Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sunday, May 18, 2014)

The Sunday program offers a 10-race slate with a first post time of 1 p.m.

The opener is a four and one-half furlong sprint for juveniles and looks completely wide open; we don’t prefer to get too heavily involved. #7 Desert Thief is the morning line favorite at 2-1 but really hasn’t done anything out of the ordinary in the morning. In a below average field, though, he may be a contender. #6 Take Back Spring and #3 City Ride ran below expectations when they both debuted in the same race last month and both are eligible to benefit considerably from the experience. There just isn’t a whole lot to work with here.

The second race is a 10-furlong entry-level allowance affair for fillies and mares on turf. #4 Tiz the Key looked quite good breaking her maiden in fast time, but did so on the main track over a mile. This is a challenging assignment, but the Mandella-trained daughter of Tiznow acts like a quality sort and could be up to the task. Stevens rides her back. #7 Remarkable Moon, a strong second in a similar event in her comeback last month, will appreciate the extra furlong today and should be heard from late.

The third race is an abbreviated maiden special weight sprint. #2 Kings Adventure is bred for speed (Grand Slam) and has done plenty of good work in the morning for Mullins. He should come out firing. #6 Rough Passage is the best of the known element and has better than par speed figures. He won’t have to improve much to win. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics.

The fourth race is a stronger-than-par entry-level allowance router miler for fillies and mares that has two main contenders. #2 My Monet is unbeaten in two starts, most recently earning a huge speed figure in winning a starter’s allowance sprint in gate-to-wire fashion. She stretches out to a mile today and there’s no reason she won’t handle the trip. #6 Sweetrayofsunshine was very well-meant in her comeback but missed by less than a length in a strong seven furlong affair, earning a career top speed figure in the process. She’s always loved the Santa Anita main track and might be most effective two-turning, so we’re expecting a strong performance today from the Spawr-trained mare.

#8 Advisory seems the solid choice in the fifth race, a one mile starter’s allowance turf event. The City Zip gelding is improving with each outing and appears ready to win again following a solid runner-up try in a similar affair last month. Delgadillo should have him within striking range throughout. #1 Street Maven improved dramatically when switched to turf and beat a moderate maiden field; he’ll need to improve a bit to win again but could have it in him.

The sixth race is a modest maiden claiming sprint for fillies and mares; a little will go a long way in this weak event. #4 Ippolita was a reasonable second two runs back and if she can duplicate that effort today she’ll be right there. Talamo stays aboard for Ellis. Debuting #6 Patriotic Brother has shown good speed in the morning for Biancone and certainly won’t have to be a world beater to act with these. We’ll try to get by using just these two.

A fair band of $25,000 claimers meet over nine furlongs on turf in the seventh race. #8 Husband’s Folly, it can safely be said, doesn’t care too much about winning but he just earned a career top number when missing by a neck in a similar event last month. He’s a first-off-the-claim for Carava (who had him before) and retains Nakatani, so maybe today will be his day. #4 Mr. Candy Bar was a decent starter’s allowance winner two runs back and may have found 10 furlongs a bit out of his range in his most recent start. Baze knows him well and should have this Sherlock-trained gelding settled in mid pack and ready to pounce when it counts. These are the two we’ll prefer but if you find the need to toss in a few more by all means do so.

The featured Adoration Stakes for older fillies and mares is carded as the eighth race. #1 Let Faith Arise was a slightly disappointing fourth when shipped to Arkansas for the Apple Blossom ‘Cap last month but returns home and faces a much easier task. She won the Gr. 1 Santa Margarita over this track two runs back and repeat of that today should be more than good enough. In a race without much early speed, the Kafwain filly should enjoy a perfect ground-saving, pace-prompting journey.

The ninth race is a one mile turf allowance event restricted to 3-year-olds; two stand out and we’ll use both in our rolling exotics. #11 Home Run Kitten missed in a photo in the La Puente Stakes last month and before that was a close third in the Pasadena Stakes; he’s meeting a considerably easier group today and retains Talamo. The Hofmans-trained colt will be tough to beat but we’re especially intrigued by #6 Kristo, overmatched in both the Wood Memorial and the San Felipe in his last pair but realistically spotted today while trying turf for the first time. This is a surface he should thoroughly enjoy, as indicated by a couple of sharp recent drills around the dogs.

The nightcap is a middle distance bottom-rung maiden claimer for fillies and mares, so anything can happen. #1 Wine Country Wanda stretches out for the first time and has competitive numbers, though her pedigree is mostly sprint on both sides. In a weak affair we’ll use her. #2 Royal Shaft takes a drop in class to the bottom and adds blinkers; she has a chance to improve enough to be something of a threat. Though she’s poorly drawn outside, #12 Up the Alley is a strong fit on numbers and this Oaklawn Park shipper looks very much like the one to beat for Autrey and Talamo.