Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sat., Feb. 9, 2013)

An excellent Saturday program begins at 12:30 p.m. and offers 10-races, highlighted by the 14-runner San Marcos Stakes over 10 furlongs on turf.

One of these days Magnum Force is going to get out of the gate cleanly and when that happens he might be able to draft into a nice stalking position. He can finish a bit, and if a normal pace develops in today’s opener he might make some noise in the final furlong. Smith stays aboard for Jones. Waitwaitdonttellme is improving with racing for Puype and with another forward move today could be set to graduate. Leparoux will have him bearing down in the final furlong. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics while slightly preferring Waitwaitdonttellme on top.

In the second race, Tizzy Dynamic, first off the claim for O’Neill shortens up in trip and switches to Baze while landing the comfortable outside post. He seems sure to improve a bunch so in a below par field for the level we’ll make him a strong straight play and rolling exotic single.

The third race is a difficult affair; we’ll use three in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass the event. He’s Not too Shaby didn’t’ break well last time out and didn’t really fire; he’s trained well since and his best puts him right there. I’m Not Gray crushed maiden claimers and was haltered by Ellis; he’s another likely to move considerably forward. Judge Carr is a solid fit on numbers and looked good in a recent maiden claiming win from off the pace. He switches to Talamo and should be a threat right back.

King’s Giant is lightly-raced and improving and should enjoy the nine furlong trip in the fourth race. He’ll be running on late. Syndicated is our top pick and one to beat. The Pender-trained colt switches to Bejarano, exits a hot race and need only transfer his main track form to turf. His two grass efforts aren’t much but we’re thinking he’s a better type now.

The fifth race is a weak maiden claiming two-turner and may require a spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll try a different strategy, hoping to get by singling a first-timer starter, Already Rockin, in a race in which the known element looks mediocre. ‘Rockin’ gets Bejarano and has done enough in the morning to be fit and ready for a clever outfit. He’s a decently bred gelding and offers considerable value at anywhere near his 10-1 morning line odds.

The sixth race appears to be loaded with speed types, so Belle de Lune could be very dangerous from off the pace. Fourth in a strong race in late December, she’s trained sharply since for Proctor and switches to Gomez. With good racing luck she’ll be heard from late. Hidinginplainsight is a dangerous turf sprinter and if she can survive the early heat she’ll take this field a very long way. Talamo rides her back for Puype. Let’s put Belle de Lune slightly on top while doubling the race in our rolling exotics.

We’ll triple the seventh race in our rolling exotics. Bench Press finished a solid third in his debut, has trained well since and seems very likely to benefit from the run. Zee Bros is a first timer from Baffert’s barn and has trained well enough to warrant consideration first crack out of the box. Salutos Amigos has dangerous early speed and should stick better today in what appears to be just a moderate race for the level. We’ll put Bench Press on top.

Pride of Silver drops for the money run in the eighth race and if he has one good one left he should be able to beat this field. He returns to conventional dirt, switches to Talamo, and has looked solid in the morning since his last race. There’s not much value here but we’ll try him as a rolling exotic single.

In the featured San Marcos, Interaction ran superbly at 29-1 in the Hollywood Turf Cup and a repeat of that effort today should be good enough to beat this field. The veteran high class South American import figures to enjoy a perfect, ground-saving trip from the rail and we’re expecting Talamo to have him along in time. We’ll also include Temple’s Door, the lightly-raced Mullins horse with an improving pattern and affection for the local turf course.

Chico Suarte drops to his lowest level in the nightcap and rates a big look off his runner-up try vs. tougher two races back. He’s stretching out for the first time and switches to Garcia, and in a soft field he’s likely to improve considerably. Captain Hadley will be running on late and if he moves forward again he’ll be dangerous in the final furlong. Both should be used in rolling exotic play; we’ll give Chico Suarte a slight edge.