Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sat., Feb. 2, 2013)

A terrific 10-race Saturday program offers a number of outstanding wagering opportunities.

In the opener, trainer Bob Baffert has the goods with the uncoupled Tiz the Truth and Spirited Touch; both are worth using in rolling exotic play. The former is improving with racing and continues to impress in the morning; with another forward move he’s home free. Spirited Touch probably is better than his debut indicates and should move forward in his second start, as most young runners from this barn do. Toss him in for a ticket or two.

The second race is a typical grass grab bag and requires a spread. Mr. Bossy Pants and Drift King were noses apart in a similar affair last month and they’re almost impossible to separate again. Atticus Jack drops two levels in class and shortens up off a layoff; he’s looked quite good in the morning lately and could fire a big shot fresh. We’ll try to survive using these three; go deeper if you can afford to.

Hi Chooch drops in for a tag for the first time in the third race and shortens to five and one-half furlongs. He epitomizes cheap speed but against this bunch he just might be able to stick it out. If not, anybody can win. Tread lightly.

Flashback out classes the Lewis field in the fourth and probably will do so on the lead in a race without pace. He’s a legitimate Kentucky Derby prospect and a no value rolling exotic single.

In the fifth race, Magnificent Shirl is steadily improving for Hollendorfer and should fire a big shot from the favorable rail and the switch to Bejarano. Tizmetizyou stretches out and tries turf for the first time; she looks like the controlling speed and if she can relax during the early stages she can take this field a long way. Both should be used in rolling exotic play; we’ll give Magnificent Shirl top billing.

The sixth race is stronger than par optional claimer and it will take a fast horse to win it. Luckarack always is a threat in this league and has worked nicely since losing his rider at the start last month. He’s a pro’s pro and always wants to beat you. Italian Rules, away since last summer and surfacing for a tag, has trained like he’s fit and ready and adores this main track. Krigger fits him nicely. Scorpion Warrior broke his maiden with a huge figure on opening day and has been very sharp in the morning since. He’s a “must use” in the exotics. In a deep and contentious field, we’ll put Scorpion Warrior on top and have a few extra tickets on him in the win pool.

The seventh race is another highly contentious affair; use as many as you can afford to in your rolling exotics. Oligarch is a perfect one-for-one over this course and always is dangerous on the front end. Toss him in. Diamondsdiplomat is a Florida invader now in Mitchell’s barn and should draft into a nice pace stalking position. He has numbers that make him a fit in this league. Te Rapa looks dangerous from off the pace. If the fractions come up faster than par, he could be tough to contain late, so we’ll put him on top and hope to get close to his morning line odds of 5-1.

Guilt Trip really impressed us in the San Fernando and in today’s Strub Stakes gets an extra half furlong to work with. This will be his third start since arriving from New York and he looks set for a major forward move. We’re expecting the Baffert-trained colt to be along in time as a strong straight play and rolling exotic single.

Fourteen are scheduled to start in the Arcadia Stakes; no matter which one you land on you’re very likely to get a square price. Akkadian returned to winning form with a powerful score vs. softer here last month; with good racing luck he’ll be dangerous again under Gomez. Silencio is lightly raced and improving and deserves a look once again after a sharp win in the Sir Beaufort. Today he’s tackling older foes but the Mandella-trained colt could be up to the task. Wilkinson is our top pick. He’s been working lights out since a sprint tune-up in an off-the-turfer in December and today gets ideal conditions. If he can find sufficient room to rally through the pack in the final furlong, he can be along in time.

In the finale, Eaton Hall drops for the money run and in this league should be hard to beat. He’s a non-winner over this track, though, so he’s certainly no single. Coyote Road is another big class dropper likely to stick around a long time at this level. He’s been looking especially good in the morning lately for Pederson. Et Tu Walker looks capable of producing the last run and from his outside post should have clear sailing. He’s a little slow on numbers but probably has some improvement in him. Use these three in your rolling exotics and anybody else that catches your fancy.