Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sat., Sept. 28, 2013)

Six stakes races, five of which are Grade-1s, highlight a glorious Saturday of racing at Santa Anita that includes a Pick-6 carryover of $42,333.

A couple of fast-working first-timers should get plenty of play in the opener, a six furlong sprint for juvenile state-bred fillies. #11 Versye acts like a quick filly for O’Neill and appears fit and ready for a huge run. The daughter of Square Eddie seems a whole lot better than her morning line odds of 8-1. #12 Yana, a Bertrando filly from Bill Spawr’s stable, has looked quite good in the a.m. as well and goes for a barn that does exceptionally well with debut runners. The best of the known element actually exits a high priced maiden claimer; #9 Another Victoria earned a pretty good number when second in her bow at Del Mar and retains Bejarano while moving up to straight maiden competition.

#7 Southern Sunrise demolished a maiden $40,000 field at Del Mar in his first start in five months and a repeat performance today will make this Puype-trained gelding very difficult to deny in the second half of the early daily double. He’s 6/5 on the morning line. #8 Hello Frankie is much slower in the speed figure department but exits a tougher entry-level allowance race and should at least land in the frame in this starter’s allowance affair.

#1 Bourne Hot was third to Diamond Bachelor two races back and then finished third again behind Schoolofhardrocks in a hot maiden affair, both races at Del Mar last month. There doesn’t seem to be anything in the third race quite that good, so from his good inside post in this one mile maiden turf affair the O’Neill-trained colt may have found a field he can handle. There’s some value here at his morning line odds of 5-1. #10 Cautious Giant switches to the turf for the first time and we won’t be surprised if this son of Giant’s Causeway improves a ton. The Gaines-trained colt continues to train like a nice type and exits what we think was a pretty strong maiden affair over the all-weather at Del Mar.

The fourth race, a strong maiden extended sprint for juveniles, provides the well-regarded #8 Kristo a chance to make amends after finishing second as the strong choice in his debut last month at Del Mar. The son of Distorted Humor continues to shine in the morning for Sadler and we’ll be surprise if he doesn’t step forward big time today. The debuting Baffert colt #4 Da Bears has been impressive in the morning as well and may be the one to include if you’re playing exotics.

Though she’s still a maiden, Bodemeister’s half-sister #1 Fascinating looks like the one to beat in the Chandelier Stakes, the first Grade-1 event of the afternoon in the fifth race. She acts like she’ll improve considerably over a distance of ground, and we’re think she’s going to appreciate conventional dirt as well. #6 Belle of the Fleet looked terrific breaking her maiden at Del Mar in fast time and is another that shouldn’t be inconvenienced by the stretch-out in trip. #8 She’s a Tiger is a classy filly with intense speed; she has to be respected but she’s no slam dunk to handle the added ground based strictly on bloodlines.

The sixth race, the 10 furlong Rodeo Drive on grass for older fillies and mares, looks like a match race (again) between #3 Tiz Flirtatious and #7 Marketing Mix. These two hooked up in the Gamely at Hollywood Park in May and Marketing Mix was the better of the two, but Tiz Flirtatious may have caught up to her rival since then. Her victory in the John C. Mabee Stakes at Del Mar was scintillating. Marketing Mix has trained like her old self of late and surely is better than her disappointing run in the Beverly D. Stakes. We’ll go with Tiz Flirtatious slightly on top but it’s a really difficult call.

The Frontrunner Stakes for juvenile colts goes as the seventh race and is very difficult. Many of the top contenders could be best as late-running sprinters and, as good as they are, could be suspect around two turns. #4 Can the Man should stretch out nicely and might wind up as the controlling speed; the Baffert-trained colt certainly has the pedigree to handle a middle distance. If you’re looking for a bit of a price play, consider #10 Test Ride, a maiden who was a closing third, beaten just over a length, behind Can the Man in a maiden sprint at Del Mar last month. The son of Zenzational may offer long shot value at 15-1 on the morning line.

The eighth race is a contentious first-level allowance affair on turf over a mile and may be require a bit of a spread in rolling exotic play. #2 Macaabra made a very favorable impression in her U.S. debut for Gary Mandella last month; she flew home to be beaten less than a length right off plane against a similar field and has trained very nicely since. We’ll also use #9 Foxy Boss (freshened since June but very dangerous if her improving pattern continues) and #12 Burns Turn (poorly drawn but first or second in six of eight career starts).

#3 Beholder is 3-1 on the morning line and we’d love to get that in the ninth race, the Zenyatta Stakes for fillies and mares. Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner continues to shine in the morning for Mandella and seems more than ready to take on older rivals for the first time. Stevens can send her to the front if she breaks running or he can settle and stalk #7 Joyful Victory if the situation calls for it. The latter won the Santa Margarita over this track last winter with a career top speed figure; she’s certainly top class and will take some beating. But we’re going with the younger Beholder on top.

If the real #7 Paynter brings his best stuff today he can win the 10th race, the Awesome Again Stakes, and a good recent work gives indication that he’ll bounce back in a big way after his disappointing foray to New York. #10 Mucho Macho Man, second over this track in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last year, has trained well since arriving in California and is strictly the one to beat in a field lacking in effective late runners. We’re sticking with Paynter at least one more time.

The finale is the listed Unzip Me Stakes for fillies and mare sprinting down the hill and makes for a very tough final leg of the Pick-6. We’ve always felt that #11 Unusual Way might be most effective sprinting, and she’s cutting back in trip while dropping out of the Grade-1 Del Mark Oaks. Maldonado has won on her in the past, and should have her within range throughout. #9 Heir Kitty figures to be running on strongly late under Gomez, while price players might considering including in rolling exotic play #3 Zia Zia, lightly-raced and returning turf. She’s offering long shot value at 20-1 on the morning line.