Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Fri., May 2, 2014)

First post on today’s nine-race Kentucky Oaks day program is 12:30 p.m.

The opener, a bottom-rung claiming sprint for fillies and mares, doesn’t have much depth and we’re thinking the winner will be either #2 Firendesire or #5 Mahalo Princess. The former likes this track and is a fit on figures, while the latter should be a strong pace factor on the class drop and will appreciate this abbreviated trip. ‘Princess gets the slight edge but both should be used in rolling exotic play.

The second race looks like an ideal spot for the sprint-to-route play #1 Hobbits Hero. The Mullins-trained gelding won a nice starter’s allowance affair down the hill recently and seems capable of projecting that form around two turns. He lands the good rail so we’re expecting gate-to-wire tactics for the lightly-raced and improving son of Aragorn. His morning line of 5/2 seems like a square price.

#3 Yard Line looks ready to graduate in the third race and we’ll make him a strong straight play and rolling exotic single at anywhere near his morning line of 2-1. The Harty-trained colt is extremely fast on pure numbers and has the pedigree to handle the added ground. Bejarano should have him on or near the lead throughout.

The Pick-6 begins with the fourth race, the Ultrafleet Stakes down the hill for 3-year-old fillies. #3 On the Backstreets is a two-time winner over this course and distance this meeting and after an unsuccessful try at Keeneland over a route of ground she returns to her ideal conditions and should regain her winning form. Bejarano knows her well and is back aboard. #5 Saintly Joan beat a first-level allowance field earlier this meeting over the Hillside course and has trained well since. With only slight improvement, she’ll be in the thick of things.

We’ll double the fifth race, a first-level allowance sprint for fillies and mares. #1 Lemon de Oro, away since November and making her first start for Spawr, has been burning up the track in the morning for her comeback and acts like a much better type this time around. She has plenty of zip and will be a strong pace factor if she leaves cleanly from the rail. Clearly Confused, claimed in her last three, moves up in class for new trainer Baltas but she’s a fit on numbers and she knows how to win races.

Maiden claiming fillies and mares meet at six and one-half furlongs in the sixth race; we’ll go three deep but you should use as many as you can afford to. #4 Roman Wild flashed speed before weakening in her debut vs. tougher and should stick much better with that race under her belt combined with the drop to the $30,000 level. Baze stays aboard for Mullins. #6 Hanna No Sir, a runner-up in her debut in January, returns with a decent series of drills and has every right to move forward. She gets a big break in the weights with the switch to bug boy Van Dyke. #7 Lady Regina, a distant second in her debut for Baffert, hails from a barn whose second-time starters usually improve and this daughter of Midnight Lute figures to do just that with the class drop.

The seventh race is a difficult non-winners of two $25,000 claiming sprint; we’ll try to survive using just two but without a great degree of confidence. #5 Maximinus has plenty of zip and continues to impress in the morning; the Bonde-trained gelding drops down to the $25,000 level and may have found his friends. The Canani-trained #1 Pass the Pico is a consistent sprinter and will be right there if he can avoid trouble from the rail. He does, however, prefer running second to winning.

We’ll spread the eighth race, an entry-level allowance affair on turf for fillies and mares. #6 Lilbourne Eliza is long overdue for a win and seems as good as any; she continues to impress in the morning for Cassidy and switches to Bejarano. #3 Mom Nana Petri is improving with each outing and should draft into an ideal second flight position under Baze. She’s shortening up to a mile, her preferred trip. #10 Somethingabouther is drawn poorly outside but she has the blinkers off angle working for her and likely will be taken back by Talamo and allowed to produce one run. Given that kind of strategy, she could be quite dangerous at a decent price.

The finale is a seven furlong bottom-rung maiden claimer and the Bay Area shipper #4 Coast Guard Patrol looks quite intriguing at 6-1 on the morning line. Off slowly from the rail vs. straight maidens in his only start up north, he ships down for Kruljac and couldn’t have gotten more ideal conditions. Based on numbers he’s a strong fit and we’ve got to believe he’ll improve with experience. Let’s make him a straight play and rolling exotic single.