Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis (Sat., June 28, 2014)

An excellent 10-race Saturday program is spiced by a $64,153 Pick-6 carryover. First post is 1 p.m.

#10 Tribalist, a troubled third in his only outing as a two-year-old last summer, returns for Heap in the opener, a downhill turf sprint for California-bred maidens. The Tribal Rule gelding has been very impressive in the morning and looks fit and ready for a huge run off the bench. Drawn comfortably outside and retaining Espinoza, he will offer value at anywhere near his morning line odds of 3-1. For exacta purposes you may want consider #4 Table Twentyone underneath. A decent runner-up in a maiden claimer in his debut, the Glatt-trained gelding has worked well since and is protected today in straight maiden company following an improved recent workout.

The second race is a non-winners of two $16,000 sprint that looks made to order for #1 Dehere Is Gone. The Spawr-trained gelding has improving speed figures and if he can negotiate a good trip from the rail he’ll be hard to deny. For rolling exotic purposes we’ll also consider #2 Shining Son, a class-dropping, surface-switching stretch runner, and #5 Hope ‘n Pray, a sneaky Bay Area invader dropping sharply in class for clever trainer Miyadi.

High priced maiden claiming fillies and mares meet over a mile on turf in the third race, a completely wide open affair that probably requires a considerable spread in rolling exotic play. Small ticket players should consider #3 Ann’s Gold and #1 Woody’s Wharf, fourth and fifth place finishers in a similar event last month when beaten less than two lengths, and #9 Lamazone, a fit on speed figures and capable of producing a dangerous late kick with the switch to Espinoza. The best advice, though, is to tread lightly.

The Pick-6 begins in the fourth race, a maiden special weight sprint for fillies and mares. Proctor has a pair of fast-working first-timers; we’re going to assume that Stevens is on the better of the two and if that’s the case #8 Barbs Angel might be slightly preferred over #1 Summerofsixtythree. They’ve worked together in the morning and are hard to separate, but both can mobile. The best of the known element is #3 Southern Sunshine, a six-race maiden but removing blinkers for the first time for hot trainer Miller.

The Gr. 2 Royal Heroine Stakes for fillies and mares over a mile on turf goes as the fifth race and brings out a strong and competitive field, topped by #10 Parranda. She’ll have to overcome the poor outside draw, but the Hollendorfer-trained mare finished a strong third in the recent Gr. 1 Gamely S. and this is an easier task. She continues to excel in the morning and seems primed for another big effort. #1 Stormy Lucy, a solid fourth in the Gamely, lands the favorable rail and should be dangerous from off the pace. #6 Moone’s My Name has an improving pattern for Sadler and is another who should be doing her best work late. These are the three we’ll include in our rolling exotics while preferring Parranda on top.

The Triple Bend Stakes, a Grade 1 seven furlong event, showcases the West’s best sprinters in the sixth race; we’ll use the best front-runner and the best closer and hope that’s enough. #1 Declassify was a tad short in his recent comeback but won’t be today. The Baffert-trained colt is very fast on numbers and if he breaks running from the rail he should be the controlling speed. However, if he’s pressured throughout by #6 Cyclometer, the race could set up nicely for #4 Sahara Sky, a powerful late-runner who has trained like his old self of late for Hollendorfer. This extended sprint distance may be his favorite, and Talamo has gotten superior run out of him in the past.

The seventh race is the Gr. 3 Senorita Stakes, a mile turf affair for 3-year-old fillies, and is another with several logical contenders. We’re intrigued by the Golden Gate shipper #4 Morning Fix, a nice recent allowance winner on turf and a fit on speed figures. This is a considerably step up in class but she could be up to the task at a good price. #7 Famous Alice finished fourth in a hundred grander at Penn National last month and can be expected to regain her best form back home in California. A repeat of her race before last puts her right there. #9 Rovenna may be more comfortable sprinting but she won a nice state-bred affair at this distance in April and has trained well since for Machowsky. She’s unproven on turf but is bred to like it.

The featured Gold Cup at Santa Anita brings out #1 Game On Dude as he attempts to regain his winning form after missing at odds-on when second in the Charles Town Classic in mid-April. He’s training as well as ever for Baffert but will have to deal with another devoted speed horse, #2 Fury Kapcori, who is drawn right next door. If these two hook up – and it’s highly possible – the stretch-running #3 Clubhouse Ride could take full advantage. This is not a great race to bet – we’re not planning on getting heavily involved - but certainly will be a fun to watch.

The ninth race is a first-level allowance turf miler with the potential of having a fast pace, and if that happens #3 A Red Tie Day could loom very dangerous. He’s not terribly fast on figures but the Ellis-trained colt seems to be improving, can turn it on late, and retains Talamo, so at 8-1 on the morning line he offers good price chance. #9 Snaps, away since February when he broke his maiden impressively for Mandella, has trained like he’s plenty for his return and the lightly-raced City Zip gelding switches to Smith. He could be this good and is a “must use” in rolling exotic play.

The finale is a better-than-par six furlong allowance race; the main contention can be found inside with #1 American Pride and #2 Whine for Wine. American Pride earned a giant speed figure when breaking his maiden earlier this month in his first start since last July and has been sharp in the morning since; we’re expecting a similar effort today. Whine for Wine beat state-bred competition at this level last month and seems like a logical exacta partner with ‘Pride.