Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Thu., Oct. 17, 2013)

The Thursday program begins with a pair of light races that lack true wagering value. The better opportunities come later in the program.

In the opener, #5 Sassy Suances plummets in class and will be a short price if healthy. Trouble is, all three of her victories have come in gate-to-wire fashion and #6 Sugar Spice is quick enough to prevent that from happening. Tread lightly here.

Two comebackers will get much of the play in the second race; #5 Scat Patty and #4 Tribal Dress both have prior form that would win a race like this, but both have been away since May. Neither one is what you’d call trustworthy, but where else is there to go here?

The Pick-6 begins in the third race and now things get a little more interesting. #3 English Crossing ran quite well at Del Mar, has trained sharply since, and seems the solid choice. She’s reunited with Talamo, who won on her two races back, and the Mulhall-trained filly should draft into a comfortable second-flight, stalking position. #5 Gulsary, a closing fourth in the same race English Crossing exits, makes her second U.S. start while retaining Stevens. She’ll be running on strongly late.

#7 Street Choir and #8 Wildcat Candy look fairly solid in the fourth race and both should be included in rolling exotic play. Street Choir drops to the bottom and has the style for this extended sprint trip; he’ll be rolling in the final furlong. Wildcat Candy also figures to be a late threat but loses Bejarano – who opts for Street Choir – and should be a much better price because of it.

The fifth race for maiden juvenile fillies looks made to order for #7 Cause Im a Bigshot. She finished a willing third in her debut sprinting over the all-weather at Del Mar and today stretches on a surface she’s bred to love. Mitchell is strong with second-time starters and chooses to add blinkers; we’re expecting Leparoux to have the daughter of Giant’s Causeway within striking range (or perhaps even on the lead) throughout.

High priced maiden claiming state-bred two year olds sprint five and one-half furlongs in the sixth race; the two main contenders are the debuting #2 Scamalot and #9 Johns Journey, the best of the known element. Scamalot has a solid series of drills for McCarthy and looks plenty fit and ready for a big effort. Clearly, he won’t have to be a world beater to win it. Johns Journey had a decent run over the track last month in what was a better-than-par race for the level; any kind of forward move will make him strictly the one to beat.

#9 Noise of the Crowd looked good handling a $25,000 claiming field down the hill two weeks ago and is brought back on short rest with a double jump in class in today’s seventh race. She earned a career top speed figure in that victory and Bejarano rides her back for Palma. #3 Brilliant Melody shows up for a tag for the first time since her maiden claiming debut win in June of last year and on numbers is more than capable of winning in this league. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.

We’ll also go two-deep in the eighth race finale, a middle distance bottom-rung maiden claimer. #6 Chocolatier has been a beaten favorite in his last pair but both efforts were decent and his speed figures are rising, so the Sadler-trained colt deserves another look. #4 Midnight Casanova chased straight maidens at Del Mar, has worked well since for Hollendofer, and seems sure to improve a bunch at this level, especially with Bejarano jumping aboard.