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Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sunday, May 4, 2014)
The Sunday program offers eight races with the featured Honeymoon Stakes carded as the fourth. First post reverts to the usual 1 p.m.
Older maidens compete at nine furlongs in the opener with two main contenders. #3 Big Cazanova makes his second start since being imported from Peru and if moves forward for Miller he’ll be hard to deny. A respectable third in a strong race last month, he’s trained well at San Luis Rey Downs in the interim and retains Nakatani. #4 Sammy Mandeville closed a gap in his debut down the hill and should be much more comfortable over a route of ground. Bejarano takes over and will have this O’Neill-trained colt doing his best work from off the pace.
Straight maidens sprint six furlongs in the second race; we’ve got it down to #7 Crux and #5 Candir and both should be included in rolling exotic play. Crux flashed excellent speed in his debut before weakening; most of the Ellis maidens improve a bunch with a race under their belts and this gelding should prove no exception. He could be the controlling speed outside under Talamo. Debuting Candir has looked quite good in the morning for Shirreffs and though not necessary a speed type could be dangerous from off the pace at this extended sprint trip.
The Pick-6 begins with the third race, a bottom-rung sprint with nothing to trust. #1 My Jealous earned a strong figure beating restricted (nw-3) $16,000 foes last month but today shows up for $8,000, not really the healthiest of signs. If he has one good one left he’ll be tough to beat. #3 Xuang Feng ran well when second in this league two races back and a repeat of that effort should at least land him in the frame. These are the two we’ll prefer but not with a high degree of confidence.
The Honeymoon Stakes showcases #1 Nashoba’s Gold and #5 Diversy Harbor as these two outstanding 3-year-old turf fillies renew their rivalry. They’re even at one win a piece, though it could be argued that Diversy Harbour would have won the recent Providencia Stakes had she not been buried in traffic at a critical stage turning into the stretch. She had a bit better turn of foot than ‘Gold does, but ‘Gold has a bit more tactical speed. We’re not going to try to separate them.
Maiden claimers meet over a mile in the fifth race; we’ll double the race for rolling exotic purposes. #3 Tiz But a Dream has the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern for Baltas and the pedigree to improve over a distance of ground. Her numbers are moving in the right direction and with further improvement the daughter of Tiz Wonderful should be able to handle this assignment. We’ll also include #7 Madame Forbes, a solid third in her only prior outing last summer and training well for her comeback for Eurton. With Bejarano taking the call, the daughter of Tiznow looks like a live item.
# 9 Fly Boy Roy makes his local debut in the sixth race for new trainer Hollendofer, and if he duplicates his Oaklawn Park form the son of Officer can win this starter allowance Hillside turf sprint. He looks most comfortable as a late-running sprinter and Bejarano should have him rolling late. #5 Grand Humor has plenty of speed and if he improves just a bit in his first try on grass the Palma-trained gelding might take this field a long way.
We were impressed with the way #2 Reno Rebel broke his maiden recently with a big figure and the son of Big Brown looks capable of scoring right back in the seventh race, a contentious entry-level allowance sprint at seven furlongs. He should be part of the pace throughout. #6 Giant Ego, a Bay Area shipper making his first start off the claim for Miyadi, is a tad shy in the speed figure department but has won five of 11 career starts and probably has further improvement in him. #10 Airfoil is the most dangerous of the deep closers and will appreciate a decent pace up front. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics.
The nightcap is a $32,000 claimer over a mile on turf and probably requires a considerable spread. We’ll go three deep and hope that’s enough. #1 Causeithertz figures to enjoy an ideal ground-saving, second-flight trip and is capable of returning to good form with this class drop to his lowest level ever. He’s back with Bejarano, who has won on this Baffert-trained gelding in the past. #3 Swift Eagle comes off a game score vs. a slightly tougher group in late March and has trained solidly since. He does, however, have to pick up seven pounds off that win. #8 Polytechnicien might be dangerous on the front end if he can just slow down a little bit in the opening stages.