09/30/2009 11:00PM

Pick six: Updated analysis for Oct. 1


Race 3, first leg

The first leg of the pick six is problematic, because 5-2 program favorite SUNNY PEACE is a one-dimensional front-runner. It is a problem because longshot SAINT'S CROWN has the same running style. If those two hook up, the race could fall apart in favor of a deep closer such as SOLDIER BETTY or ENLIGHTENED LADY. Nonetheless, SUNNY PEACE remains the tepid choice in what must be considered a "spread" race. 'PEACE has never raced at this low $10k claiming level, her recent form is acceptable, and her third-place finish last out for $16k is probably good enough for this bottom-level claimer. If she cannot take the heat, then deep closer SOLDIER BETTY could be along in time. She ran the two best races of her career on this surface in winter, and her style suits the pace scenario. RECESS is the 7-2 second choice based on a successive hit-the-board finishes at Fairplex. It would be tough to discount an in-form filly at the bottom class level, particularly since she figures for a good trip just behind the front-runners and in front of the late-runners. RECESS will get first run. Can the speedster SAINT'S CROWN steal it at 8-1? It hardly seems likely, but bettors who are spreading the race anyway may as well use the pacesetter.

Race 4, second leg

The program favorite at odds of 5-2 in this $32,000 claimer at a mile on turf is WILD DIPLOMAT, although he has not started since the middle of August. Furthermore, throughout his career WILD DIPLOMAT has never fired following a layoff. This his first start since the middle of August. Therefore, the program favorite is vulnerable. SOUPY is 7-2 on the line, a whole lot shorter than the 10-1 price winning a five-way blanket finish last out at this same $32k claiming level at Del Mar. But the honest veteran wins more than his share (5-for-12 since August 2008), and his tactical speed is beneficial with the turf rails at 24 feet. This his race to win or lose. How does the grass course play in autumn? One year ago at Oak Tree, speed was very good. Pacesetters won six of the first 17 mile turf races. If the profile continues this fall, it would favor BEST OF INTENTION, a one-dimensional front-runner who finished second last out in a California-bred N1X. As for WILD DIPLOMAT, you can't knock him too much. He won three straight on this course in winter, and enters off a six-week freshening for Doug O'Neill. YES IT'S A CAT got nailed by the top choice one month ago, and while that runner-up finish proves he fits at this level, 'CAT is dubious beyond a sprint. He is only 1-for-10 in routes, but 3-for-7 in sprints. The bottom line is SOUPY is the horse to beat, BEST OF INTENTIONS is the one to catch, and WILD DIPLOMAT is the one to fear.

Race 5, third leg

At program odds of 6-5, HOT SUMMER BREEZE is the shortest price on the card, for good reason. She finished second and third in a back-to-back maiden-40s at Del Mar, those two efforts are faster than anything else in this maiden-25. This is the first time HOT SUMMER BREEZE has raced at the bottom. If she does not win, then 0-for-13 FLASH DANCE might be the right horse off three consecutive third-place finishes. A CLEVER TEN debuts with a top rider and win-early breeding. Offspring of Decarchy win at a solid 14 percent first time out, and trainer Adam Kitchingman is 8-for-57 the past five years with maiden-claiming rookies in Southern California. It's a win rate of only 14 percent, but overlay payoffs generated a $2.49 return for each $2 win bet. Pick six bettors looking for value might consider throwing in the first-time starter listed at 8-1. Victor Espinoza rides.

Race 6, fourth leg

This maiden-40 starter for 2-year-olds might be the toughest race in the pick-six sequence. But it won't be that tough if PEACENIK overcomes the inside draw and reproduces his Calder dirt form while racing for the first time on Santa Anita Pro-Ride. PEACENIK was compromised by a tough trip in his West Coast debut at Del Mar. He got stuck inside, shuffled back and lost position into the turn, dropped to near the back of the field, then finished with run in a better-than-looked sixth-place effort. The 2-year-old's romping debut in July at Calder is plenty good enough. There are two big knocks. First, he is a speed type on the rail, with lots of speed outside. He does not figure for an easy trip. Secondly, his odds are short. He is the 5-2 favorite. RANGER HEARTLEY ran wild at Del Mar, first off the claim by John Sadler. He won by more than four, with a decent figure (67 Beyer), and is drawn outside. The pace scenario is different for this race, however. He got loose on soft fractions last out, but faces a ton of other speed here. GILLIGAN has the proper closing style for this pace-filled race, as does PURSE LUVA. Both AT THE FRONT and WINTER CAMP add more speed. WINTER CAMP enters with the highest figure (85 Beyer), but that figure was earned in a half-mile race at Fairplex. This race seemingly offers two choices. That is, either single the favorite, or hit the "all" button.

Race 7, fifth leg

The 3-1 favorite is BEL AIR SIZZLE, and pick six bettors should know this one-mile turf race was never the intended spot for the stakes winning California-bred. Trainer Barry Abrams only entered her in this allowance as a backup in case the California Cup Distance Handicap on Saturday did not fill. The plan was to scratch BEL AIR SIZZLE from this allowance, and run in the stake. Unfortunately due to a screw-up somewhere, BEL AIR SIZZLE was never entered in the Saturday stake. So she is stuck here, in a race Abrams did not want to run in, at a distance that is probably too short. BEL AIR SIZZLE is a vulnerable favorite. This is a race EXQUISITE, 9-2 on the program, can win first start since March. She previously finished second by a nose at this N2X level, runs well fresh, and figures for a good trip on or near soft fractions while making her first start back for the Paddy Gallagher-Alex Solis team. Gallagher has won with four of his last 11 turf-race starters returning from six-month layoffs. HERMIONE'S MAGIC produced an explosive U.S. debut Aug. 5 at Del Mar, then regressed 17 days later when she tried the G1 Del Mar Oaks. She broke slow, got rank, and finished next-to-last. She has had five weeks since then, drops to N2X against older, and off her powerful N1X one start back vs. 3-year-olds she fits. APRIL PRIDE needed her last start, and can improve while returning to a course on which she ran so well in winter.

Race 8, sixth leg

Bettors "live" into the last race might need to be live to only one filly. And she might be enough. ANNIE'S LOADED is the 7-2 favorite, and ready to win this maiden-25. This is her second start back following a good fourth in a productive race. The 1-2 finishers returned to win, the 3-5-6-7 finishers all returned to hit the board. She enters as a standout. TRIBAL FIRE is 0-for-10 and counting, but successive runner-up finishes at Del Mar make her a logical fit. GREEK ADVANTAGE perked up at Fairplex, finishing second while three clear of third. if she transfers her dirt form to Pro-Ride, she is qualified to win.