Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sat., Jan. 5, 2013)

The Saturday program offers two major stakes races and a number of challenging wagering opportunities.

Diamond Flush missed by a neck in a similar affair across town but didn’t earn much of a figure in the process. At least it was a step in the right direction, so with further improvement the Hess-trained filly should be a factor in the first race opener, a modest affair. Supercilious rates top billing. She’s a first-time-in-a-claimer play with competitive figures and she didn’t run badly in her only prior outing on conventional dirt.

The second race is a strong straight maiden dash that has a few very nice prospects. Caballo Del Cielo has the benefit of three previous outings and continues to improve for Asmussen. He’ll bust out and go from the rail. Secretsatmidnight has trained a good thing for Baffert and appears plenty fit and ready, as has his stablemate. We’ll go three deep in our rolling exotics while slightly preferring Secretsatmidnight on top.

Goldencents is a high quality colt and should out class his rivals in the Sham Stakes, carded as the third race. He continues to impress in the morning and should control this race throughout as a short priced rolling exotic single.

Solar Eclipse returns turf in the fourth race and adds blinkers so improvement is likely for this Mulhall-trained filly. Baze should have her on or near the lead throughout. Exchange Student has an improving pattern for Proctor, ran well on turf two races back and retains Talamo. Kanotwait is drawn poorly outside but is a filly with some promise and after a sharp third sprinting across town should appreciate this added distance. All three should be included in your rolling exotics; we’ll press a bit with Kanotwait on top.

Buds Pal has much going for him in the fifth race. Up a notch after a game win, the Canani-trained gelding likes this conventional dirt surface and has trained nicely since his most recent victory. Maldanado always has gotten the most run out of him.

Porfido is 11 years old now but he still has his back class and today returns in the sixth race to his favorite turf course. He’s back with Leparoux, who won on him two races back at this level. Lamm is strictly the one to beat. First off the claim for Hellendorfer, the veteran gelding makes a major switch to Bejarano and always gives his best, yet he’s zero-for-9 lifetime over this turf course (albeit with four seconds and four thirds). Maybe today is the day he’ll break on through.

Ultimate Eagle has been training like he’s old self and arguably the best race of his career came over this main track last year when he was a runaway winner of the Strub. He’s clearly the controlling speed in the San Pasqual and should be tough to catch. Coil makes his final career start today and his connections are hoping he can go out a winner. In the morning, he looks as good as ever. Slight preference goes to Coil but we’ll use both in our rolling exotics.

In the eighth race, Vibrato Jazz has trained like he’s fit and ready for Sadler and while he doesn’t have a history of running well fresh, he returns in a winnable spot. The son of Political Force likes this course and Gomez should have him within range throughout. Power Foot, freshened since finishing a respectable fifth in the Hollywood Derby, is realistically spotted today and should be a factor from off the pace. We’ll give a slight edge to Power Foot but use both in rolling exotic play.

The nightcap is a weak race for the level and anything can happen. We’ll try to get by using just two but if you can afford to spread, go right ahead. Courageousandbold broke her maiden with a modest figure recently and may be a fit right back with continued improvement. She seems to be doing well in the morning for Sadler and Garcia stays aboard. Scary Ride drops into an easy spot for Hollendorfer – a bit suspiciously we may add – but if she has another good one in her she’ll very likely beat this field.