Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sat., May 31, 2014)

An excellent Saturday program begins with a $40,000 claiming miler that appears made to order for #2 Bench Light. The Benchmark gelding whipped a softer field with a strong number last month and looks capable of winning right back on the double jump for new trainer O’Neill. #5 Swift Eagle likes to run second and third a bit more than he likes to win, but with the switch to hot-riding Desormeaux the veteran Sadler-trained gelding has a strong look, especially if he can repeat his nice score over this course and distance two races back.

#4 Whine for Wine may be most comfortable as a late-running sprinter and should get the proper ride from Smith in the second race, a six furlong sprint for Cal-breds. We’ll put him on top but also use in our rolling exotics #6 Master Chef, second off the claim for Diodoro and capable of improving over a the Santa Anita main track that he’s always preferred.

The third race is a bottom-rung maiden claiming sprint for fillies and mares; we’ll double the race while preferring #3 Mayrie on top. The daughter of Swiss Yodeler, in the money in both of her starts, continues to train well for Jones and probably has plenty of improvement in her. She makes a major switch to Talamo and seems capable of producing the last run. #11 Think Again is an intriguing first-time starter with a useful work tab; the Aguirre-trained daughter of Indian Country won’t have to be a world beater to act in this league and is worth tossing in your rolling exotics.

A strong group for entry-level allowance turf runners meet over nine furlongs in the fourth race, the first leg of the Pick-6. #9 Monastic hasn’t won in ages but is a strong fit on speed figures and should draft into an ideal pace-prompting position. The Proctor-trained gelding exits a hot race, switches to bug boy Van Dyke and continues to look sharp in the morning. #2 Schoolofhardrocks puts blinkers on for the first time while stretching out again and facing older horses. He remains well-regarded and probably has further improvement in him. #3 Sizzlin’ Joe likes this turf course, earned a good figure when beating state-bred company at this trip over this course last month, and may be the most dangerous of the closing types.

The fifth race is a strong abbreviated sprint for maiden fillies and mares; we’ll use three in our rolling exotics but you may find the need to spread even deeper. #6 Alexis Tangier, a solid runner-up in her debut last month, has worked sharply since that race for Mandella, adds Lasix, and switches to Smith. The daughter of Tiznow seem ready for a major forward move. #8 Fashioned Lady is bred for speed, has shown some promise in the morning for Proctor (good stats with debut runners) and seems plenty fit for a good try first crack out of the box. #11 Brilliant Ashley also has done good work in the morning while training over at Los Alamitos for Conlon and this daughter of Tale of the Cat is a “must use” at 6-1 on the morning line.

Maiden claiming fillies and mares meet over a mile on grass in the sixth race, a treacherous affair that could be won by just about anybody. #5 Scene Queen, in the money in her last three, switches to Talamo and should be a late threat. She may be as good as any. #6 Woodys Wharf drops into a claimer for the first time and will appreciate the softer company; she’s been away since November and returns with Desormeaux and a fairly useful series of works at Pomona. #11 Lamazone is a bit too one-paced for our liking but she seems like a trier and could at least get a piece of it. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics but without any great conviction.

The Grade 2 Californian at nine furlongs on the main track is carded as the seventh race and will spotlight #2 Fury Kapcori as the 4/5 morning line favorite. A winner of four straight, all of which earned triple digit Beyer figures, the Hollendorfer-trained son of Tiznow will try to carry his speed nine furlongs and most likely will face fairly stiff pace competition, but in his present form he should be able to shrug off all challenges. Nakatani would like to make the running but if the lead is taken he has the horse to settle into a stalking position and then pounce when ready.

Eastern shipper #8 Room Service is strictly the one to beat in the eighth race, the American Oaks over 10 furlongs on turf. She’s already a Grade-1 winner, having just captured the Ashland Stakes on synthetic last month at Keeneland, but she’s just as effective on the lawn and at this distance should be along in time. The best of the locals is #2 Nashoba’s Gold, a winner of three of four lifetime and a two-time graded stakes winner already this season. She’ll thoroughly enjoy the trip; today we find out just how good she is.

The nightcap is a six furlong bottom-rung claimer; we’ll go three deep and hope that’s enough. #6 Newfound Gold has been quite popular at the claim box lately; he was re-haltered by Yakteen last month and drops from $12,500 to $8,000 while switching to Garcia. He’s looked good in the morning of late so we’re expecting a top effort. #10 Carbonite always is a threat from off the pace and retains Maldonado following a desperate win in a $10,000 seller two weeks ago. #7 My Jealous flopped at 3/5 vs. similar last time out but if he can run back to his dominate score two races back he’ll be major player at a decent price.