Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Fri., March 7, 2014)

The Friday program begins with as five-runner bottom-rung router that looks made to order for Bay Area shipper #1 War Politics. He likes the Santa Anita main track, has winning connections, a comfortable inside post and recent speed figures that are better than par. #2 Londinium went on the vet’s list following his most recent victory but he’s trained well since and seems like a logical exacta partner with War Politics.

#3 Rprettyboyfloyd remains in the second race as of this writing and we’ll assume this is where he’ll run; he’s also entered in the San Felipe Stakes tomorrow. Overmatched by not embarrassed when third in the San Vicente Stakes in his last start, he’ll try two-turns for the first time today (okayed by his pedigree) and when you look at his company lines (Bayern, Chelios, Kobe’s Back) you get a pretty good glimpse at the tasks he’s been faced with. Clearly he deserves the favorite’s role, but we’re equally intrigued by Mandella’s second time starter #6 Shackleford Banks. The son of Offlee Wild adds blinkers today following a sprint prep and seems sure to improve a ton today while stretching out to a distance he’s bred to prefer. Recent works have been outstanding. #7 Big Tire, second in his last pair, probably can’t beat a really good maiden but should at least get a piece of it.

The Pick-6 begins with the third race, a first-level turf event for fillies and mares that marks the U.S. debut of #5 Rhagori. A useful handicapper in England last year, she’s trained like she’s fit and ready for a barn that excels with debuting European imports and Bejarano in the saddle this daughter of Exceed and Excel looks hard to beat. Also worth including in rolling exotic play in the recent Miller claim, #8 Miss Well Molded, a winner of three of her last four and with figures that make her a strong fit at this level.

The fourth race looks like a spread; it’s a $16,000 claiming sprint restricted to 4-year-olds. #3 Too Fast to Pass, freshened since early January, returns to his claim level and the Hollendorfer-trained gelding retains Bejarano following a strong series of recent workouts. He has the proper style for this extended sprint trip and should fire his best shot. #8 Great Friends Rule is pretty much a need-the-lead type; he never seems to want to finish in a stalker’s role, so if he can manage to clear early he’ll have a chance. Talamo knows him well. These are the two we’ll prefer (with Too Fast to Pass on top) but feel free to add anybody else that catches your eye.

The fifth race is no picnic either, it’s a grass grab bag that has several contenders. #5 Hard to Resist has been chasing much tougher of late, so this class drop into an optional $40,000 claimer could get her back on track. Freshened since mid-January, working well, and switching to Bejarano, the Eurton-trained mare lacks a solid closing kick so it would behoove her to secure a pace-pressing position (or even make the lead if possible). #3 Sweet Red Cat, away since June but protected by new trainer Ellis, has a steady series of drills to have her fit and ready and she’s run well fresh in the past. Look for her to be doing her best work late. #8 High Jinks, nosed out in her last pair, is due for some luck and the barn is overdue for a win. We’ll toss in her in as well.

#8 Appealing Resume, razor sharp and claimed in her last pair, looks capable of extending her winning streak to three in the sixth race, an elongated optional $40,000 sprint for fillies and mares. Now in the Ellis barn (27% with first-off-claims), the seven year old mare is ideally suited for seven furlongs. We’ll also use #6 Our Pure Creation, a lightly-raced Bonde-trained filly coming off a solid effort in a similar spot at six furlongs. She seems well-suited for this trip and should draft into a comfortable pace stalking position. These are the two we’ll prefer but big ticket players can find reason to like a few others, such as #2 Sweet Factory (burning up the track in the a.m.); #3 Fanny Brice (troubled trips in her last pair) and #5 Small Moves (career top figure in a starter’s allowance win in January).

The seventh race is yet another difficult affair, a starter’s allowance turf sprint that offers several chances. #4 Intoxicating Move looked good winning from a slightly lesser field over this course and distance last month; she retains Bejarano and should be motoring in the final furlong. #6 Blake’s Magic was nosed out in a $32,000 Hillside sprint two weeks ago and earned a speed figure that makes her a solid fit in this league. #8 Heavens Stairway beat a maiden state-bred field under these conditions recently and with another forward move could be a threat right back. We’ll try to survive using only these three but it’s really anybody’s race.

The nightcap is an elongated sprint for bottom-rung maiden claimers. #3 Old Pueblo has rising speed figures that are better than par for this level and looks ready to graduate. #6 Rob’s Pal is an 11-race maiden and not one to trust, but he’s been second in his last pair and should land in the frame, at least. You could make a case for a few of the others but we’ll try to escape using just two.