Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Thu., Jan. 9, 2014)

There’s an $87,195 Pick-6 carryover for the Thursday program that looks challenging but is well worth going after.

The opener should boil down to a pair of geldings that don’t seem to have a winning punch. #2 Cinco de Mario had every chance when missing by a nose as the 4/5 favorite in a turf sprint across town last month and today tries his luck over conventional dirt. There’s a reason he’s 1-for-15 lifetime. Maybe the addition of blinkers today will help. #3 Turn On the Brites also missed as the favorite last time out – he was a no-excuse second against a slightly lesser field at Hollywood Park – but at least he’s won a race over this dirt surface in the past. In a weak field we’re expecting the winner to be one of these two but neither offers much in the way of value.

#4 Magic Mark appears well placed to graduate in the second race. The son of Benchmark works like he’ll enjoy the added distance and if the Ellis-trained gelding moves forward at all following a fifth place sprint try across town he should be hard to beat. Worth noting is the powerful speed figure he earned in his debut. #6 Mr Lemon Tree stretches out and tries conventional dirt for the first time following a solid runner-up try sprinting on grass last month. He’s worth using on a ticket or two, but Magic Mark has more upside and certainly more room to improve.

The Pick-6 begins with the third race and we’ll go three-deep. #1 Ranulf earned a giant number when beating a lesser restricted group in November and this raise in class despite the two month layoff can be considered a sign of confidence from Baffert. The rail is of some concern but if the Malibu Moon colt can avoid trouble he may be the one to beat. #2 Too Fast to Pass, first off the claim for Hollendorfer (37% with a flat-bet profit with this angle) seems capable of improving for his new connections and he’s a consistent sort with an allowance dirt win in Florida earlier this year. The switch to Bejarano is another plus. #4 Money Cannon, a close third in the same race Too Fast to Pass exits, is a first-off-the-claim for Mulhall (23% with a flat-bet profit) and can be expected to move forward as well. He’s already won two races over the Santa Anita main track and earned his career top speed figure here during the autumn meeting.

The fourth race is a weak maiden claiming sprint for 3-year-olds with nothing to trust. Best advice is to spread as deep as you can afford to. #3 Rambling House finished fifth as the choice vs. similar last month with a tad of trouble; he’s not particularly fast on numbers but nobody is here. Pedroza should have him on or near the lead throughout. Midwest shipper #4 Keeneland Kitten finished second at Churchill Downs over a route of ground last time out so we know he has a pulse; however, he’s never sprinted in four prior runs and doesn’t act like he has any early speed. Maybe he’ll come running late. You could probably include #5 Vegas Street somewhere on your ticket; he gets off the rail and makes a monumental class drop from straight maiden company. However, he’s being thrown away in just his second career start so we’re thinking this son of Street Cry hasn’t impressed his people.

In the fifth race, #6 Princess Genevieve flashed some promise in her debut; she finished with interest in a maiden turf sprint at Hollywood Park last month and today stretches out to a distance she’s bred to enjoy. The Hollendorfer-trained filly switches to Smith and based on numbers is strictly the one to beat. #5 Euroclydon, nosed out in a similar maiden miler across town last month, gains Bejarano and should be tactically placed throughout. We’re fairly confident we can survive using just these two.

The sixth race, an extended sprint for restricted $12,500 claimers, finds #4 Jovita’s Tuffy dropping drastically in class. He’s a route-to-sprint play trying dirt for the first time, and the Mitchell-trained gelding could not have found a softer spot. He continues to train sharply so we’re going to assume he’s okay despite the big drop, and if so the lightly-raced gelding should beat this field. You can save with a ticket or two using #7 Warren’s Tyler S.; the Guitierrez-trained colt likes this track, gains Bejarano, and may be a late factor.

The featured seventh is a 10-furlong turf affair with only five runners; the two main contenders exit the same race. #1 Power Foot was a disappointing sixth across town last month but he’s better than that and continues to look quite sharp in the morning for Mandella. He’s won over this course in the past and should settle into an ideal ground-saving position. #2 Monastic, a strong third in that common race with Power Foot, switches from a 10-pound bug to Stevens and could find himself on the front end. He’s picking up nine pounds, though. We’ll double the race while preferring Power Foot on top.

The finale, an abbreviated sprint for bottom-rung maiden claiming older fillies and mares, looks treacherous; we’ll use two and hope that’s enough. #2 Secret Memo is a 13-race maiden but has finished second in her last pair so at least she’s healthy. This shortened trip certainly helps her cause. #4 Circular Logic, away since March, has trained well enough for Mitchell to expect a good effort and her numbers from last year make her a fit.