Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Thu., Jan. 16, 2014)

A new week of racing begins with a maiden turf miler that seems ideal for #2 Presenceofagenius. A closing third in his sprint debut last month, the son of Sky Mesa should improve considerably with the switch to Stevens and the stretch-out in trip and sports a bullet workout since raced. He’s 8/5 on the morning line and could very go lower.

#2 Maximinus and #3 Tosheen will do battle on the pace in the five-runner second race, a $50,000 claiming sprint for 3-year-olds. The former just beat a modest maiden claiming field but seems like a progressive sort and has trained well since raced. The latter has won three of his last four starts and should draft into a good pace-prompting spot outside. We’ll give Tosheen a slight edge but we’ll use both in our rolling exotics.

The third race kicks off the Pick-6 with #1 Clouds Clearing offering a bit of value at his 3-1 morning line odds. The Pederson-trained gelding adds blinkers, returns to dirt, shows a bullet workout since raced and has improving speed figures. With another forward move today he should be hard to beat. #5 Capo went north to graduate and returns for O’Neill with a bit of confidence. He’s not fast on numbers but seems like a trier and has winning form around two turns, so we’ll include him on a ticket or two.

The fourth race, a competitive middle distance claimer, seems fairly wide open and probably requires a spread. #5 Graeme Crackerjack finished second in a softer spot recently but earned a giant figure in the process and a repeat effort today should be good enough to win. #2 Big Wags takes a nosedive in class and certainly has seen better days but he loves to win and at this level he might remember how he used to do it. #9 Go to the Pulpit likes this track and is another dangerous class dropper to consider.

The fifth race is a turf raffle down the hill; we suggest you use as many as your ticket will allow. #9 Burns Turn is drawn comfortably outside; the Sadler-trained filly switches to Nakatani, drops in class, and shortens up in trip. She should be dangerous from off the pace. #2 Happybirthdaybaby, first off the claim for Hollendorfer (37% with a flat-bet profit), shows an excellent runner-up try in her only prior grass sprint and is a contender under Bejarano.

Weak maiden claimers sprint seven furlongs in the sixth race; #1 Run for Pleasure looks quite intriguing and should offer value at his morning line price of 6-1. Well-beaten after a slow start in his debut, the Glatt-trained colt continues to show ability in the morning and deserves another chance. #3 Common Confusion isn’t fast on numbers but is steadily improving and has the right style for this extended sprint trip. We’ll prefer these two; feel free to spread if you can afford to.

The featured seventh race is a turf sprint for first-level allowance 3-year-olds and attracted a strong lineup. #1 Toowindytohaulrox ran extremely well in both of his outings over this course during the autumn meeting and has trained in sharp style for his sophomore debut. Smith will have him rolling late. #2 Street Icon has the pedigree to love turf and is rapidly improving for Sadler. Bourne Heat won a maiden turf sprint in nice fashion at Hollywood Park and retains Bejarano. Preference goes to Toowindytohaulrox but all three should be considered for inclusion by rolling exotic players.

The nightcap doesn’t have much in the way of contention so we’ll use just two. #7 Putahexonher is bred for speed on both sides of her pedigree and has trained well for Kruljac, whose first timers often run better than they work. She’s a big number at 12-1 on the morning line and we’re thinking she’s a lot better than that. #5 Elegant in Silk has been off more than six months but the works are okay and her numbers from last year are better than par. In this league she’s a “must use.”