03/01/2004 1:00AM

Carryover tops $1.4 million

Southern Image (above) takes on favored Pleasantly Perfect and six other rivals in Saturday's Santa Anita Handicap.

ARCADIA, Calif. - A pick six carryover of $1,413,136 awaits bettors Wednesday at Santa Anita, where the gross pool figures to soar past $5 million. The three-day carryover is among the highest in track history, and estimates say at least $3.5 million will be wagered Wednesday.

Those may be a conservative estimates. Last April 5, bettors wagered $2.2 million chasing a two-day carryover half the size of Wednesday's jackpot. With two dark days to replenish bankrolls and plot strategy for Wednesday, bettors will be on the attack.

The pick six covers races 3-8, and includes three maiden-claiming races, two allowance routes, and a $40,000 claiming sprint. Unless $7 million or more is wagered into the pick six Wednesday, bettors will enjoy a "positive expectation." More will be paid to winning bettors than will be wagered.

Race 3 is a mile race for $40,000 maiden-claimers in which trainer Jeff Mullins wheels back The Road Boss six days after he lost his third straight as the favorite. Blinkers are off. "That was the jockey's recommendation, so we'll see how good a trainer Martin Pedroza is," Mullins said.

The Road Boss will set the pace, and class droppers Marquee Affair and River Lights will rally from behind. River Lights, fourth in his last out, switches Wednesday to leading rider Alex Solis. Eight entered race 3; comebacker Road to Recovery is the only apparent toss.

Race 4 is a mile turf race for fillies and mares, nonwinners-of-one-other-than. Anja scored an impressive win in her U.S. debut Nov. 21, trouncing maidens by four lengths for Bobby Frankel. With the rails at 24 feet, Anja holds a tactical advantage over deep closer Brilliant Move. Forget makes her U.S. debut for trainer Darrell Vienna, though Vienna assistant Scott Chaney said "it appears from her form she wants longer; this is a spot to get her started." Nine evenly matched fillies and mares entered.

Race 5 is a six-furlong sprint for Calbred $40,000 maiden-claimers. Of his four starters in the pick six, Mullins tabbed Taloberto as his best chance. Taloberto shortens to one turn after a second-place finish going a mile. "I was going to wait and run (a mile again), but he's doing so good," Mullins said. Taloberto's main rivals are droppers Rave Party and Flatter Me Not.

Race 6 is a $40,000 claiming race at 6 1/2 furlongs on turf. The complexion of the field depends on whether rain forces it to the main track. Either way, 10-for-25 pro Ditch Digger fits. A 9-year-old, Ditch Digger tailed off last fall after being overmatched in successive stakes at Del Mar, but he returns fresh and ready. Ditch Digger usually goes out in the first morning set for trainer Bill Spawr, and his in-the-dark workouts sometimes go unrecorded.

Beautiful Balance shortens to one turn and is 3 for 4 down the hill. The lofty pace figure he earned last out racing one mile indicates he still has speed to get it done in a sprint.

Race 7 is a two-turn route for California-bred fillies and mares, nonwinners-of-one-other-than. None of the eight starters has an apparent advantage; only Lady Turk appears overmatched. Pick six bettors must go deep. Leading contenders are Mullins-trained The Borg Queen, 9-for-48 pro Real Paranoide, and New Water.

Race 8 is a 5 1/2-furlong sprint for older maidens racing for a $25,000 claim tag. The two favorites - Rally Suspect and Memo House - have the same up-front running style. They are expected to dominate the race if they do not compromise each other.

Really Suspect has not breezed since his last start Feb. 15. The race originally was scheduled for Sunday, which would have been 14 days between starts. When the race did not fill, trainer Craig Lewis further postponed a workout for Really Suspect. But the race was written back as an "extra" and used for Wednesday, giving no time for a work. It is one reason why regular-working Memo House may have the advantage. Blues Harbor makes his second start while dropping significantly in class.