01/09/2006 1:00AM

Pick-six carryover looks tough to hit

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ARCADIA, Calif. - So far, Santa Anita has been the gift that keeps on giving. It opened the day after Christmas, business and the quality of racing have been terrific, and for the second straight week, the race week begins with a large pick-six carryover following two dark days.

No one hit the pick six on Sunday, leading to a carryover of $167,708.02 heading into Wednesday's races. With two days off to get fresh money, bettors could propel the overall pool to near $1 million. Last Thursday, following two dark days, $833,108 was bet into a carryover of $137,596.24.

Bettors might need plenty of cash to have a fighting chance in this pick six. There is an average of more than 12 horses entered in each pick-six race, and the pick six begins with a pair of maiden races that have a number of first-time starters.

In the third, for California-bred 3-year-old fillies going six furlongs, the best of those with proven form are , who was fourth in a fast maiden race at Hollywood Park in her last start.

Bobby Frankel trains a pair of likely contenders in the fourth, for 3-year-olds at one mile on grass. was well beaten in his debut, but that was in a wickedly fast race on opening day, and he has a turf pedigree. Frankel also sends out first-time starter Peter and Zoe, who will be ridden by Patrick Valenzuela. Frankel and Valenzuela won four races over the weekend.

In the fifth, a $25,000 claiming sprint for 4-year-olds, class-droppers Southern Rule, , and Things Happen meet the sharp Epic Commander in a wide-open race.

seeks her third straight victory in the sixth race, an optional-claiming sprint for older fillies and mares, but she is 0 for 7 at Santa Anita. Ez Money Honey returned from a long layoff to finish second in her last start to Excessively Nice, who won again on Sunday.

Dan Hendricks, who trains third-race contender Sorority Bid, may play a pivotal role in the seventh race with comebacking . He has not raced since April, but he ran well on this hillside turf course last year, and Hendricks said he has been training well.

Hillside winners and Storm Mate are other leading contenders in the seventh.

The speedy drops into a maiden-claimer and appears the one to catch in the eighth and final race.