Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Fri., June 20, 2014)

There’s a Pick-6 carryover of $54,775 for the Friday program that begins with a 3 P.M. first post time.

The opener is an entry-level allowance affair over a mile on turf that has two main contenders. #6 Poshky, much improved in the speed figure department since joining the Miller barn, should be ready to regain his winning form, though he’s had his chances in his last pair, winding up second in both. He’ll have to contend with #1 Benba, a nose behind Poshky when third in a similar affair last month. They’re hard to separate and neither one will offer a whole lot of value in a six-runner affair, so we’re not planning on getting too involved.

The second race is another six-runner affair, a $16,000 claiming sprint. We’ll prefer Close to the Edge on top; he’s a first-off-the-claim play for Miller (a solid 19% with this angle) while retaining Baze. The veteran gelding catches a field without a whole lot of early speed and in fact might find himself on the front end. #1 Courtside seems to have lost his gate zip but he still has his back class so we’ll toss him in despite low profile connections. #6 Muchos Besos, now in the Sierra stable via a recent claim, will be the most dangerous of the closers if he comes back to his best effort. We’ll tread lightly here.

The Pick-6 begins with the third race, a bottom-rung maiden claiming miler. #2 No Barneys stretches out for the first time and with Dynaformer on the bottom he might be able to stay the trip. The Miller-trained gelding should be capable of making the lead and may get very brave if he does. Maldonado stays aboard. #5 Yodeling Honey, third in a similar affair in his first two-turn attempt, adds blinkers for Puype and may have a bit of improvement in him. Small ticket players may try to survive using these two but feel free to spread the race if you can afford to.

#3 Glorious Luck, unbeaten in three starts last year, returns for Gaines in the fourth race, a second-level allowance sprint down the hill. We know she can run well fresh and because she was 15-1 when she captured her debut we know she can get fit without advertising herself in the morning. She’s actually trained quite well for her comeback so we’re assuming she’s fit and ready. In a race with just five starters, we’ll make her a straight play and rolling exotic single.

The fifth race is a strong maiden 2-year-old sprint at five furlongs and marks the debut of the well-regarded #5 Bold Bid. Purchased for $260,000 at the OBS March Sale, she breezed a furlong in 10 1/5 seconds at the Preview session and has been given a solid foundation since arriving at San Luis Rey Downs by Miller, who excels with first-timers (21% with a flat-bet profit). You can either spread this race or take a stand; we’ll do the latter and single the daughter of Pulpit in our rolling exotic play.

A competitive Hillside turf sprint for second-level allowance runners is carded as the sixth race; we’ll use two and hope to get by. #4 Guns Loaded missed by a head over this course and distance last month but has trained sharply since so we anticipate that he’ll run at least as well and perhaps better today. Talamo stays aboard for Autrey and should have this 3-year-colt without striking range throughout. #2 Den’s Legacy hasn’t won in almost two years but he’s fresh and working well and this turn back in trip might make a world of difference. We’re expecting the Baffert-trained colt to run one of his better races today under Smith.

The seventh race is a restricted (nw-2) $12,500 middle distance claimer and seems like the proper spot for #1 Indygo Andy. A decent main track maiden claiming winner earlier in the season, he was tried on turf in three subsequent outings without any success, so he’s back to dirt today and dropping to his lowest level. There’s some value here at 4-1 on the morning line. #3 Goyan is a need-the-lead type and if he can establish the pace without undue pressure – just as he was able to do when beating maiden claimers two races back – the Periban-trained gelding could prove tough to catch. #8 Tenkiller Kid is just one-for-17 lifetime and winless in eight starts over this main track but he should be a late threat and is worth including underneath in exotic play.

The finale is a maiden turf miler for state-bred runners and we’re projecting an improved performance by #2 Smart Journey in his first try around two turns. Certainly bred to run this far (Good Journey), the Glatt-trained horse switches to Baze and seems quite likely to be controlling speed. #6 Lindante, a closing third in his recent debut in the same race that ’Journey finished fourth, is another with the sprint-to-route angle working for him and there’s every reason to believe he’ll improve as the distances increase. #3 Chattering Gambler, narrowly defeated under these conditions last month, will be hard to handle if he steps forward again. Gryder will have him rolling in the final furlong.