03/15/2010 11:00PM

Canonize sitting on big one


ARCADIA, Calif. - The good sprinter Canonize was wound tight for his comeback Jan. 30 following an eight-month layoff, and he ran accordingly.

"You would think 7-and-3 would be good enough," trainer Ron Ellis said. It was not, and Canonize missed by a head in the fastest (1:07.64) six-furlong race of the winter meet.

Lightly raced Canonize, 2 for 4, tries again Wednesday at Santa Anita, where a pick six carryover of $139,205 is up for grabs and Canonize is a potential single in race 7, a second-level allowance at six furlongs.

The eight-horse field includes deep closer Mobilized, who is 3 for 3 in synthetic sprints; Machismo, the speed of the speed; route-to-sprint Star Nicholas; and outsiders Charm N Chuck, Nikki'sgoldensteed, Futuro and Lt. Hopeful. It is clear whom they have to beat.

Canonize burst onto the scene a year ago with a three-length debut win, followed by a comfortable victory in a first-level allowance. But a flat third as the favorite in the Grade 3 Laz Barrera at Hollywood Park, followed by an illness, gave Ellis and owners Mace and Samantha Siegel reason to stop on Canonize, a gelded son of Aldebaran.

He returned as a 4-year-old this winter, and ran the best race of his career, a head loss to Gato Go Win, while earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 97. Ellis could have wheeled him back sooner, but he knew better. "He ran so hard off the layoff, so I gave him plenty of time," he said. "He's doing really good."

Ellis said a workout gap from Feb. 21 to March 5 is not significant, and a bullet move in 59.80 seconds on March 11 at Hollywood Park was intentionally fast. Canonize is wound tight, again. "That class of a horse, they have to run hard," Ellis said. "He did it easy" he said, referring to the work. Jose Valdivia rides Canonize.

Mobilized has never lost a synthetic-surface sprint, and the first-level allowance he won Feb. 5 has proven to be live. The second-, third- and seventh-place finishers returned to win. Gary Mandella trains Mobilized, and leading rider Rafael Bejarano is up.

The pick six begins in race 3 with the hunch play for St. Patrick's Day. Irish Pepper, a 0 for 9 maiden claimer who has finished in the money in five straight, is the likely favorite under Bejarano.

Pick six bettors may consider singling Super Sophie in race 8, a maiden-40 starter allowance at a mile on turf.