Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sat., March 3, 2013)

The Big ‘Cap’s 11-race card is terrific – the best of the season – and begins straight up at Noon.

In the opener, Storm Fighter has improving form for Headley and a style that should project well over a distance of ground. He has the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out pattern and continues to impress in the morning. In a below par field for the level, the son of Stormin Fever looks ready to graduate, but at 8/5 on the morning line offers little value in the straight pool. We’ll use him as a rolling exotic single.

Wednesday, freshened since December but training nicely for her return, retains Nakatani and really won’t have to improve much in the second race to beat this field. The nine furlong trip might be stretching her limit, though. Foxy Boss has a sprint-type pedigree but seems comfortable as a come-from-behind router and should be doing her best work in the final furlong. Espinoza should give her the patient ride she needs. We’ll double the race in our rolling exotics while slightly preferring Wednesday on top.

Prized by Buck, first off the claim for Miller, is being wheeled back for $12,500 in the third race. He was used on the pace last time out when finishing second but might prefer to be held up early, just as he was when breaking his maiden in December. He gets a major jockey switch to Talamo and seems sure to improve. Visigodo beat a soft maiden claiming field here in January but earned a competitive figure in the process and seems like a solid fit right back. Gomez will have him rolling late. Both should be used in rolling exotic play; we’ll give the edge on top to Prized by Buck.

J K’s Michief flashed good ability in her debut, winding up third after encountering trouble down the backstretch while stalking the pace. She adds blinkers for today’s fourth race and continues to look sharp in the morning, so we’re expecting this O’Neill-trained filly to step forward in a big way. Let’s make her a straight play and rolling exotic single at or around her morning line odds of 5/2.

The fifth race, a downhill turf sprint, is highly competitive; we’ll go three deep and hope that’s enough. Rosengold broke his maiden in an off-the-turfer earlier this meeting and has trained nicely since. If he duplicates that form on turf, he’ll be a factor right back. Amarish will race without blinkers in his first start for Asmussen and his first start since October. He should be a better type this time around and since he won his debut he’s proven he can fire fresh. The presence of Bejarano is another plus. Horizon Sky makes his U.S. debut for Mullins and has worked well enough to be fit and ready. His English form is solid and he should fit very nicely on this circuit. Preference goes to Horizon Sky but it’s a very tough affair.

Fiftyshadesofhay has really improved a ton of late both in the afternoon and in the morning and she appears ready for another forward move in the Las Virgenes.. She has a good stalking style and can finish, and her Santa Ysabel score earned a giant figure. Beholder was highly disappointing when second in the Santa Ynez but she’s trained like her old self of late and clearly can be the controlling speed if she wants to be. Both should be used in your rolling exotics; Fiftyshadesofhay obviously will be the better price so we’ll put her on top.

The seventh race is a grass grab bag and probably requires a spread. We’ll use three; you may feel the need toss in a few more. You Know I Know, freshened since a nice score over this course in early January, has trained well since missing most of the month of January and should be fit to fire a big shot. With good racing luck, he’ll be heard from late under Gomez. Jules Journey is strong in the speed figure department and will be doing his damage from off the pace. He’s won over this course in the past and probably has further improvement in him. Insideandoutside retains Bejarano, stretches out, and has improving figures. He wants patient handling and should get it. Jules Journey gets top billing and we’ll consider a play in the straight pool if he’s no lower than his 4-1 morning line odds.

The eighth race is another deep affair. Boompa is quite intriguing; he’s been burning up the track in the morning for Mandella, can fire fresh (he won his debut) and is a perfect one-for-one over this main track. His style suits seven furlongs and at 15-1 on the morning line he offers some pretty good long shot value. We’ll put him on top but also use Sir Bond, who might be coming around now for Asmussen and earned a career top speed figure at this distance during the autumn meeting, and Patriot’s Voyage, sharp and up in class and potentially the controlling speed again.

Suggestive Boy and Wilkinson just ran one-two in the Arcadia ‘Cap and it wouldn’t surprise us to see a similar result in the Kilroe Mile. The former was devastating in the final furlong with a superb late kick and everything he’s done in the morning since indicates he’ll run back to that race today. Wilkinson continues to shine in the morning as well and should fire another big shot.

We don’t really have a great opinion on the Big ‘Cap other than we’re not expecting any major surprises. Ron the Greek won this race last year and returns in peak form for Mott. Called to Serve really has gotten good since being taken over by Nick Canani and has looked super in the morning since being sent West to train specifically for this race. Game on Dude is the logical favorite and never looked better than in his recent romp in the San Antonio. He has to pack 125 lbs. but that shouldn’t stop him. Game on Dude is our pick to win, but we’ll triple the race in our rolling exotics.

The finale is a very good maiden special weight dash for 3-year-olds and contains several well regarded runners. We’ll spread. Storm Power has the benefit of a prior run – he was a closing third behind Goldencents in the best maiden juvenile sprint of the Del Mar meeting – and he’s trained like he’s ready to roll in his comeback for Yakteen. Bad Behavior is a first timer by the hot sire Midnight Lute and has done well enough in the morning to warrant inclusion. Airfoil is a debuting Bernardini colt who has done everything asked of him in the morning for the very clever Cerin stable. Beware. Summer Exclusive has shown plenty of ability in the morning for Miller, who excels with first timers. We’ll give Summer Exclusive a very slight edge on top.