Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Fri., Jan. 17, 2014)

Friday’s program begins with a 3-year-old filly claiming sprint that attracted just five runners. #3 Frandontjudge returns to her claim level after a starter’s allowance win across town and based on speed figures is realistically spotted. However, at 6/5 on the morning line she offers little value. #1 Time for Angie looks like the best of the closers and was actually stakes-placed earlier in her career. There’s not much to work with here.

The second race is a bottom-rung maiden claimer for older fillies and mares. #5 Just Dancing, first off the claim for Mitchell, finished a distant second vs. similar earlier this month but with just three career starts probably has room to improve. She switches to Talamo and looks capable of producing the last run in a ho-hum affair.

The Pick-6 begins with the third race, a $25,000 claiming turf event for distaffers. #7 Highly Rated has plenty in her favor; the Hollendorfer-trained mare should be the controlling speed and retains Bejarano. Nine furlongs might be stretching her limit but the lack of effective closers may enable her to get the trip.

Bottom-rung claiming fillies and mares meet over a middle distance in the fourth race with two main players. #2 Splendiferous Moon stretches out again in her second start since being claimed by Mullins and looks like the most dangerous of the closing types, though her 8/5 morning line odds don’t offer much hope for value. #5 Pawn Shop ran well when second vs. tougher during the autumn meeting and a repeat of that effort today will most likely be good enough to beat this group. It’s hard to find much life in any of the others.

The fifth race has a bit of contention and rolling exotic players may find the need to spread a little. #5 Boyett seems like a progressive sort and if he can establish the pace without undue pressure – he’s clearly a need-the-lead type – the Glatt-trained gelding could be long gone. He’s reunited with Bejarano, who won on him two races back, so we’ll slightly prefer him as our top selection. #2 Vibrato Jazz is always some kind of late threat and his recent numbers are solid, though his lifetime 1-for-18 record makes him a bit hard to trust. #6 Ashley’s Bambino earned a career top figure when beating a state-bred field at Hollywood Park last month and he won over this course last year when ridden by Talamo, who reappears today.

Now comes the most anticipated race of the day featuring the debut of hot shot maiden #9 Day of Fury. A son of Street Sense from the Baffert barn, this colt has looked extraordinary in the morning with Smith coming out to work him in a very impressive recent drill (listed as five furlongs in 59 4/5 seconds on Jan. 10 in what was actually a gate work in 1:12 3/5). This colt has speed but trains like he’ll handle a distance of ground and could be a real good one. His main competition would appear to come from stable mate #2 The Admiral, in the money in both of his starts and today racing without blinkers while retaining Talamo. The son of Giant’s Causeway looks something of a trial horse – we doubt he can beat a real good maiden but it will take a good one to beat him. To complicate matters even more, Baffert has a third starter in the field, #4 Icy Ride, fourth in the same race The Admiral exits and also removing the hood for the first time today. Big ticket players might be inclined to use all three in rolling exotic play but from what we’ve seen Day of Fury looks like the most promising of the lot.

The featured seventh race is a first-level downhill turf sprint that should be won by #6 Ambitious Brew. A rapidly improving California-bred gelding, the son of Tizbud followed a maiden win over this course and distance with a sharp second over the Hollywood Park all-weather last month in a very fast, highly-rated and productive race for the level. He continues to shine in the morning for Jones, retains Smith, and with any kind of forward move should be very difficult to deny as a straight play and rolling exotic single.

The finale is a $30,000 maiden claiming sprint for older runners that should be won by either #8 The Cleaners or #7 Dehere Is Gone. The former drops in for a tag for the first time while adding blinkers and trying dirt; the Machowsky-trained gelding has much better than par speed figures for this league and is clearly the one to beat. Debuting #7 Dehere Is Gone has trained just well enough for Spawr to indicate he has some talent, and a little will certainly go a long way in this modest affair.