Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sunday, May 25, 2014)

An intriguing Sunday program offers a nine race slate that begins at 1 p.m.

The opener attracted just five runners, two of which we’ll include in rolling exotic play. #1 Cuneo crushed a softer field by more than 10 lengths last month and was promptly claimed; now in the Diodoro barn, the gelding looks capable of repeating on the raise in this modest restricted affair. #5 Topper’s Ghost, a $16,000 Kitchingman claim in late March, returns at his purchase level and based on recent drills should be primed for a huge run from his cozy outside post.

The second race has six entrants in a $75,000 claiming turf miler. #3 Tigah, away since August, returns in a realistic spot and has trained like he’s fit and ready for Sadler. He’s won on this course in the past and will be rolling late under Espinoza. #2 Dry Summer returns from New Mexico in decent form and has run well on turf in the past, so we’re expecting a major effort from this Mullins-trained gelding. Tigah gets a slight nod but both should be used in rolling exotic play.

The third race presents another small field with six maiden claimers meeting over a mile. #5 Gospel Music stretches out for the first time and has the pedigree and style to enjoy two turns. We’ll use the Dollase-trained gelding in our rolling exotics along with #4 Como Mi Padre, a Heap-trained colt stretching out with rising speed figures and switching to Baze.

We’ll double the fourth race, a main track mile affair for maiden fillies and mares. #2 Shapely is improving with racing and with another forward move today should be tough to deny. The daughter of Empire Maker retains Talamo and likely will settle into an ideal pace-prompting position. #5 Grazenette, in the money in all three starts and with numbers going in the right direction, looks like the most dangerous of the closing types.

Debuting #8 Clickjab has done everything right in the morning for G. Mandella and seems ready to win right now in the fifth race, a Hillside turf sprint for maidens. The son of Rock Hard Ten lands Smith and a good outside post and really doesn’t have all that much to beat. He’s listed at 6-1 on the morning line but we’re not expecting to get it. #3 Taelyns Prince and #5 Robert E. Lee both have some ability but we doubt either one can beat a truly good colt. Clickjab might be just that, so small ticket rolling exotic players might consider singling Clickjab while including the other contenders on a backup ticket.

Maiden claimers sprint six furlongs in the sixth race, a woeful affair that probably demands a spread. We’ll prefer #3 Betty Bing Bing and #7 Swiss Heart and small ticket players might be able to survive using just those two. Both are dropping to the bottom maiden claiming level and both have back numbers good enough to win.

The Mizdirection Stakes is carded as the seventh race; it’s a downhill turf sprint for fillies and mares. #2 Biorhythm missed as the favorite in a similar event last month but has trained well since and seems capable of making amends. #6 Sky High Gal also exits the Las Cienegas Stakes and was beaten by less than a length after cutting out the quick fractions. We’ll give slight preference to these two but feel free to go deeper if any of the others catch your fancy.

Restricted $12,500 claimers meet over a mile in the eighth race, a difficult affair that might wind up having a quick early pace. #3 Johnny Reb is stretching out for the first time and if he’s sent from the gate he’ll likely cut out rapid fractions. Can he run this far? Maybe. #5 Meringue Pie has plenty of speed as well but is removing blinkers so rating tactics might be employed. He has back numbers that can win but he’s 1-for-18 for a reason. Use as many in here as you can afford to.

The finale is a strong second-level allowance affair for fillies and mares at nine furlongs on turf and marks the U.S. debut of French stakes winner #8 Aguafria from the Drysdale barn. She’s been impressive in the morning and looks fit and ready. At 8-1 on the morning line the daughter of More Than Ready offers considerable wagering value, however, we’re expecting her to attract plenty of action. She’s a straight play and rolling exotic single in our book.