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

As this is written it is unsure whether there will be racing on turf. However, for the purpose of this analysis, we’ll assume the races will remain on grass.

The opener is a restricted claiming sprint for older fillies and mares and has little depth. One Fast Frog is lightly-raced (only six starts) and probably has the most room to improve. She makes her second start off a layoff and is realistically dropped in class by Hofmans while retaining Pedroza. If she can avoid trouble from the rail, she’ll be dangerous. Amy’s Outburst is another class dropper with a right to run well in this league; she adds blinkers, shortens up to a sprint and returns to conventional dirt. She earned a number two races back that makes her a solid fit with these. Let’s slightly prefer One Fast Frog on top while using both in our rolling exotics.

Solar Rocket always has liked this track, removes blinkers, and has little to beat in the second ace, a bottom rung claiming sprint. Mojica should have him on or near the lead throughout, and in a race lacking in effective closers, the veteran gelding looks capable of sticking it out. The fact that he’s failed as the favorite in his last two is of some concern, though. We’ll make him a rolling exotic single pretty much by default.

In the third race, Donato wired a softer field with an easy front-running trip and takes two level jump in class for new connections. He’s pretty much a need-the-lead type and could be challenged early, but if he can establish the pace without undue pressure he could come right back and score again. Baron Von Red had a sprint tune-up vs. tougher recently and today stretches out and drops for the money run for Sadler. Maldonado stays aboard and should have this lightly-raced six-year-old within range throughout. He’s our top pick. Mucho Besos earned a nice number when beating a restricted $16,000 field last time out and must be given a look on the raise in his present form. He has a good stalking style and Gomez stays aboard. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics while pressing a bit with Baron Von Red on top.

The fourth race is a tough, contentious downhill turf sprint; we’ll go three deep and hope that’s enough. You may find the need to spread a little deeper. Sassy Suances is stuck on the rail but has room to improve after scoring against state bred entry level allowance foes in her recent comeback. She’s backing up in trip but she has sprinter’s speed, so we’ll use her. Lemon Hero, away since December but with a solid recent work tab for Eurton, can produce a good late kick and repeat of her race before last makes her a major player. Marinda looked very good breaking her maiden over this course in her first start since joining the Mandella barn and earned a speed figure that makes her quite dangerous right back. Bejarano stays aboard. Preference goes to Marinda; we’ll use her in the straight pool as well and have a few extra tickets with her in the rolling exotics.

The fifth race looks like a below par field of older straight maidens and it won’t take a world beater to win it. Smart Journey debuts for low percentage connections but has shown enough in the morning to warrant a look in an open affair. We’ll use him along with the preferred Red Tesla, the comebacker in Baffert’s barn, who has back numbers that can win and has trained well enough to be fit and ready.

In the sixth race, Lemon Drop Downs is much better than his comeback indicates. The Asmussen-trained son of Lemon Drop Kid was never in the hunt in an off-the-turf comeback sprint last month but we’ll toss the race out and assume he’ll show his best on grass, as he did last year. Nakatani should have him within range throughout. Democrat Duck, a closing second in a similar affair at nine furlongs last month, shortens to a mile today and likely has further room to improve. Baze stays aboard for Hollendorfer. Both should be used in rolling exotic play; we’ll slightly prefer Lemon Drop Dream on top.

Flashback and Goldencents will get most of the play in the San Felipe Stakes and deservedly so; either one can win and both should be included in rolling exotic play. But the value in the race is offered by Hear the Ghost, a top notch prospect stretching out for the first time for Hollendorfer and with speed figures that make him a big time threat. He switches to Nakatani and should have plenty of pace to set things up for his closing kick. We’re expecting he’ll run better long than short and he’s been pretty good sprinting in two career races.

Sarach is two for two this season over this turf course and has rising numbers, so she should fit well in the China Doll Stakes. Bejarano likely will have her in an ideal pace stalking position. Birdlover, second in her last pair, really won’t have to improve much to win and is another with a good stalking style for this trip and surface. Flashy Ways, freshened since closing well to be a close third in the Miesque last November, has trained well for her return for Baltas and won the Surfer Girl Stakes over this course during the autumn season. She returns without blinkers and looks capable of producing the last run under Talamo. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics while preferring Flashy Ways on top.

Warren’s Parolee has the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out pattern and lands a comfortable inside draw while retaining Maldonado in the nightcap. His numbers are improving, he has the pedigree to stay a mile and the quality in this bottom rung maiden claimer obviously is weak. Let’s use him in the straight pool and as a rolling exotic single.