Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sat., Feb. 22, 2014)

An excellent Saturday program starts off slowly but picks up steam, offering several attractive wagering opportunities later on the card. #1 Salsita is 4/5 on the morning line in the opener and probably should win, though she’s hardly trustworthy, having just failed as the favorite in a slightly tougher maiden claimer. We’ll pass the race and let her win.

The second race, a maiden state-bred turf miler, looks like a proper spot for #7 Do Some Magic. A lightly-raced and improving gelding, he should draft into a good pace prompting position and have every chance earn to his diploma from a below par field for the level. #1 Brave Acts gets a good inside post and removes blinkers, so if you can get past the fact that he’s a 10 race maiden you can use him in rolling exotic play as well.

There’s little to work with in the third race with the two main contenders likely to get most of the action. #3 Room for Me is even money on the morning line and has plenty of room to improve for new trainer Callaghan, while second choice #5 Sri’s Red is listed at 6/5 and has the right style for this extended sprint. Use both in your rolling exotics or simply pass the race.

The fourth race offers some price opportunities; it’s a downhill turf sprint for mid-grade claiming fillies and mares. #8 Burns Turn lands the good outside draw and retains Bejarano while adding blinkers; the Miller-trained filly looks dangerous from off the pace. #3 Julio’s Gold could very well be the speed of the speed and is a perfect one-for-one on turf, while #6 Disko Dasko takes a one-level class drop and has races that make her a major player. We’ll use these three in rolling exotic play; feel free to spread a bit deeper if you find the need.

#1 Zuzu’s Petals offers value at anywhere close to her morning line of 5/2 in the fifth race, a six furlong main track starter’s allowance sprint. Perhaps a tad short in her recent comeback, the Jones trained filly has worked sharply since that race and should be fitter and tougher today. If she breaks cleanly form the rail she should be able to dominate from gate to wire as a straight play and rolling exotic single.

The sixth race is another slalom affair; however this one looks cut and dried if #11 Baruta performs up to expectations. The Group-1 placed import from Brazil has been very impressive in the morning for Mandella and because she won her debut by 14 lengths you know she can fire fresh. Prat should able to put her anywhere he wants from his comfortable outside post. She’s a single and straight play for us at or near or morning line of 7/2.

The seventh race, a middle distance $40,000 claimer, appears to be an excellent spot for #5 Golden Itiz to regain his winning form. He gets a break in the weights with the switch to Van Dyke and that coupled with a one-level class drop should get the Sadler-trained veteran back on the winning track. For protection you might want to save on a ticket or two with #1 Avare, a sharp O’Neill-trained gelding with a prior win over the Santa Anita main track and equally effective as a pacesetter or a stalker.

In the featured Sensational Star Stakes, #4 Lakerville was very impressive winning his recent comeback and has trained nicely since fort Abrams, so the lightly-raced six-year-old should be ready for another huge run over a course he’s been perfect over. Stevens should have him along in plenty of time. The one to worry about is #3 Summer Hit, another with excellent form over the Santa Anita turf course and shortening up to trip while retaining Bejarano. The Hollendorfer-trained gelding should draft into a soft pace prompting position.

The finale is a bottom-rung maiden claiming sprint; we’re hoping to get by using just three. #9 Profire has a steadily improving pattern for Sadler and with another forward move looks capable of handling his soft rivals. There’s probably little value to be had at his morning line of 8/5 but he does appear rather logical. #2 Alsace is a 13-race maiden and seems to lack a winning punch but he’s in good form and should at least get a piece of it. #7 Love Forever, a fair fourth in his debut up north, has plenty of room to improve and probably wouldn’t be shipping down unless he was doing well.