Pick-6 Preview: Santa Anita $94,395 Carryover - March 14, 2013
Race three kicks off the sequence, a one-mile turf race for $40,000 claiming fillies. All seven of the four-year-olds have a shot on their best day, but give preference to Mia Isabel and Thermal Nermal. The two fillies finished one-two in a similar race in early February with Mia Isabel winning by just over two lengths. Thermal Nermal has the pace advantage on Thursday and there does not appear to be any other speed in the race.
More fillies in race four, this time three-year-old maiden special weight runners. Temptress and Black Witch are drawn on the outside in posts seven and eight, but they hold the keys to the engine in the one-mile race. Temptress is likely to set the early pace with Black Witch sitting just off. The last time these two ran, Temptress was six lengths clear of Black Witch. Expect a reversal of form for Black Witch in her fourth career start. Iconic Spirit was actually second, a neck in front of Temptress, in that race, but she made be best as a late-running sprinter and may not get a favorable pace setup. Hedy is worth a long shot look on the stretch out from a five and one-half sprint up north.
Back on the turf for race five and we have more fillies and mares going a flat mile. Van Brit goes first-off-the-claim for trainer Van Belvoir and has afforded herself one more time to get the job done at this level. She had some trouble two and three back, but looked a little flat last time. Belvoir is 24% off-the-claim and gets jockey Gary Stevens in the irons. Swerve drops from the allowance ranks and makes her second U.S. start for trainer Simon Callaghan after a career in Ireland and England. Glowing Spirit also drops from an allowance race and will take them as far as she can go.
The back half of the pick-6 starts with a six furlong sprint on the main track. Stoneside has won back-to-back races and is a must use up the class ladder. Drift King always runs a good race and was three-quarters of a length behind Stoneside three starts back. Gnarly Dude is another to consider on the class drop, making his first start since mid-January. Of course they will all have to catch Courtside, the fast gelding from the John Sadler barn. Courtside will have to outrun Thinking of Girls and that could make for a pace meltdown. Close to the Edge is another closer and the six-year-old has won three times in seven starts over the track. Luckarack won at this level in October and will appreciate the class relief while Blue Jay Attack makes his first start on the dirt. That's the eight of them, tread lightly.
Down the hill for race seven, another contentious field in the pick-6. There Is No Limit, Best Present Ever, Jet Blue Girl and Schiaparelli all own wins over the course, which is always a positive. Schiaparelli is out of Cambiocorsa, who was the queen of the downhill turf course in her day. Esentepe makes her first start in the U.S. for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer with Corey Nakatani in the irons; the pair upset the San Felipe with Hear the Ghost this past weekend.
Deception Free has been the favorite in his last two starts and will once again start favored in the Thursday finale. The four-year-old gelding was second in those two starts and was well clear of the third place finisher. Back in distance may put him in the winner's circle. Green Team looks the main danger with Teton County and Shot of Chaya interesting first-time-starters for trainers who can pop at a price.
Are entries out for Friday yet? There may be another carryover.
First post on Thursday at the Great Race Place is 4:00 ET with the start of the pick-6 scheduled to go to post at 5:02.