03/30/2010 12:00AM

Good Measure: Talented, but much to prove


ARCADIA, Calif. - Good Measure enters the race-7 feature Wednesday at Santa Anita with the most upside and the least experience in the field.

Seven colts and geldings entered the first-level allowance. Good Measure's trainer, Carla Gaines, wondered, "Am I the speed?"

Yes, Good Measure probably is the speed. And if the 4-year-old gelding makes the lead as easily against winners as he did against maidens last out, he could be gone again.

"He just galloped around the track with ease," Gaines said.

No kidding. Good Measure cruised to the front under Victor Espinoza in his maiden win, slowed to a crawl (six furlongs in 1:13.70), and won the 1 1/16-mile race with speed to spare.

It was a good race, under optimal conditions. The questions Wednesday are whether Good Measure will make another easy lead and if he needs to set the pace. Considering how well he ran from off the pace in his debut (third with trouble), it may be too soon to classify him as need-the-lead.

Espinoza rides again Wednesday in the first-level allowance/optional $40,000 claimer. And while three others have surpassed the first allowance condition and are eligible to be claimed, none enters with as much upside as Good Measure.

Good Measure was well into his 3-year-old year without a start when he was sent to Gaines in 2009. By the time he made his debut in a Dec. 27 sprint, word was out. Off a string of sharp works, he was bet to 4-1 while breaking from the rail. Good Measure was blocked behind runners, found a seam late, surged, and finished third.

One month later, Good Measure was hammered to 1-2 while stretching to one mile. His chances were compromised by a pace duel in the mile race. He smoked the opening half-mile in 45.39 seconds, six furlongs in 1:10.09, and tired to third.

That made it two consecutive bad trips, and Gaines switched riders to Espinoza. The result was an easy win.

"I think it was the company," she said.

Good Measure's rivals Wednesday include sprint-to-route Wolgan Valley and Tribal Justice, either of which could foil Good Measure out front. Tribal Justice is a four-time winner, dropping in class and stretching out while entered for the $40,000 claim tag.

Others include Ravel, who is the Grade 3 Sham winner in 2007 now trained by Mark Glatt, Kabob, Self Made Man, and Never.