01/13/2004 12:00AM

Pace-pressers could have a big day


ARCADIA, Calif. - Speed has been holding this winter at Santa Anita, and the profile will be severely tested Thursday in three allowance races that make up half of the pick-six series - races 3, 5, and 7.

In race 3, Talk Me Again will try to race gate to wire in a 6 1/2-furlong dirt sprint for fillies and mares, nonwinners of three other than. In race 5, pace-presser Star Wizard should get a perfect trip going one mile in a turf allowance for California-bred fillies and mares, nonwinners of one other than. And in race 7, presser She's Movin On will be among the first to attack in a 6 1/2-furlong turf sprint for 3-year-old fillies, nonwinners of one other than.

Talk Me Again could shake loose in race 3. An 8-for-20 Argentine trained by Eric Kruljac, she faces only one pace foe. That is Annabelly, who produced surprising speed to win her last race. Improved speed often signals improved form, in which case Annabelly could give Talk Me Again all she can handle. Seven of the first 11 dirt sprints at 6 1/2 furlongs have been won by a horse within a half-length of the lead at the first call.

Honest Answer, Quiet Delight, and Miss Bridget Jones complete the field.

If fifth-race pacesetter Princess Razyana finds herself outclassed shipping in from northern California, presser Star Wizard can win. Five of the first eight turf races this meet at one mile have been won by a horse within a half-length of the lead after a half-mile. Star Wizard was claimed for $50,000 off a win vs. 3-year-olds at Hollywood Park and should be positioned second behind Princess Razyana.

Two other contenders must rally. They are Thermostatic, dropping after a good third vs. $62,500 open claimers, and China Princess, making her first start for trainer Ted H. West.

"She has trained really well since we've had her," West said. "She's picked up physically."

Race 7 is a turf-sprint scramble in which She's Movin On will be positioned right behind the pace. She finished second under similar conditions two months ago. The pace is likely to be set by Autumn Accent, while the presence of Can't Be Denied helps to ensure fast fractions. Nine of the first 11 turf sprints have been won by a horse within three lengths of the lead at the first pace call.

Imports Farewell to Arms, Allegedly, and Cape Trafalgar will try to rally from behind.

The turf rails will remain at 24 feet for Thursday's card.