Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Thu., Jan. 23, 2013)

A massive $419,541 Pick-6 Carryover awaits players on a challenging Thursday program.

The first two races look chalky. #1 Sergeant O’Rourke returns to the claiming ranks in the opener and seems well-spotted to regain her winning form. She scored in her only start over this main track during the autumn meeting, has steadily improving speed figures, switches to Bejarano, and continues to look sharp in the morning for Miller. If she breaks cleanly from the rail the daughter of Forestry should be able to justify her favorite’s role.

The second race finds recent big figure winner #6 The Cleaners returning on short rest to take on starter’s allowance rivals, and if doesn’t react to the quick turnaround he should be able to dominate this group. Drawn comfortably outside, the City Zip gelding likely will enjoy a soft pace-pressing trip at what surely will be shorter than his 9/5 morning line odds.

The Pick-6 begins with the third race and because the sequence lacks a slam dunk single the payoff has the potential to be substantial. #5 He’s a Dance Star, first off the claim for Baltas, returns after a two-month layoff on the raise (a positive sign) and always has been partial to this turf course. He’s reunited with Bejarano, who has won with him in the past, and the works indicate fitness. #2 A Toast to You, freshened since October, is another with winning form down the hill and though he captured a state-bred hundred grander in his last outing this $50,000 claimer seems like a realistic spot. We’ll try to get by using just these two; big ticket players might want to toss in a few more.

The fourth race is a weak maiden claimer with little to trust. Truthfully, nothing would surprise us here. First-timer #2 Gutsy Ruler has shown enough in the morning to warrant strong consideration; the Tribal Rule gelding is bred for speed and should be plenty fit. #5 New Order shortens to five-and-one-half furlongs and his kind of speed makes him dangerous at this trip. These are the two we’ll prefer but we suggest you use as many as you can afford to.

Older state-bred maidens go a mile on turf in the fifth race. Here’s another raffle demanding a spread. #1 We Have Lift Off had brief speed in a much tougher main track sprint in his debut and tackles a considerably easier group today; there’s some value here at 8-1 on the morning line. #8 Through My Eyes earned a strong speed figure when second in a maiden claiming dash earlier this month; we’ll use him though it’s uncertain if he really wants to run this far. #9 Public Interest isn’t the handiest of sorts but he will run on late and a repeat of his race-before-last probably will be good enough to beat this bunch. These are the three we’ll prefer with ‘Interest earning slight top billing.

Bottom-rung claiming milers make the sixth race a difficult proposition and is another that contains several to seriously consider. #3 Brown Boss, away for two months and plummeting in class, is more than good enough to win on his best day, but his current condition must be questioned. His one prior try over this track wasn’t terrible, Talamo stays aboard, and he has back numbers that are more than sufficient. #4 Red Sharp Humor, first off the claim for Pender (24% w/flat bet profit) is just 2-for-24 overall but one of his wins came over this main track. Pedroza likely will try to put him on the lead. #6 Liberty Cap has been racing well below his best lately but this class drop could wake him up, so we’ll toss him in as well. These are the three we’ll be using without any degree of confidence.

The featured seventh race, a mile turf event for entry-level state-bred fillies and mares, finds the lightly-raced #2 Mangita in a good spot to regain her winning form. She has rising speed figures, a sharp recent second place performance over this course and distance, three nice breezes since ran, and the potential for another significant forward move. She has good early speed but doesn’t need the lead to win, so Gryder can play it by ear. #4 Miss Well Molded likes this turf course and will be tough if she can duplicate her nice score two races back. Bejarano, who rode her to that victory, returns today.

The nightcap is a maiden claiming main track miler for 3-year-olds with the Mullins-trained #3 Runaway Que the logical 2-1 morning line favorite. Second in a similar spot in a productive race last month, he’s trained well since and should be able to produce another forward move. Delgadillo likely will have him on or near the lead throughout. #4 Keeneland Kitten stretches out to a more suitable trip today and has a look off his runner up try at Churchill Downs two races back. #5 Bluegrass Fox Trot, third in the same race ‘Que exits, won’t have to improve much to win and is worth including as well.