Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Thu., June 26, 2014)

The Santa Anita winter/spring/summer season, which began exactly six months ago, heads into its final four days with an eight race program that begins at 1 p.m. Last Sunday the recommended $96 pick-6 ticket that appeared in this column cashed for a net payoff $2,529.20.

The first race is a six-runner $12,500 claimer with #3 Two Is to Many listed as the 6/5 morning line favorite. He’s a first-off-the-claim for Glatt (superior stats with this angle), earned a career top speed figure when winning his last race, and switches to Talamo. He’s also a need-the-lead type but appears clearly on paper to be the controlling speed. #5 Dr Williams has a good stalking style and just beat a slightly lesser field with as solid figure; he’s now in Kruljac’s barn while retaining Maldonado and should draft into an ideal stalking position. Given this scenario, this race could turn out to be a parade.

The second event also has six entrants; it’s a maiden special weight miler that features the noted money burner #1 Yard Line (today he’s 6/5 on the morning line). Beaten three straight times as the favorite, the last two at odds-on, the son of Discreet Cat draws a much better post today, switches to Nakatani, and removes blinkers, so maybe today will be his day. #3 Wrightwood has yet to master the art of breaking with his field but if he ever gets the message he might be okay. The Elusive Quality colt is fast on numbers and is stretching out for the first time to a distance he should like. The barn, however, is mired in a 45-race losing streak.

The Pick-6 begins with the third race, the Possibly Perfect Handicap over 12 furlongs on turf for fillies and mares. You might see this type of race carded twice a year at the most, so none of these don’t have established form over a marathon trip. #6 Customer Base exits a series of graded stakes races, and though her recent form is below her best, the daughter of Lemon Drop Kid should love this trip and the class drop, so we’re expecting her to regain her winning form. She’s 8/5 on the morning line but you can expect less.

A decent group of maiden California-bred or California-sired juvenile fillies sprint five furlongs in the fourth race. Bay area-based trainer Miyadi looks to have a live one in #5 Singing Kitty, a daughter of Minister’s Wildcat with a series of sneaky good workouts leading up to her racing debut. This barn rarely wins with first-timers but we’re hoping this one proves to be the exception to the rule. #9 Soul Flyer has done enough in the morning for Canani to warrant a big look; the daughter of Bertrando seems plenty fit and is a “must use” in exotic play. #6 Dixie Tweet broke slowly and was no factor in a fast, highly-rated dash in her debut; she’s eligible to improve with that effort behind her and hopefully she’ll leave with her field today.

#3 Surfer Moon appears well-spotted in the fifth race, a high-priced maiden claimer over a mile on turf. The Ellis-trained gelding stretched out for the first time last month and ran well to be second (he was more than three clear of the rest) and earned a career top speed figure in doing so. This isn’t much of a field, so a repeat performance probably will be good enough, assuming he can transfer his main track form to the lawn.

Unbeaten #4 Sunday Rules launches a comeback in the sixth race, a first-level allowance extended sprint for fillies and mares. A runaway winner of both of her outings as a juvenile last summer at Del Mar, the daughter of Tribal Rule returns for new trainer D’Amato with a series of impressive workouts that should have her fit and ready. The one to fear most is #5 Classy Ava, an improving daughter of Old Fashion fresh from a big figure maiden score in mid-May for Eurton. Talamo stays aboard and should have her in an ideal pace-stalking position.

The seventh race is a starter’s handicap down the Hillside course for fillies and mares; it’s an open affair and we’ll try to survive going three-deep. #7 Happybirthdaybaby is a perfect one-for-one over this course and distance and performed well over a series of recent middle distance events up north. Freshened since early May and with a solid work tab at Golden Gate fields in the interim, the daughter of Successful Appeal has won half of her 12 career starts and is strictly the one to beat. #2 Always a Chance, claimed back by O’Neill, ran well under similar conditions two races back and has looked especially sharp in the morning in her last couple of drills. She seems geared up for a big effort. #5 Thermal Nermal missed at 4/5 in a softer event earlier this month but a repeat of her nice score in her race before last charts well against this group, so we’ll toss her in.

The nightcap is a bottom-rung maiden claimer at five furlongs; the known element doesn’t impress so let’s zero in on a couple of newcomers. #2 Coyotero has shown enough speed in the morning for Powell to be dangerous in this league; he’s bred for speed (Marino Marini) and a bullet 46 flat gate work earlier this month kinda jumps off the page. He’s 6-1 on the morning line and we’re expecting him to get some play. #1 Midnight Roar is another first-timer with some credentials; the son of Midnight Lute lands Baze and the rail and if he breaks running he should be a strong factor throughout. This field is completely unclassified so the best advice is to use as many as you can afford to.