Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Thu., Jan. 17, 2013)

There’s little to trust in the Thursday opener, so the best advice is to tread lightly. Donato is a first-off-the-claim for Miller and could improve after dropping a notch and returning after a month’s rest. He’s always liked this track and can be expected to rebound. Anaaba Premium handled Donato fairly convincingly when they met across town last month and is back to reality today after being overmatched vs. $20,000 foes here on New Year’s Day. Both are capable of winning in this league if they’re feeling up to it, so we’ll use both in our rolling exotics.

The second race is another weak affair; we don’t really have any great conviction. Trice Up is an eight race maiden but at least has hit the board in three of his last four starts and switches to Stevens. He should be within range throughout. Derekson seems to want the front end but might have some company; he lands Talamo and has improving numbers so he might rate a slight edge by default. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics; you may feel the need to go considerably deeper.

Sweetrayofsunshine moves up a notch in today’s third race following a solid win on New Year’s Eve against bottom rungers and the figure she earned indicates she’ll be a factor right back. Rossi Reserve, clearly a need-the-lead type and very effective in her role as the controlling speed, stretches out after a solid sprint win here Jan. 1 and she’s shown in the past the ability to carry her speed around two turns. Gryder will have her out winging again. Katy’s Kitty is yet another front-running type, although in this case Maldonado likely will try stalking tactics. The veteran mare certainly can be effective in that role, and she clearly likes this racetrack. She joins a barn that didn’t have a starter all of last year, but Capitaine has had decent stats in the past. All three should be used in rolling exotic play; we’ll go with Katy’s Kitty slightly on top.

Captain Hadley chased much tougher competition in his debut across town in November and is realistically dropped into the maiden claiming ranks in today’s fourth race by O’Neill. These are infinitely softer and the Flower Alley gelding should take full advantage of the opportunity with Pedroza riding him back. We’re expecting a gate-to-wire performance. You might also want to consider in your rolling exotics Bro Derek; he looks like the best of the closers and makes a major switch to Bejarano.

In the fifth race, So Tempted hits hard in this league and returns to her favorite surface after a month’s freshening. Pedroza knows her well and will have this Sherman-trained mare on or pressing the pace throughout. There Is Not Limit nosed out ‘Tempted when they met in mid December at Hollywood Park but she’s on the negative end of a two lb. switch in weights, for those who care about such things. ‘Limit also might be slightly more effective over all weather tracks. Both should be used in rolling exotics but we’ll give a slight edge to So Tempted.

Broker Brett missed by a diminishing neck in a turf sprint last month at Hollywood Park and gets an extra half furlong to work with while making just his third career start in the seventh race. The Sadler-trained colt retains Baze and with good racing luck should be able to produce the last run in what appears to be a below par field of older maidens. Let’s make him a straight play and rolling exotic single.

Today feature brings back Eblouissante, who was very impressive winning her debut, and while she’s not yet Zenyatta she remains a very exciting prospect. She returns to action following a minor problem that caused a late scratch in a similar event in December but her works indicate she is fit and ready for another huge run. She’s a logical no value rolling exotic single.

The nightcap looks like a better than par race for older high priced maiden claimers. Stars and Moons has been knocking on the door and really won’t have to improve much to finally earn his diploma. He’s solid in the speed figure department, retains Talamo, and should draft into a nice second flight position. Candy’s Jewel surfaces for a tag for the first time and seems sure to move forward. Bejarano rides him back for Hollendorfer and on pure numbers this Candy Ride colt is strictly the one to beat. Prime Number also is worth including; the Maria’s Mon gelding switches to conventional dirt and stretches out for the first time while continuing to train like a decent sort for Sadler. Krigger should have him on or near the lead throughout. Candy’s Jewel gets top preference but go three-deep in your rolling exotics if you can afford to.