while earning a decent figure and with another forward move he’ll be hard to deny. We’ll double the race for rolling exotic purposes and then press a bit with Through My Eyes on top.

Elegant takes a slight drop in class and this genuine and consistent veteran mare should be set for another solid try in the fourth race. Bejarano stays aboard and should have her in an ideal second flight position. Van Brit is drawn a bit farther our than we’d prefer but she has trained like she’s fit and ready for her first start since August and she absolutely owns this turf course. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference going to Van Brit.

The fifth race is a tough bottom rung sprint for fillies and mares and probably requires a spread. We’ll go three deep and hope that’s sufficient. Akeela isn’t all that keen on winning but she usually gets at least a share and probably is worth using in the exotics. This extended sprint distance always has been ideal for her style. Rossi Reserve hits rock bottom and may improve enough to pose a threat. She should be on or near the lead throughout and may get brave in this league. Lit de Bet is drawn nicely outside and could benefit from a soft pace prompting position. She knows how to win races and figures to have every chance. Go deeper if you can afford to.

Winds of Dubai looks like a single by default in the sixth race. The Aguirre-trained gelding has little to beat in this restricted claimer and looks capable of producing the last run under Gomez. He exits a much tougher race and really wasn’t beaten badly under the circumstance. There should be no excuses today.

Sophie’s Secret continues to look decent in the morning though she’s been something of a money burner in the afternoon. The seventh race appears to be a below average event for the level so maybe she has found a field she can beat. Atta Girl Alma has flashed some ability in the morning for Baltas and at 12-1 on the morning line probably is worth including in exotic play. The trainer is excellent with first timers. Good Party is another debut runner with a series of useful drills and should be a fit at this level. Preference goes to Sophie’s Secret but we’ll use all three in our rolling exotics.

Heir Kitty got her confidence back with a nice recent allowance score and her one prior effort on turf was arguably her best race to date. In the featured Blue Norther Stakes, she’s draw well inside and looks dangerous, though she’s no slam dunk to handle two turns. Scarlet Strike adds blinkers, exits the Grade One Starlet Stakes and tries turf for the first time (should like it). Talamo will have her rolling late. Sky High Gal was very impressive winning in Kentucky in late November and makes her first local start for Sadler. She’s been sharp in the morning in recent weeks and looks like a filly with a big grass future. Let’s use all three in rolling exotic play and then press with Sky High Gal on top.

The nightcap is a mess; use as many as you can afford to. Delgadillo has been out in the morning to work She’s Actceptional for Julio and she’s shown enough speed to rate a look. Warren’s Gussie also has done enough in the morning to merit consideration in this bottom-rung affair and the presence of Bejarano in the saddle makes her quite dangerous. Sugar Spice and Racy Rosa are the best of the known element and both have races that could win. Let’s try Warren’s Gussie on top in a race that might be best left alone.