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Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sunday, June 22, 2014)
A huge $103,974 Pick-6 carryover awaits Sunday players, with the first of nine races at the usual 1 o’clock post time.
The opener, a $12,500 claiming sprint restricted to 3-year-olds, has two main contenders attempting to bounce back from poor races. #3 Cousin Ricky, beaten 24 lengths vs. tougher foes, tries to get back on track with a drop in class and a switch to Baze. A repeat of his race before last – a sharp runner-up try at this level – puts him right there. #2 Compulsive, ninth of 10 beaten 17 lengths when claimed for $12,500 earlier this month, has worked well since and we’re expecting the Glatt-trained gelding to go much better today. He switches to Talamo and off his best race will offer dangerous inside speed.
The second race, $10,000 claimer, seems to have two major players in #4 My Jealous and #1 Xuang Feng. The former won a bottom-rung affair recently with a solid speed figure and looks tough right back on the one-level raise. The latter seeks his third straight in his first-off-the-claim for Hess and is especially tough at this abbreviated sprint trip. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics.
#5 Sunset Skies ran better than the line will show in her recent comeback and is the one to beat in the third race, a downhill starter’s allowance dash. The Blacker-trained filly didn’t break well and then had to alter course when lacking room at a critical stage in the upper stretch. With clear sailing today she’ll be hard to contain. Stranger danger comes from Chicago shipper #4 Underhill Drive, a smart winner of her debut against modest competition last month and privately purchased after the race by clients of Peter Miller. She’s a very quick sort, is a fit on speed figures, and will take them as far as she can. We’ll use both in rolling exotic play.
The Pick-6 begins in the fourth race, a maiden claiming five furlong sprint for bottom-rung fillies and mares. #5 Nikki Allyn drops sharply in class and her kind of early speed should be very dangerous against this group. She’ll appreciate the switch to the main track and the shortened trip. #3 Spirit of Ten, away since November, has trained reasonably well for her return and could be a better type this time around. If there’s going to be a late threat in this field it probably will be her.
Entry-level allowance fillies and mares meet over a mile on turf in the fifth race; we’ll double the affair and hope to get by. #7 Queen of the Sand had a rough trip in her U.S. debut – she broke slowly and was in heavy traffic when trying to launch a bid in the stretch – so we’ll give her another chance, especially with the switch to Smith. Her form last year in Ireland was good enough to make her a solid fit with this group. #5 Heat Trap looked good winning her recent comeback down the hill and we suspect she can handle this longer trip. The lightly-raced mare continues to work well for Gaines and probably has room for further improvement.
The sixth race is a split of the fourth – $20,000 maiden claiming fillies and mares at five furlongs – and doesn’t have much depth. #4 Hollywood Producer seems the best of the known element; the Solis-trained filly has hit the board in both of her starts with improving speed figures and with another forward move might be able to outrun this band. A sharp recent half mile workout is a positive sign. Debuting #1 Senso is bred for speed, lands Baze, and has shown enough in the morning to warrant a serious look in a soft field. If she breaks running from the rail – not always the case with a first-timer – she should be in the thick of things throughout.
The first of two stakes races for 2-year olds – the Santa Anita Juvenile – brings together a strong group of precocious babies in the seventh race, including the Baffert-trained #4 Holiday Camp, a smart winner in fast time of his debut earlier this month. He’s been extra sharp in the morning since that win and will be tough right back. We liked the way #5 Wake Up Nick scored at first asking for O’Neill, and the Cindago colt should be especially dangerous with today’s extra furlong to work with. These are the two we’ll prefer but this is a loaded field so feel free to spread if you can afford to.
The juvenile fillies get their chance in the eighth race in the Landaluce Stakes. #9 Enchanting Lady was beaten on the square in her debut by Seduire in a fast heat but we’re expecting the Baffert-trained filly to turn the tables today. Drawn comfortably outside (whereas Seduire must leave from the rail), the daughter of Tale of the Cat was very sharp in a recent work and because most Baffert first-timers improve considerably between their first and second start, this $650,000 March purchase likely will do the same. We’ll make her a strong straight play and rolling exotic single and will settle right now for her morning line odds of 9/5.
The nightcap, a Hillside turf course sprint for maidens, seems like an ideal opportunity for the second time starter $12 Willy Be Wild. The Offlee Wild gelding was a tad green and didn’t get the best of trips when fifth in his debut, but he lands the good outside post, adds Lasix, and shows an impressive recent five furlong drill at Los Alamitos, all of which leads us to believe he’ll step forward big time today for a trainer whose second timers usually improve. Also worth considering in rolling exotic play are the debuting #3 Specimen (solid work tab for G. Mandella while landing Smith) and #5 Unusual Taste (improving with racing and a good runner-up over this course and distance earlier this month).