Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Thu., Oct. 24, 2013)

The Thursday program begins with a weak early daily double; the field has been reduced to three in the second race with win wagering only. Things pick up after that.

The opener finds #5 Eltoninadress at 6/5 on the morning line and the Taylor-trained filly seems logical, though she offers no value. Second in her last pair, she moves up a notch but actually catches a weaker field today than she did when second in both of her last two outings against bottom-rung $8,000 fillies and mares. There’s not much to work with here.

And there’s even less to work with in the second race. Both #2 Half Strike and #6 Motown Men drop to their lowest level ever and they’re tough to separate. Perhaps a slight edge should go to Half Strike due to his good record over the Santa Anita main track. Let’s move on.

The third race ushers in the Pick-6 and there are three main contenders as we see it in this downhill turf sprint for juvenile fillies. Debuting #6 Bijoux reportedly can run a bit but isn’t a quick type; she should be heard from late and with Bejarano aboard appears to have found a proper spot. We’ll put her slightly on top but also use #2 Blameitonthecat, second off the claim for Sadler and remaining in straight maiden company (a sign of confidence) and #3 Bosserette, a fairly decent fourth in a similar affair earlier this month and likely to continue her improving pattern today.

We’ll double the fourth race, a maiden claiming miler for juveniles. #6 Still Unbroken showed some ability when second in his debut sprinting earlier this month and if he can project that form around two turns today he’ll be right there. Our top pick is #7 Pantera Rojo. He exits an infinitely tougher spot – a hot straight maiden sprint at Del Mar – and has the pedigree to stretch out successfully with this class drop. The son of Sweet Return has trained fairly well for McAnally since that race and looks well-spotted to graduate.

The fifth race is a grass grab bag and if you can afford to spread, go right ahead. We’ll try to get by using only two. #4 Smart Striking likes to settle and make a run and Maldonado knows here well. She’s a fit on numbers and in an open fray should be right there, though her zero-for-six lifetime record over this course admittedly doesn’t inspire confidence. #5 Secret Cove, now in the Kitchingman barn, exits a tougher race, likes the Santa Anita lawn, and looks capable of firing a big shot fresh. At close to her 4-1 morning line she offers a bit of value.

#3 Hurry Home Clover seems the solid choice in the sixth race, a restricted main track claiming sprint, and if small ticket players are looking for a single he could be the one. The Bellamy Road gelding beat a lesser field here last month in fairly good style and has trained well since; we’re thinking the Spawr-trained gelding has another forward move in him and should handle the raise in class. His morning line odds of 5/2 seem about right.

The featured seventh race is a downhill turf sprint for conditioned allowance fillies and mares and the two we’ll use are #1 Macaabra and #7 Tribal Spy. Macaabra has the always-dangerous route-to-sprint angle working for her and continues to impress in the morning; a repeat of her U.S. debut two runs back charts very well in this spot. Tribal Spy was an excellent second in the Unzip Me Stakes last month and clearly is facing easier today; she’s genuine and consistent and strictly the one to beat.

The nightcap is a bottom-rung maiden claiming miler for older fillies and mares and actually looks like a better than par race for the level, at least on paper. #1 Patriot C H will try gate-to-wire tactics; she continues to train like a filly with some ability and could carry her speed this far if she can learn to relax just a little. #1 Kevin’s Kool Kat finished a solid second in a similar spot last month and won’t have to improve much at all to win. #5 Perfect Tango is bred to improve considerably over a distance of ground (Pleasantly Perfect) and gets that chance today. Chew has always been fairly effective with stretch-out plays.