Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sat., June 7, 2014)

First post for the Saturday 11-race program is 12 Noon. A reminder that post time for the Belmont Stakes is scheduled for 3:52 California Chrome time (between the seventh and eighth Santa Anita races).

The opener is a six-runner maiden claiming router for fillies and mares. #4 I’msoulflattering plummets from straight maiden to the bottom and looks to have found her friends; the D’Amato-trained daughter of Flatter has competitive speed figures and should be doing her best work late. #6 Itsabeautifulday is an eight-race maiden has already has failed four times in this league, but she’s at least hit the board in three of those occasions and should be prominent throughout, perhaps even on the lead. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics.

A strong group of straight maiden juveniles sprint five furlongs in the second race and two especially catch our eye. #8 Holiday Camp brought an astounding $700,000 at the Ocala March Sale after breezing a quarter mile in 21 seconds flat, the fastest at the distance in the sale. He’s an exceptional mover by Street Boss and is more than fit to win at first asking. #2 Diamond Majesty is a quick and ultra-athletic son of the promising young stallion Lookin At Lucky and was very impressive breezing a furlong in 10 1/5 second at the Barretts March sale. These are two exceptional prospects and it will be fun to watch them in their racing debuts.

The third race is a difficult entry-level main track allowance event. #4 Kochees and #6 Seeking the West finished two-three, respectively, in a mile and one-sixteenth event May 17 and meet again at a flat mile today. Neither one has been known to punch it in late and while both should run well again we’re finding hard to trust either one. #3 Chicsdigtheshark is a real racehorse, having won five of nine outings over the Santa Anita main track, and while he did win a two-turner earlier in his career (when he was handed an easy early lead) he may have to work a little harder to establish the running in this spot. Though the winner likely will be one of the three listed above, this race has too many question marks for us, so we’re not planning to get heavily involved.

Maiden claimers meet over a mile in the fourth race; we’ll double the affair in rolling exotic play and hope that’s sufficient. #1 Misdeed is a 10-race maiden and probably not one to trust, but the Rock Hard Ten gelding is coming off a pair of third place efforts vs. similar and should enjoy a perfect, ground-saving trip from the rail under Talamo, so not a whole lot of improvement will be required. #3 Star Property may have a bit more upside; the Blacker-trained gelding finished a respectable fourth with a decent speed figure in a nine furlong affair last month and may appreciate this shorter trip in what will be just his third career start. With the switch to Baze, the son of Cowboy Cal will get a very slight nod on top.

Eight familiar faces sprint seven furlongs in the fifth race, a $10,000 claiming affair that will feature #6 Half Dome Dude and #7 Newfound Gold as the logical contenders. Half Dome Dude, first off the claim for Bonde, is genuine and consistent but is overdue for his first win since October of last year. He dropped a nose decision vs. similar in mid-May and a repeat of that effort will make him hard to beat once again. Newfound Gold, claimed in his last three starts (and five out of his last six) debuts for Diodoro (29% first off the claim) and is reunited with Baze, who has in the past gotten the most run out of this veteran gelding. First or second in each of his last four starts, the son of Newfoundland should fire another big shot today. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics.

The Pick-6 begins with the sixth race, a state-bred maiden sprint down the hill. #7 Smart Journey finished a distant second in the course-record setting runaway win by Eddie’s First; with that one entered up north on Sunday (and, obviously, no longer eligible for a maiden race) this five-year-old son of Good Journey looked primed to graduate. Desormeaux should have him on or near the lead throughout. #11 Lindante has worked like he has plenty of ability for Fanning and the first-timer must be considered strongly as well.

A competitive starter’s allowance middle distance event in the seventh race probably requires a bit of a spread if you’re playing rolling exotics; we’ll use three and hope that’s enough. #6 Exclude earned a career top speed figure when second in a fast, highly-rated mile event in early May; if he can run back to that performance today the Chew-trained gelding will be tough to deny. Iggy stays aboard. #1 Wonderful Union exits the same race as Exclude and represents inside speed under Maldonado; if he can shake loose early without pressure he’ll take this field a long way. #5 Rocked Twice stretches out for the first time; his sprint speed figures showed improvement and he gets a break in the weights, so we’ll consider the Sadler-trained colt somewhere in the mix, though his sprint-on-sprint pedigree makes him questionable round two turns.

The eighth race is another starter’s allowance event, this one down the Hillside course. #3 Redistribute is a progressive gelding in the Kruljac barn; the son of Muktakddim followed a sharp Bay Area maiden score with an excellent runner-up effort over this course and distance vs. similar last month. He switches to Talamo and with another forward move looks like the logical choice. #4 Alpha Bullet is a route-to-sprint play, having been nosed out in a similar starter’s affair over a mile on grass in early March that earned a strong figure. Freshened and working steadily of late at Pomona, the Grayson-trained colt can sprint or route on any surface. #2 Will True Up may be worth tossing in as well; the son of Lawyer Ron is a first-off-the-claim for Yakteen and was stakes placed over this course last year as a 3-year-old.

The Affirmed Stakes, fittingly named after the last Triple Crown winner 36 years ago, goes as the ninth race and we’re intrigued by the rapidly improving #7 Forever Juanito is his first try over conventional dirt. The Victor Garcia-trained gelding also is trying two-turns for the first time and has worked like the added distance will be within his range. His speed figures continue to rise with each outing and Delgadillo should have the son of Badge of Courage in a good stalking position throughout. #4 Can the Man is the likely pace-setter and the one to beat; the Baffert-trained colt won the Speakeasy Stakes sprinting last October and then disappeared but returns with a series of powerful drills at Los Alamitos and should be fit and ready. He can fire fresh (he won his debut) and has plenty of back class (third, beaten one length, in the Gr. 1 Del Mar Futurity last year). #6 Friendswith K Mill comes off a clever overnight score with a solid figure and may be the most dangerous of the closing types. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics.

The tenth race is a mid-level claiming turf miler that seems tougher than par. #3 Trelawny is good enough to win on his best day; however, the veteran gelding was claimed by Mike McCarthy for $40,000 off a strong effort (beaten a nose) about a month ago and today surfaces for $25,000. Is he dropping to steal or purse or are there problems? We’re guessing the former. #6 Dysprosium, freshened since February, is an interesting Florida shipper joining the dangerous Miller barn and could be tough to catch if he can establish his own pace.

The nightcap is a restricted (nw-2) claiming sprint and is yet another that have several contenders (yeah, this Pick-6 scheme is tough). #7 Southern Sunrise has fast on numbers but not what you’d call depending; if he comes with his best effort today the Puype-trained gelding looks more than capable of outrunning this group. #12 Old Pueblo is a first-off-the-claim for Miller (20%) and is dropping off a maiden claiming win from $20,000 to $12,500, not the healthiest of patterns. However, Talamo stays aboard and blinkers are added for the first time, so we’ll toss him in. #10 Compulsive has an improving pattern for Heap, having just broken his maiden for $20,000, and is realistic spotted at this level in his first try vs. winners.