Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (March 13, 2014)

A competitive $40,000 claiming downhill turf sprint ushers in a pretty good eight race Thursday program. There are several capable of winning but the preferred pair are #2 Luckarack and #3 Atta Boy Pete, one-two finishers in a similar affair here opening day. Luckarack exits a tough state-bred stakes races and returns to turf while making a pivotal switch to Bejarano while Atta Boy Pete disappointed up north in his most recent start but has trained sharply since for Hollendorfer and should bounce back.

#4 Cherubin won’t have to worry about Kobe’s Back in today’s second race, a five-runner allowance sprint for 3-year-olds. Second to that high quality colt in the San Vicente last time out, the son of Henny Hughes shortens up six furlongs (probably his preferred trip) and looks very much like the controlling speed. However, at even money on the morning line there’s little value to be found.

The Pick-6 begins with the third race, a $10,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares. #6 Beautiful Spirit just won a restricted (nw-2) $12,500 dash with an okay number and is realistically spotted in this open affair. A bullet workout since raced should have her primed for another big effort and Bejarano stays aboard for Bonde. #8 Metaxa is somewhat slow on speed figures but she’s a first-off-the-claim for Miyadi and is a consistent sort with two prior wins over the Santa Anita main track. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics.

Trainer Tom Proctor holds the aces in the fourth race, a conditioned allowance Hillside sprint for fillies and mares. #1 Winding Way is graded stakes placed over this course and distance and exits a couple of much tougher races, so we’re expecting her to get her confidence back against this softer crew. Stevens jumps off the other Proctor, #4 Biorhythm, to ride her. Biorhythm, away since August but training well enough for her return, looks very much like a “lone f” possibility under bug boy Van Dyke and if she’s not respected early she’ll take this field a long way.

Maiden claiming 3-year-old fillies sprint five and one-half furlongs in the fifth race. #6 Moscato Girl, in the money in five of six career starts, switches to Espinoza, continues to look decent in the morning for Sadler, and may have found a field she can beat. #8 Chain Lightning is the one to fear most; the Bonde-trained filly flashed speed vs. straight maidens up north in her debut and seems certain to stick much better at this level with the switch to conventional dirt. A recent sharp half mile drill over this track figures to have her right on edge.

We’ll go two-deep in the sixth race, a nine furlong first-level allowance affair on turf for 3-year-old fillies. #3 Cause Im a Bigshot crushed a maiden field by almost eight lengths when last seen in November; she returns for Mitchell with a series of solid drills that should have her fit and ready, and as a daughter of Giant’s Causeway she shouldn’t be inconvenienced by the switch to turf. #5 Practising was a race-shape aided maiden winner earlier this meeting in her U.S. over a mile and has trained nicely since for Gallagher; she’ll enjoy this stretch out to nine furlongs and Bejarano will have her rolling late.

Although she was beaten at even money last time out and is unproven on conventional dirt, #6 Indygo F M A deserves another chance in the seventh race, a starter’s allowance middle distance affair. She’s worked well on dirt, retains Stevens, and should settle into a nice mid-pack position. Her one prior effort on the Santa Anita main track was a throw-out. #8 In Dad’s Honor is lightly raced and improving and has winning connections; the Scat Daddy filly also was a beaten choice last time out but in her case she cost herself the win by ducking in late. Hopefully she’ll run straight and true today.

The finale is another downhill sprint, this one for $32,000 claiming fillies and mares. #2 Always a Chance comes off a state-bred first-level allowance win over the main track last month; she returns to her claim level today and is properly spotted according to her recent speed figures. She’s also a prior winner over this course and distance. #7 Julio’s Gold is a “must use” as well; the Cerin-trained filly could be the controlling speed and is reunited with Nakatani. These are the two we’ll prefer but it’s a typical grass grab bag and probably requires a bit of a spread.