Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sat., Feb. 1, 2014)

The Saturday program begins with an early daily double that looks very difficult. #3 Senator Bob and #4 Dunmore East look like the logical contenders in the opener, but neither one is trustworthy. In the second race, #3 Boller Bomb, #4 Fantastic Mizz, and #5 Silver Hustle all have a right to win but they’re tough to separate and in a small field none really offer a great degree of value. Play if you like, but we’re going to wait for better opportunities later on the day.

The third race is a tough allowance miler; #2 Appealing Tale just won over this track and distance with a career top speed figure and similar front-running tactics could lead to another victory. However, he’s hooking more speed today and the Miller-trained gelding may be asked to assume the role of a stalker. In his present form, he might be able to pull it off. #6 Hear the Ghost may benefit if a hot pace materializes and after placing in a pair of recent graded stakes the Hollendorfer-trained gelding tries easier foes while adding blinkers. There should be no excuses today.

The fourth race is a contentious downhill turf sprint for older claiming fillies and mares. #1 Burns Turn, first off the claim for Miller (22%), gets the unfavorable rail post but she’s trained well for her new connections and is reunited with Bejarano, who has won with her in the past. #5 With a Mistake is double jumped in class by new trainer Chew and has the right style for the course. #6 Blushing Martha is in good form for Stute and looks dangerous on or near the pace. These are the three we’ll be using in rolling exotic play; you should consider spreading even deeper if you can afford to.

The fifth race is another tough affair. #3 Appealing Resume, first off the claim for Puype, sat out her jail term and returns at the same level following a nice score last month. Bejarano rides her back. #5 Woebegon, recently claimed by Pender, has dangerous early speed and is particularly fond of this main track. Pedroza likely will let her roll from the start. #6 Vicki Victoria has been sparingly raced but is another with winning form over this dirt surface and her best puts her right there. Appealing Resume gets top billing for us but we’ll triple the race in our rolling exotics.

#6 Brother Pete and #8 Counting Days are the preferred pair in the sixth race, a nine-furlong affair on turf. Brother Pete has been stuck on seconds lately but his numbers are solid and Bejarano will have him doing his best work in the final furlong. Counting Days, away since last June but training like he’s fit and ready, has run well over this course in the past and should draft into a good stalking position.

The Gr. 1 Las Virgenes Stakes for 3-year-old fillies is carded as the seventh race and brings together a stellar field. Undefeated #8 Streaming, winner of the Hollywood Starlet in December, has trained in superb style since that race and has the makings of a terrific 3-year-old. She’s drawn a little farther out than we’d prefer but she should have enough tactical speed to gain a favorable position. #7 Taste Like Candy, second in the Starlet and then second again in the Santa Ynez last month, stretches out again and continue to impress in the morning for Hollendorfer. We’ll also toss in #2 Fashion Plate, a sharp maiden sprint winner recently and getting tested for class today. She’s drawn inside and looks like the likely pacesetter.

The eighth race is the Arcadia Stakes over a mile on turf. #9 Winning Prize is a high class South American import getting acclimated to racing in the Northern Hemisphere and we’re expecting the Argentine-bred five-year-old to step forward with a major performance today. He may be most comfortable on the lead and is reunited with Bejarano, who won on him last summer at Del Mar. However, Winning Prize may be forced into a stalkers’ role, as the lead likely will be taken by #5 Really Ready. A sizzling winner against a lesser field over this course and distance last month, the high-class gelding appears back in his finest form.

The nightcap is a bottom-rung maiden claiming sprint that actually came up considerably tougher than par. #14 Dehere Is Gone was a short horse in his debut – he flashed speed and faded to fourth – but he’ll be fitter and tougher today for Spawr. He continues to work like a decent sort and we’re expecting him to show it today. #7 Profire tries maiden claimers for the first time and should improve enough to be dangerous, while #8 Rob’s Pal is a route-to-sprint play with back numbers that make him a contender.