Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sat., Jan. 26, 2013)

The Saturday program is excellent with a number of interesting stakes races and several price opportunities. As this is written, it is unknown which, if any, races will be contested on turf.

In the opener, Sassy Suances looks cranked up and ready to roll in her first start in more than a year and from her outside post the Vienna-trained filly looks quite capable of controlling this race from start to finish. We like her as a straight play and rolling exotic single, regardless of surface.

Storm Fighter ran better than the line will show when a distant fourth after a slow start in a fast, highly-rated affair. He’s come back to work sharply since that outing and seems sure to improve a bunch in today’s second race for Headley, who excels with second time starters. We’ll make him a strong straight play and rolling exotic single at anywhere near his morning line odds of 3-1.

Wind of Bosphorus removes blinkers today while continuing to impress in the morning so we’re going to give this O’Neill-trained gelding one more chance in today’s third race. In a field without a whole lot of early zip, the son of Johannesburg could inherit the role as the controlling speed; if can get away with a relatively soft opening quarter he just may forget to stop. We like him as a rolling exotic single, dirt or turf, and hope to get close to his morning line odds of 8-1 in the straight pool.

Scarlet Strike returns to the main track in the fourth race and in her only prior start on conventional dirt she finished a willing second to Executiveprivilege in the Chandelier Stakes during the autumn season. She’s looked extra sharp in the morning since narrowly missing in the Blue Norther Stakes on turf earlier this meeting and looks quite capable of producing the last run with Talamo staying aboard. At 2-1 on the morning line she’s a straight play and rolling exotic single.

Tiz Flirtatious simply out classes her rivals in the fifth race. The Jones-trained mare returns to state bred company and should be along in plenty of time under Bejarano as a short priced rolling exotic single.

The sixth race looks like an open event and requires a bit of a spread. Marks Mine is an interesting Bay Area invader and while clearly tackling a much tougher band today she has improving form and could fit well on this circuit. She’s pretty much a need-the-lead type and from the rail she could make the running and take this field a considerable way. Toss her in somewhere in the exotics at 12-1 on the morning line. Home Journey stopped badly in the Soviet Problem Stakes across town last month but she’s clearly better than that and has looked like her old self of late. This will be her first try around two turns but she’s bred to handle at least a mile and on her best day she can run with these. Doinghardtimesagain is lightly raced but genuine and consistent and can handle any trip. She continues to shine in the morning and figures to draft into an ideal second flight position. Switching to Talamo, the Hollendorfer-trained filly is the likely choice and one to beat.

In the seventh race, Omega Star was highly impressive winning his local debut in stylish fashion with a big figure and has trained smartly since. There’s no reason he won’t be just as effective routing as sprinting and from the good rail the son of Candy Ride should be within striking range throughout. We like him on top but we’ll also include in our rolling exotics the Northern California shipper China Prince, an improving gelding trying conventional dirt for the first time. He’s looked good in the morning for new trainer Dollase and offers long shot value under Talamo at 10-1 on the morning line.

Teddy’s Promise is back in her finest form and should be a short price in the eighth race. The Ellis-trained mare is Grade 1 winner over this track at this distance and looked like her old self when taking a fast overnight stakes here last month. Espinoza should have her along in plenty of time.

Big Bane Theory found himself on the lead in the Sir Beaufort Stakes and was out kicked late; in today’s ninth race he tackles state bred foes and catches a field with plenty of early speed. He’s much better when held up, covered up, and allowed to produce a late run and given that kind of trip and ride from Leparoux the Gaines-trained colt should return to winning form. At 5/2 on the morning line he’s a strong straight play and rolling exotic single.

There’s some long shot value in the nightcap with second time starter Cayton at 12-1 on the morning line. The Neil French-trained daughter of Tribal Rule didn’t break well and then kept to her task to finish a better-than-looked fifth in her debut during the autumn season. She returns with series of solid, willing drills, and seems certain to improve this time around. Flores stays aboard, so let’s try her as a knockout rolling exotic single in a below par field for the level.