Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Thu., May 8, 2014)

The Thursday eight-race program (first post 1 p.m.) begins with what appears to be a very strong maiden juvenile sprint for fillies. #8 Desert Steel and #6 Lookin for Money both were visually quite impressive in the Barretts March Sale Preview session and both seem fit and ready to fire right now. Toss in #2 Kyankes, a quick-looking daughter of Rockport Harbor and it’s very likely to take a very nice prospect to win four and one-half furlong dash. Desert Steel may be the quickest of the lot but we’ll use all three in our rolling exotics.

We’ll go two-deep in the second race, using #6 This Cat’s Awesome and #3 Juliet’s Tizzy in rolling exotic play. This Cat’s Awesome drops again in class and may have found his friends; he has solid speed figures for this level and a comfortable outside post to rate top billing. Juliet’s Tizzy returns from the Bay Area and shows up in a claimer for the first time; the O’Neill-trained gelding also is a route-to-sprint play, gets a break in the weights and should be a late threat in this league.

The Pick-6 begins with the third race, a Hillside turf sprint that probably requires a bit of a spread. #1 Luckarack does his best running from off the pace and the projected race-shape of this event should favor his style. Freshened since mid-March and switching to Nakatani, the veteran gelding loves to win races and with clear sailing should be heard from late. #3 Crica’sgoldengear has been chasing tougher and should fit much better with this group; the Heap-trained gelding retains Bejarano and figures to draft into a good second flight position. #4 Big Note seems like the most dangerous of the speed types but he could be pushed pretty hard early on in a race that has other front-running types.

#6 Cousin Ricky is listed as the even money choice in the fourth race, a six furlong sprint for $12,500 3-year-olds. The Mullins-trained gelding has won his last two but continues to drop in class. Though he did defeat $16,000 foes with a career-top speed figure in his most recent outing he wasn’t visually impressive and in fact was life-and-death to get there. Despite a pattern that appears less than healthy, ‘Ricky could win again, though there’s absolutely no value to be had. This is a race that probably is best left alone.

California-bred fillies and mares meet over a mile on turf in the fifth race and while it’s a fairly competitive affair #2 Princesskatiebella seems the most intriguing, especially at 6-1 on the morning line. The Bell-trained filly finished evenly in her debut after encountering a bit of traffic trouble on the turn and has come back to work well on two occasions, so we’re expecting a major forward move by the daughter of Birdonthewire. Blanc rides her back. #4 Jennyway U Want It stretches out for the first time and seems likely to try gate-to-wire tactics; she was disappointing down the hill in her last start as the favorite but could get very brave if she can establish the pace today. You also might consider #3 Unusual Style, a solid runner-up in the same race Princesskatiebella exits but perhaps with a bit less upside as she’s now had five starts without winning.

The sixth race is another tricky affair, a $16,000 claiming router for fillies and mares. #7 Born Lucky exits a pair of tough starter allowance events and returns to the claiming ranks; the Diodoro-trained mare finished first (though subsequently disqualified) in a main track event earlier this season so the switch in surface shouldn’t be an issue. Perez will have her rolling late. # 5 Grey Madam crushed $8,000 foes last month and is triple jumped in class by Miyadi; she’s a little shy in the speed figure department to win at this level but with further improvement she might be a threat. #9 Lily’s Perfect fits at this level off her best effort and the return to the main track could wake her up.

The featured seventh race is a one mile turf allowance race for fillies and mares and we’ve got it down to two main contenders. #5 Mangita and #2 Irenes Jackpot finished two-three in a common race March 21 and both should run equally as well if not better today. Mangita might prefer patient handling and if she can settle just off the speed she could make a run for it late. If not, Irenes Jackpot will be hard to contain under Talamo; she removes blinkers (love that angle) and sports a solid work tab up north since that mid-March affair. The veteran has the style to draft into an ideal second flight, stalking position.

We’ll go two-deep in the nightcap, an abbreviated sprint for bottom-rung maiden claimers. #6 Superboot continues to train like he has some ability for O’Neill and with this substantial class drop and the addition of blinkers the Irish-bred gelding should be difficult to contain. We’ll also use #11 Tasha’s Courage, beaten at even money in a similar event last month but with rising speed figures and retaining Talamo.