10/14/2009 11:00PM

Pick six: Raiding Party a superior single


Horseplayers pursuing Friday's pick six at Santa Anita, swelled by a $47,885 carryover, may not wish to go too deep in the opening leg of the wager. For that matter, a single might be best used right off the bat.

For many that single will be Silent Stalk for the principal reason that she looms the controlling speed of the third race, the first leg, a $32,000 claimer going six furlongs down the hill on the Santa Anita grass course.

Though Silent Stalk has merits, her form does not appear as strong as in the spring, putting her at risk of being outkicked by Raiding Party, the probable second choice in the race. To these eyes, Raiding Party is the preferred single.

In contrast to Silent Stalk, Raiding Party has never been better in her career. Since being claimed by trainer Mike Mitchell in August for owner Nick Alexander, she has a win and a nose defeat in two subsequent starts. The win came at this class level, and the nose loss, a runner-up finish, against a notch better - $40,000 claimers.

Both races were at a mile, not turf sprints, but Raiding Party gave every indication in those two starts that she would be well suited to a cutback in distance. She was keen under a snug hold early, and showed a powerful burst of acceleration leaving the final turn before weakening slightly late.

Very easily this filly could be 2 for 2 off the claim. She was simply the unlucky loser of a head-bobbing photo Oct. 9.

Furthermore, Raiding Party - who began her career in Britain - has established sprint form overseas, having won a pair of races over Polytrack at Wolverhampton going six furlongs.

Chances appear likely she can sit in a comfortable tracking position, and use her superior recent form and quickening ability to surge past morning-line favorite Silent Stalk in the lane.