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Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Thu., Feb. 20, 2014)
We begin the Thursday with an early daily double comprised of two six runner fields. In the opener #6 Addendum exits a tough starter’s allowance field and shows up for a tag today; the Cerin-trained mare is most effective in extended sprints and gets ideal conditions today. We’ll also toss in #1 Ghost N Your Heart, a winner of a third of her 18 career starts and a contender despite her low profile connections.
We’ll double the second race as well. #7 Crushed It drops into a maiden claimer for the first time and seems realistically spotted; the O’Neill-trained colt makes his first start over conventional dirt (shouldn’t be an issue) and switches to Bejarano, so we’ll put him on top. #2 Warren’s Sallyized, with two sprints under his belt, should be ready to stretch out and Lewis has an excellent record with this maneuver. Baze stays aboard what appears to be the most dangerous of the closing types.
The Pick-6 begins with the third race, a bottom-rung maiden claiming sprint for fillies and mares. #4 Eltoninadress, first off the claim for Hess, drops to the bottom in her first start for her new connections and that’s not normally a good sign; however, anything close to her best race will be good enough and she does have an excellent record over the Santa Anita main track. #5 Mary Contrary is another with consistent local form and should at least hit the board.
First-level allowance fillies and mare compete over a mile on turf in the fourth race; we’ve got it down to #2 Quinette and #7 Mangita. We’ll put the latter on top; the Headley-trained filly has finished second in her last pair after cutting out the fractions but today might be best served if Gryder employs stalking or waiting tactics. She’s been successful from off the pace in the past. Quinette has won two of her last three in sharp style with rising speed figures so the Ellis-trained mare is a “must use” in the exotics despite her lack of proven form on turf.
The fifth race probably requires a bit of a spread; we’ll go three deep and hope to survive. #2 Second Time is improving with racing and just beat a restricted #12,500 field with a career top number; she’s realistically spotted in this $10,000 open affair and should continue with her consistent form today. #3 Bas drops to her winning level and returns to dirt; she’s a strong fit in the speed figure department and should be prominent throughout. #6 Acute just wired a weak bottom-rung field and similar front running tactics likely will be employed. This is a tougher group but if she shakes loose early she could be a threat to keep going again.
We’ll use two in the sixth race, a starter’s allowance turf affair for fillies and mares. #5 Indygo F M A stretches out again for new trainer Drysdale (a rare claim for him, indeed) and has worked well for her new stable; she switches to Stevens and has a strong record over the local lawn. We’re expecting her to be along in time, but will also use #9 Amanda, a winner over this course and distance two races back and with a good stalking style that should give her every chance in a race without a whole lot of early speed.
The featured seventh race is a better than par conditioned allowance sprint that finds #5 San Onofre seeking his fourth straight win as the 6/5 morning line favorite. The Surf Cat gelding is very fast on numbers and continues to look sharp in a.m. drills. He’ll be a single on most rolling exotic tickets, but we suggest saving with the dangerous #6 Heir of Storm. The Miller-trained colt was out of his element in the Strub Stakes but he’s back around one corner and seems likely to be the controlling speed if Espinoza sends him. His triple digit Beyer victory on the Breeders’ Cup undercard last November is hard to ignore.
The nightcap is a wide open grass grab bag for high priced maiden claiming 3-year-old fillies. If ever there was a “buy” race, this is it; however, for small ticket players we’ll try to boil it down to just three. #3 Lust for Life drops into a claimer and switches to Bejarano; she has rising speed figures and with another forward move figures somewhere in the picture. Baltas’ other entrant, #5 Scenic Queen is likewise exiting straight maiden company and should improve; she’ll get the patient ride she needs from talented grass rider Prat. #10 Lamazone finished evenly down the hill vs. tougher in her debut and seems likely to improve with distance, experience, and the class drop for O’Neill. If she can negotiate a decent trip from her extreme outside post the daughter of Lemon Drop Kid might be the one to beat.