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Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Thu., May 22, 2014)
The eight-race Thursday program begins at 1 p.m. with a hot maiden juvenile dash for fillies. The Baffert-trained #7 Enchanting Lady, a $650,000 Ocala March Sale purchase, looks like the Real McCoy in the morning and has been established as the even money morning line favorite. Also impressing with a series of sharp drills is #3 Seduire, a daughter of Elusive Quality from the Hollendorfer stable. These two should leave the others behind.
We’ll go two-deep in the second race, a starter’s allowance Hillside turf dash for distaffers. #2 Quay Factor won at first asking in clever fashion and earned a nice speed figure in doing so; the Miller-trained filly switches to the turf today but has the right style for the course and should be the one to beat from slightly off the pace. #5 Euroclydon, a distant second behind Quay Factor last time out and a maiden tackling winners today, is a first-off-the-claim for Mulhall and adds blinkers. She has some prior turf form that charts nicely in this affair.
The Pick-6 begins with the third race, a seven furlong affair for older $40,000 claimers. #6 Kate’s Event is most effective as a late-running sprinter and gets his favorite trip today; that combined with the drop in class should make this veteran Hollendorfer-trained horse tough to beat. The concern is an apparent lack of early pace in the race. #1 Giant Ego could be the controlling speed; he’s a first-off-the-claim for Lewis, continues to look sharp in the morning, and knows how to win races (five-for-12 lifetime).
Maiden claimers sprint six furlongs in the fourth race, a weak affair that on paper should be won by either #5 This Cat’s Awesome or #4 Stadtpark, though neither is what you would consider trustworthy. This Cat’s Awesome has been a beaten favorite in four of seven career starts but his speed figures continue to rise so maybe he’s finally found a field he can beat. Stadtpark finished an okay second in his debut in a slowly-run race; the Aguirre-trained gelding has every right to improve and might be the quickest of the speed types in a race with no apparent effective closers.
The fifth race is another maiden claimer, this one a bottom-rung five furlong dash for older fillies and mares. #3 Tough Business was virtually distanced after a slow start in her debut on turf against tougher; she’s worked decently since that race at San Luis Rey Downs and no doubt is much better than the line will show. She rates top billing by default, but we’ll also toss in #5 Chain Lightning, in with a feather with a 10-lb. bug rider who has yet to win a race and adding blinkers while dropping considerably in class. Maybe she can shake loose and get brave at this shortened trip.
We’ll use three in the sixth race, a five and one-half furlong sprint for $12,500 claiming fillies and mares. #7 Julio’s Gold plummets in class; the Cerin-trained filly beat a stronger field two races back but then was disappointing last time out. She should be capable of dominating at this level but there’s always the question of condition with this kind of class drop so we’ll use her but won’t single her. #5 Mahalo Princess looked decent beating $8,000 company earlier this month and could be dangerous on the two-level class hike for Litt. She’s a genuine and consistent sort and retains Baze. #2 Metaxa, claimed in her last three and now back in the Truman barn, returns after a two month vacation and could be a late threat off her best effort.
The featured seventh race, an entry-level allowance sprint for state-bred fillies and mares, finds #2 Queen of the Hill being wheeled back in 12 days following a disastrous run in a turf sprint in which she lost all chance with a poor start. Her highly-rated win over this main track two races back makes her the one to beat today, assuming she doesn’t botch the break again. #5 Sea John’s Spirit has no visible excuse when soundly beaten as the even money favorite in a similar affair in early April; she continues to look sharp in the morning for Ellis and could bounce back following her six week breather. Talamo knows her well and stays aboard.
The finale is stronger-than-par maiden turf miler for fillies and mares. #3 Burning Arch was gobbling up the ground before running out of room when second in her debut down the hill last month; the Hollendorfer-trained filly figures to benefit greatly from that outing and stretches out today to a distance that should be more suitable. Smith rides her back and should have this very nice prospect along in time. #1 Serene Melody, beaten as the favorite in her last pair, may not be one to trust but she should enjoy an ideal pace-prompting, ground-saving trip and figures in the fray to the end. #2 Star Act, another recent money-burner, has run well for Stevens in the past and figures to be doing some good work in the final furlong.