Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Thu., March 20, 2014)

A $125,160 carryover awaits Pick-6 players on a challenging Thursday program.

The opener, a bottom-rung maiden claiming miler for older fillies and mares, offers little in the way of opportunity. #2 Silk in Silver may finally win one though she’s burned a considerable amount of money in her last pair and her numbers continue to descend. But where else to turn? #1 Kid Rollins has good connections and is stretching out again so she looks like the one to fear most. The winner probably will be one of these two.

#7 Itsabeautifulday gets ideal conditions in the second race, an extended sprint for older maiden claiming distaffers. The daughter of Bertrando returned off a layoff and showed improvement when second vs. similar last month and any kind of forward move should be good enough to earn her a diploma. #4 Cleverly Beverly has consistently hit the board when entered at this level and may be a logical exacta partner with our top pick.

The Pick-6 begins with the third race. Small ticket players may consider singling #1 Harlington Night, a value play at 4-1 on the morning line. The Cerin-trained gelding was rusty in his comeback but shouldn’t be today and his form over this track last year would be good enough to win. He’s shown considerable spark in the morning recently, makes a major switch to Nakatani (this barn’s go-to rider) and figures to draft into a nice second flight, ground-saving position. If you would prefer some protection, also consider Sadler’s class dropping #4 Pulpit’s Express, though it’s been awhile since he’s tried conventional dirt.

We’re very much intrigued by #1 Jaycee’s Faith in the fourth race, another maiden claimer, this one for state-bred $40,000 fillies and mares. The daughter of Sky Mesa was no factor in her only prior outing, a straight maiden sprint at Del Mar last summer, but she’s trained like a much better type this time around for Mullins and gets Baze. In a sprint without a whole lot of speed, she could be a strong pace factor if she can leave cleanly from the rail. We’ll take her morning line odds of 4-1 if we can get it. #2 Swiss Heart and #6 Ryderroo exit the same race (Ryderroo won but was disqualified) and both have a right to run well again in a rather shallow affair.

We have yet another maiden claimer in the fifth, a downhill turf sprint for 3-year-old fillies that has three maiden contenders. #9 Lamazone lost her punch late after making a menacing move wide on the turn and wound up fifth against a similar crew over a mile last month; today she’s back sprinting where she figures to be more effective. Maldonado stays aboard for Sadler. #5 Gisele At Fonz’s, beaten a neck vs. maiden $50,000 company on the main track in her comeback last month, tackles tougher today and tries her luck on turf; with a forward move she should be a fit in this league. #6 Secret Appeal is a sneaky first timer with good works for Glatt and Talamo and represents strong stranger danger at 6-1 on the morning line.

The comebacking #4 War Academy has been burning up the track in the morning for Baffert and in fact is training better now than he was last year. He won his debut sprinting so you know he can fire fresh, and the son of Giant’s Causeway gets a very favorable pace scenario in the sixth race, a second level allowance sprint. He could be a single on smaller tickets, but we’ll find room to include #2 Kate’s Event, a deep closing sprinter with strong speed figures but without a whole lot of early speed in here to aid his cause. Still, he’s a factor with the switch to Bejarano, who has won twice with the Hollendorfer-trained horse in the past.

The featured seventh race is an excellent entry-level allowance affair over a mile on grass. #2 Thunder Rode showed promise and earned powerful speed figures in two races up north over the all-weather Golden Gate main track, and today tries grass for the first time. Bred to improve a ton on the lawn (Lemon Drop Kid from a Dynaformer mare), the Hollendorfer-trained colt has the perfect stalking style for this Hillside course and gets Bejarano. We’d sure like to get the 4-1 that he’s listed on the morning line. #3 Incline Village crushed maidens over this course and distance last month and seems most comfortable as a turf sprinter. He’ll be a factor right back. #7 Don Marco is an intriguing European import making his U.S. debut for Blacker. His form in England was decent enough so you may want to consider using him on a backup ticket, at least.

The nightcap is an extended maiden claiming sprint for $30,000 sophomore fillies and looks treacherous. Best advice is to use as many as you can afford to. #12 Royal Shaft has trained well enough for Hofmans to deserve considerable attention at 15-1 on the morning line; she’s nicely bred and hails from a stable whose maidens usually run better than they work. #8 Alice Roadtrain closed a gap in her debut and gets an extra furlong and a half to work with today; the Miller maidens often improve in their second outing and this daughter of Tribal Rule likely will as well.