03/10/2009 11:00PM

Out for relief, Pick Six takes drop


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - After running on the fringes against stakes competition in his last three starts, including a sixth-place finish behind Kip Deville in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, Pick Six will get some class relief when he returns to the allowance ranks for Thursday's $47,000 main event at Gulfstream Park. The 1 1/8-mile optional claiming event on the turf drew a field of 11.

Pick Six closed out his 2008 campaign finishing second, beaten a half-length by Buddy's Humor, in Aqueduct's Four Bases overnight stakes. In two starts here this winter, Pick Six was ninth in the Ft. Lauderdale and sixth, just more than three lengths behind 2008 Breeders' Cup winner Kip Deville, after forcing the pace in the Gulfstream Park Turf.

"His last was a good race, but when they quickened up, he just wasn't quick enough to stay with them," said Shug McGaughey, who trains the homebred Pick Six for the Phipps Stable. "So I decided just to drop him back into allowance company and hope to get him going in the right direction again."

Pick Six was an easy winner in his last try against allowance foes, rallying to a 2 1/4-length decision going a mile at Aqueduct on Oct. 17.

Two-time stakes winner Why Tonto could be the one to beat. Why Tonto is coming off a much-needed try on Feb. 19 in his first start since capturing the Hallandale Stakes here one year earlier. Why Tonto finished fourth after pressing the early pace going a mile in his return.

Equitable also figures to improve off his last, a fifth-place finish under similar optional claiming conditions on Jan. 29. Equitable was making his first appearance since finishing a distant sixth behind Grand Couturier in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer more than five months earlier. In his previous start, Equitable had rallied to finish third behind Presious Passion in Monmouth Park's Grade 1 United Nations.

Wicked Style, a Grade 1 winner at 2, returns to the turf in an attempt to get his once-promising career flourishing again. Wicked Style won his first three starts, including the Grade 1 Futurity over Keeneland's Polytrack, in 2007 but has gone winless ever since. Wicked Style, a son of Macho Uno, returned from a lengthy vacation of his own to finish far back under allowance conditions over the main track here one month earlier.