Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Fri., April 25, 2014)

The first-ever spring season of racing at Santa Anita begins today with an eight race program and a late first post of 3 p.m.

Southern California-based two-year-olds get their first opportunity in the opener, a four and one-half furlong sprint for state-bred fillies. #2 City Ride and #5 Robo Girl reportedly have done some good work in the morning and look like the ones to beat. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics with slight preference going to Robo Girl.

Maiden claiming 3-year-olds sprint six furlongs in the second race that features two first-time starters with decent work tabs. #5 Cache Wanted finally debuts at age four and has worked like he has some ability, while #6 Stadtpark has impressed at Los Alamitos and should come out running. The best of the known element is #7 Take a Risk, who has numbers that are close to par for this level. At 10-1 on the morning line Cache Wanted offers the best value but all three should be included in rolling exotic play.

The Pick-6 begins with the third race. #6 Magic Number is most effective at this seven furlong trip and looks primed for a big effort in her first-off-the-claim for Belvoir and her first under Bejarano. There’s some value here at anywhere close her morning line odds of 7/2. Also worth tossing in is #4 Eltoninadress, a perfect one-for-one at this elongated sprint distance and being raised a notch by Mullins after just missing in a photo while earning a solid figure last month.

The featured Last Tycoon Stakes at nine furlongs on turf is carded as the fourth race. #4 Rookie Sensation, winner of the Twilight Derby over this course and distance last fall, is approaching that form again and should fire his best shot with the switch to Smith. The son of Unbridled’s Song earned a huge speed figure when narrowly missing in a powerful allowance race last month and has trained superbly since for Shirreffs. #2 Lakerville, best known as a late-running turf sprinter, is questionable at this distance but is worth using as a saver.

We’ll double the fifth race, an extended sprint for $12,500 claimers. #2 Dunmore East, claimed in his last pair and going for Belvoir today, gets ideal conditions for a huge effort and should draft into a good second-flight, stalking position. Freshened since early March and returning at his claim level, the veteran gelding knows how to win and is especially fond of the Santa Anita main track. Old pro #6 Carbonite also is worth a bit of consideration; the winner of 12 races from 34 starts makes his first start for Diodoro, whose record with first-off-claims is borderline astounding (31% with a flat-bet profit).

A strong entry-level allowance Hillside sprint for fillies and mares brings back #3 Starry Skies in the sixth race. A proven course specialist (two wins in three starts), she’s been away since September of 2012 but has worked like she’s fit and ready for Jones and has proven she can fire fresh, having won her debut. She’ll be a deep closer under these conditions and Smith will have her rolling late. Hollendorfer’s intriguing French import #1 Hijra is worth a close look; she gets Lasix and Bejarano and has impressed in the morning. Her form in the French provinces last year was actually quite good and makes her a solid fit on this circuit. #6 Velvet Mesquite is another with outstanding form over this course and distance and with clear sailing today she could make a strong run for it. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics.

The seventh race is a better-than-par first-level allowance miler with the unbeaten (in two starts) #5 Bettys Bambino looking like the one to beat again. Both of his victories have been visually impressive - his first over a wet fast track and his second on turf – and today we’ll find out how effective he can be over a fast main track. The Eurton-trained gelding continues to shine in the morning and should be on or near the lead throughout. #1 I Don’t Care Who was beaten as the choice under similar conditions last month but he’s drawn better today and should bounce back with his best effort. Baze stays aboard for Mullins.

The finale is a maiden claiming miler on turf and we’ll focus on two first-time-for-a-tag runners, #6 Misdeed and #10 Kozani. The former retains Talamo, is a solid fit on speed figures and continues to look good in the morning, while the latter is drawn poorly outside but gets blinkers and Bejarano and will appreciate this much softer competition.