02/23/2007 1:00AM

Las Flores Handicap preview


Saturday, February 24, 2007
Santa Anita - Race 7
6 Furlongs
Las Flores Handicap (Grade 3)
4-year-olds and upward, fillies and mares
Purse $100,000.

According to Formulator 4.1 stats, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is only 1-48 (2%, $0.06 ROI) at Santa Anita over the last five years, but his SECRET SCHEME ran a solid third here last time in the Grade 1 Santa Monica Handicap, and she has the tactical speed to stalk a hot pace. She was no match for heavy favorite Pussycat Doll (three-time Grade 1 winner, 112 Beyer top) in the Santa Monica, but may have been ridden too aggressively that day. Secret Scheme is a perfect 3-3 at this distance, and is working well for this start. The February 19 workout matches up with Hollendorfer's older mare, Somethinaboutlaura, the winner of the Cal Cup Matron at Oak Tree last year.
KATY SMILES will likely have to gun hard from the inside post, but she is pretty quick from the gate, and may be sharper as she makes her second start of the year. She chased 2-5 favorite Victorina last time out at Turf Paradise, and dug in pretty gamely despite having some problems switching leads. She doesn't necessarily need the lead to win, and will offer some value in this spot. The last time SELVATICA went turf-to-dirt, she won a listed race at Fairplex by open lengths. She is also very, very fast from the gate, and should be prominently-placed when the real running begins. She may have been aided just a bit by a speed-favoring surface when going gate-to-wire in the 99 Beyer Pine Tree Lane at Oak Tree on October 22, but you have to respect the rider switch to Gomez.
HELLO LUCKY and SPIRIT TO SPARE both will make their second start of the season after dueling each other into defeat in the Wishing Well on turf. The former may be rated off the pace in this spot. HYSTERICALADY earned a whopping 110 Beyer two starts back going long at Hollywood, but she hasn't been out since July, and may be overbet.

1. Secret Scheme
2. Katy Smiles