Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Thur., Feb. 21, 2013)

A Pick-6 carryover of $113,777 awaits horse players as another week of racing begins with a challenging eight race Thursday program.

Although he blew a five length lead at 3/5 up north in his last outing, Russdiculous will be a short price choice again in today’s opener as he drops into a claimer for the first time while removing the blinkers that were added for his last race. At this abbreviated sprint trip the O’Neill-trained colt should be able to stick it out against this bunch, but offers no value. You can use him as a rolling exotic single or simply pass the race.

The second race looks fairly unplayable as well; the five runner field includes the 3/5 morning line favorite, Distracting, fourth in the Gr. 2 Santa Monica S. last time out and returning to the conditioned allowance ranks today. Blinkers go back on, Bejarano stays aboard, and the Baffert-trained filly will be hard to deny, though if you’re playing rolling exotics you may consider including on a ticket or two with Quizzical, improving with each outing for Glatt and with the style to enjoy this extended sprint trip.

We’ll go three deep in the third race to kick off the Pick-6; it’s a wide open grass grab bag for older state bred maiden turf sprinters. Empty Headed is a route-to-sprint play while retaining Nakatani and could be a factor from off the pace. He’s a contender based on speed figures. L’Dor Vador is a first timer with decent works for Puype; he gets Talamo and really won’t have to be a world beater to act with these. Celebrity Status flashed good zip in his debut (an off-the-turfer) and has a right to improve considerably with that effort behind him. Baze should have him on or near the lead throughout. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics and then press a bit with Celebrity Status on top.

The fourth race, a high priced maiden claimer, has a couple of interesting first timers along with the best of the proven element, so we’ll go three deep in our rolling exotics. Puttybadshark has shown enough in the morning to warrant a look first crack out of the box; the Koriner-trained filly is bred to be quick and figures tough if she leaves cleanly from the rail. Southern Journey also has flashed some ability in the morning leading up to her debut; Bejarano takes the call for Baltas and we’re assuming he must have gotten a story. Tribal Spy has shown she can run some; the Sadler-trained filly exits a live and productive race and most likely will be the favorite.

McAllister Boys is genuine and consistent and should enjoy a lovely ground-saving trip from his good rail post in the fifth race. He’s never been this far but has the proper style for 10 furlongs and Gomez will have him rolling in the final furlong. Saint Loup may have been a tad short in his U.S. debut but won’t be today. Freshened since November and looking sensational in the morning ever since, the Canani-trained import has Racing Post figures from France that would beat this field. Bright Thought seeks his third straight score and his numbers continue to rise with each outing. If he can project his middle distance form to this longer journey, the son of Hat Trick certainly can extend his winning streak. All three must be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll give Bright Thought a very slight edge.

Spacecoast finally broke her maiden, doing so against a weak bottom-rung crew but earning a very nice figure in the process and visually looking quite good. With Bejarano riding her back, the Machowsky-trained filly deserves a chance right back in the sixth race. Royal Tiger switches to Stevens and joins the Glatt barn; the veteran mare is a fit on figures and should be doing her best work late. Both should be included in your rolling exotics; we’ll give a slight nod to Spacecoast on top.

In the seventh race, Square Dancer arrives dead fit and ready to run another good effort following a nice maiden claiming score at Gulfstream Park. Now in the Miller barn, she gets Gomez and should be prominent throughout. The one to beat, though, is I Don’t Care Who, a sharp maiden claiming winner with a huge figure in an off-the-turf event here in late January. She’s done quite well in the morning since for Sherman, retains Mandonado, and has the kind of tactical speed to secure an ideal stalking position. We’ll double the race in our rolling exotics and then have extra tickets with I Don’t Care Who on top.

Teton County is a first timer in the finale, a modest bottom-rung maiden claimer, and certainly won’t have to be any kind of world beater to be dangerous in this league. He has low profile connections but a good enough work tab to indicate he has enough ability to warrant strong consideration. Green Team has shown he can run some; he’s been freshened since December and should be prominent throughout under Baze. Three Buttons Down, away since July but training like he’s fit to fire off the bench for Headley, showed enough last year to beat this type of field if he returns as well as he left. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics with slight preference to Three Buttons Down; go deeper if you can afford to do so.