Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Fri., May 9, 2014)

Friday’s eight-race program begins with a late 3:00 p.m. first post time.

In the opener, the debuting #3 Sky Preacher has been very impressive in the morning for O’Neill and this juvenile son of Sky Mesa looks cranked up to win at first asking. There are a few others in the field that have promising work tabs but ‘Preacher looks like the goods so we’ll make him a straight play and rolling exotic single.

The second race is a fairly competitive maiden special weight route affair and any one of three could win without surprising. #6 Frensham exits a pair of state-bred stakes and today returns to the maiden ranks; the O’Neill-trained colt sports a bullet five furlong workout since raced and is a strong fit on speed figures. #1 Golden Chalice was bet down to favoritism in his debut – a downhill turf sprint – but never got untracked and finished well back. He continues to shine in the morning for Gaines, so we’ll give him another chance with the switch to the main track and the stretch-out in trip. #2 Grazenette, away since last October, returns with a steady series of drills and could easily be a better type this time around.

The third race begins the Pick-6; we’ll go two-deep using #5 Dr. Spin and #4 Dancer Humor. Dr. Spin drops into a claimer and seems sure to improve a bunch for Drysdale; a repeat of his race before last up north would be good enough to beat this field. Dancer Humor is re-equipped with blinkers and returns to the mid-level claiming ranks; the Puype-trained gelding retains Baze and should draft into a nice second-flight, pace-stalking position. We’ll give a slight edge on top to Dr. Spin but include both in rolling exotic play.

Maiden claimers sprint six furlongs in the fourth race and we’ll double the race using #3 Surfer Moon and #5 Chapo. The former is raised to the $50,000 level by Ellis in a sign of confidence and has improving speed figures, while the latter has been training like he has some run for Belvoir and should be a live item under Bejarano.

The fifth race is a bottom-rung miler for fillies and mares; we’ll prefer #2 Eltoninadress on top but also use #8 Mary Contrary in rolling exotic play. Eltoninadress has a series of good, consistent recent sprint efforts and should be able to stay a mile; the Mullins-trained mare is drawn comfortably inside and retains Baze. Mary Contrary is stretching out for low profile connections and might find this trip a bit too far, but she looks like the controlling speed and will take them as far as she can.

We’ll double the sixth race, a middle distance $12,500 claimer. #8 Cook Inlet exits a series of tougher races and regains the blinkers that he appears to need; the Hollendorfer-trained gelding is reunited with Bejarano and looks capable of producing the last run. #2 Fit to Rule seeks his third straight win for new trainer Owens and is double jumped in class following a pair of fast, highly-rated scores. He’s also getting a break in the weights with the switch to bug boy Van Dyke.

The seventh race, a one mile starter’s allowance for fillies on turf, looks like the proper spot for #3 Blake’s Magic to stretch out and win. She sprints like she wants to the go long and the Glatt-trained filly should stay the trip based on running style and pedigree. Her numbers are solid and Gryder should have her within striking range throughout. #7 Lakota Road is a maiden tackling winners but she’s a fit on figures and retains Bejarano after missing as the favorite in a similar event last month. That was her first outing in two months so we’re expecting a forward move today.

The nightcap is an inscrutable bottom-rung maiden claiming sprint for older fillies and mares. There is nothing to trust, though #2 Nonna Reese; #8 She’s Flush and #9 Hot Outta the Oven should run well by default. If you’re playing the race in rolling exotics use as many as you can afford to; otherwise head home early.