01/12/2011 3:39PM

Bottom-barrel tout


Favorites are dominating the lowest-level route races for older horses in Southern California. Since May, five of the nine routes for $8,000 claimers have been won by a favorite. Only one winner paid more than $10.60.

The predictability will comfort bettors backing Super Harmony or Skellytown on Thursday in race 6 at Santa Anita, an $8,000 claimer at a mile and a sixteenth.

Super Harmony is the speed of the field. He might race wire to wire. The 7-for-40 gelding is the 3-1 second choice in the program.

The reliable 8-for-28 Skellytown drops a notch off a Dec. 26 win in a $10,000 claiming race. He happens to be the 5-2 program favorite.

Troubletimesthree, Waive Liability and Oh How Nice all “figure” relatively close, while a win by either Swingin Jim or Thecatcheckraised would be a surprise.

Then there is Figeac, 6-1 on the morning line.

At first glance, the 7-year-old gelding looks like a toss. He has won only two of 15, and was soundly defeated last out as a 39-1 outsider in a low-level claiming sprint.

Figeac, however, ran better than the line looks. He was shuffled early, raced evenly thereafter, and finished fourth of 13. It was his second start following a nine-month layoff.

Thursday, with two sprints under his belt, he stretches to two turns.

Figeac and jockey Kerwin John figure to be positioned second behind the pace. Figeac can inherit the lead if and when front-runner Super Harmony weakens.

Figeac (No. 4) can spring an upset if he holds off Skellytown.

Favorites are dominating bottom-level route races the past few months.

But at odds of 6-1 or higher, Figeac is worth backing Thursday in race 6 at Santa Anita.