Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sat., May 10, 2014)

A good nine race program begins at 1 p.m. with the featured Lazaro Barrera Stakes carded as the seventh event.

The opener, a $12,500 restricted claimer for fillies and mares, looks like an excellent opportunity for #3 Silk in Silver to regain her winning form. Impressive breaking her maiden at this one mile distance two races back, she was overmatched vs. starter’s allowance company last time out but is realistically spotted today. Bejarano stays aboard for Baltas. We’ll also toss in #4 Kid Rollins, a maiden claiming winner in modest time last month but a consistent sort with a bit of improvement still to come.

#4 Segway found 12 furlongs on the main track a bit too testing when weakening to finish third in the Tokyo City Stakes last month but in today’s second race shortens to a mile and one-eighth, switches to turf, and returns to the conditioned allowance ranks. We’re expecting the Mandella-trained gelding to regain his winning form, though at 9/5 on the morning line he doesn’t offer all that much in the way of value.

We’ll use two in the third race, a $50,000 claimer at a flat mile on the main track. #4 Valley Cat seems primed for a huge effort; he’s a first-off-the-claim for Hollendorfer (39% with a flat-bet profit) and is double jumped in class in a sign of confidence following a highly-rated win over this track last month. He sports a bullet half-mile drill since that race to indicate he retains all of his speed. #2 Big Kick crushed a softer field on the front-end two races back but was overmatched in his last outing; he should be more effective at this level and is a versatile sort that can win on the front end or from off the pace.

The Pick-6 begins in the fourth race, a high-priced maiden claimer down the Hillside course. #2 Gameboy Luke removes blinkers after adding them for one race and the Glatt-trained gelding tries his luck on turf while switching to Bejarano. After tackling straight maidens in his first four outings, the son of Zenzational should be tough to beat against this much softer group. #5 Green Tag is another with the straight maiden to maiden-claiming angle and figures to a strong late threat with Baze staying aboard. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics.

Maiden claimers sprint six furlongs in the fifth race; we’ll try to get by using just two. #5 Cut to Run and #7 Higher Mandate both come from the Grayson stable and both have credentials. Cut to Run tries dirt for the first time and switches to Maldonado while Higher Mandate has finished third at this level in his last two starts while earning representative speed figures. There’s just not a whole lot of viable alternatives in a weak race even for a bottom-rung maiden claimer.

The sixth race, a Hillside turf sprint for $25,000 claiming fillies and mares, has several possibilities but we’ll focus on three. #2 Kerrilyn looked good winning vs. similar in early April and makes her first start since for new trainer Cerin. Recent sharp workouts indicate she’s right on edge. #3 Heat Du Jour, a two-turn allowance winner up north last month, shortens up in trip today but can be a strong late threat under Baze. #4 Toppers Sunshine is moving up in class but has the right style for the course and figures for at least a piece of it.

The Laz Barrera Stakes over seven furlongs for 3-year-olds is made to order for #3 Kobe’s Back. Clearly most effective as a late-running sprinter, the Sadler-trained colt has been trouble-prone most of his career (much of it self-caused) but he continues to sizzle in the morning and should be primed for his very best. #1 Ferocious might be worth a look in the exotics; the Ellis-trained colt gets tested for class but should be prominent throughout and will be a strong factor if he can produce another forward move.

The eighth race is another contentious turf sprint and probably requires a bit of a spread. #7 Queen of the Hill earned a giant speed figure in blitzing moderate claiming completion on the main track last month; today she tackles considerably tougher but in her present form she must be given strong consideration. #8 Yes She’s Unusual has won over this course in the past and should draft into a nice pace prompting position form her outside draw. #4 Vegas Rules often gets a share and with patient handling could prove dangerous from off the pace.

The nightcap is a six furlong maiden special weight sprint for fillies and mares and there are three major players to consider. #5 Classy Ava ran well in her debut for Eurton and has a right to improve off that race; she retains Talamo and should have every chance from a stalking position. #7 See Through, away since October but training like a better type for Hofmans, should be plenty fit and lands Smith. #11 Enchanted Fortune, an okay third after a slow start in her debut, should move forward for Baffert and, assuming she leaves with her field, figures to flash much more early zip today.