10/09/2009 11:00PM

Pick six: Updated analysis for Oct. 10


Race 5, first leg

The pick six begins with a potential single in 8-5 favorite EXCELLENT NEWS. She ran a winning race last out at Del Mar, despite jamming back only 14 days after her debut. Second time out, she speedster finished second, more than four lengths clear of third. The filly that pressed her in that race (Judge Joan) returned to win a stakes at Fairplex, and EXCELLENT NEWS has returned to work very well. The bottom line is that EXCELLENT NEWS should win at a short price, and kick off the pick six that looks almost like a pick four considering the there is a 2-5 later in race 8. First-time starter CARRIE ROSE debuts for the productive Mike Mitchell-Garrett Gomez combo. She was sired by Old Topper, whose offspring win 13 percent first time out according to Thoro-Graph, 'ROSE is the first foal out of a modest 2-for-7 speedster. Mitchell has put Gomez on six first-time starters since fall 2006; three won. Hard to argue with a 50 percent strike rate, and if the favorite falters on the front end, then CARRIE ROSE might be the c upsetter at 8-1 on the program. SHESOPROVOCATIVE is believed to be a better filly than her most recent start suggests. Third in her debut against maidens, she was wide and possibly overmatched in the Barretts Debutante. She is back in with maidens, and should improve. The top choice beat her by more than four lengths one start back, however. Looks like budget-minded pick six bettors will sink or swim with the favorite.

Race 6, second leg

COWBOY CAL returns to California at the top of his game, and this mile turf race sets up well for the 2-1 favorite. He runs best when he can tuck behind a front-runner; and that is the trip he might get here because MONTEREY JAZZ is likely to race to the lead. That should allow COWBOY CAL to tuck in just off the pace. In his most recent start at Saratoga, COWBOY CAL did all the dirty work up front. He and pace rival Seaspeak sped seven lengths clear of the field after the opening half-mile, COWBOY CAL put that rival away, opened up, then got collared by a horse winning his sixth straight (Justenuffhumor). Furthermore, the also-rans included Interpetation, who beat Gio Ponti two starts later. COWBOY CAL does not have many "W's" next to his name, but he always shows up on firm turf. If he headstrong colt can be rated, he will get an ideal first-over trip. He can win if he holds off the closers including WHATSTHESCRIPT. The latter has been freshened since late July, when he finished a modest third in the G1 Eddie Read. He runs well fresh, likes this course (third last year in the BC Mile), and will be finishing. GLOBAL HUNTER lost a shoe and was probably overmatched in the Pacific Classic. He has trained super since returning to Santa Anita, and his upset victory in the Eddie Read in late July stamps him as one of the favorites. MONTEREY JAZZ will lead them as far as he can. If this race was on his favorite turf course (Hollywood), he might be a slam dunk. 'JAZZ is no slouch at Santa Anita, and a threat to lead wire to wire.

Race 7, third leg

This is the deepest race of the meet; every starter has a chance. Pick six bettors will have to spread. That is, unless the "best horse" in the field shows up. If so, TIAGO can win it at odds of 4-1. Proven against world-class older competition, and third in the Breeders' Cup Classic a year ago on this track, he enters as the best horse in the field even if his current form is sketchy. His 2009 campaign was interrupted when he got sick after his February comeback, he was off more than six months, and his recent turf-race comeback was better than the last-place finish indicates. He cut loose with a wild mid-race move, and then flattened out in the lane. Since then, he has trained steadily at Hollywood, and has enough tactical speed to be within striking position of the only front-runner. COLONEL JOHN got stuck in traffic on the far turn and into the lane as the second favorite in the Pacific Classic, and finished an even-paced fifth in a race that unfolded wrong. He needs clear sailing, and if he gets it, he is good enough. He has enough speed to be forwardly placed. Kentucky Derby winner MINE THAT BIRD runs for first time since Aug. 1. His five-furlong workout Oct. 6 was better than his previous workout here Sept. 29. And his next race (BC Classic) should be a better effort than this prep. 'BIRD will be finishing. So will Pacific Classic upset winner RICHARD'S KID, who has trained super for this.

TRES BORRACHOS is the lone speed, but Pro-Ride continues to swallow front-runners.

Race 8, fourth leg

Here is everyone's pick six single. The unbeaten ZENYATTA is the 2-5 favorite. Next stop, Breeders' Cup Classic. LIFE IS SWEET finished behind Zenyatta both starts this year, but this is the first time they will meet on LIFE IS SWEET's favorite surface. She went 3-for-3 here in winter, and she will be finishing. On paper, no one else matters.

Race 9, fifth leg

ON FIRE finishes second more often than he wins (seven seconds, two wins), but this race sets up for his closing style. He finished third behind a loose-on-the-lead front-runner 10 days ago; a ton of speed in this shorter race gives him a legitimate chance to win from behind. ON FIRE is a fat 6-1 on the program. The dead-fit veteran can sit, wait and rally late for the win under young rider Alonso Quinonez who is 0-for-12 on grass. FU PEG HE RAT drops out of a strong stake for 3-year-olds. The winner, Grazen, was on his way to victory last weekend in Cal Cup Classic when he broke down; runner-up Chocolate Candy is a contender in the G1 Goodwood (race 7). FU PEG HE RAT switches to Gomez, returns to grass, and faces easier. IMCO SPIRIT is a new shooter from Europe, making his U.S. debut for trainer Paddy Gallagher. All systems go in a N1X that did not come up all that strong. And odds of 20-1, IMCO SPIRIT would be a major knockout. HAMMURABI is fast, but he will be challenged by other speed including MALIBU CANYON, ART CURRENCY and CASPIAN. The 7-2 program favorite is WAR NATIVE, who broke slow and put in a belated late run to finish fourth in his U.S. debut. He is supposed to improve.

Race 10, sixth leg

Runner-up twice in fast races at Del Mar, 5-2 favorite GET MY FIX is sitting on a win. The race he exits has proven to be "live." The winner Dave in Dixie returned to finish a better-than-looked sixth in the Norfolk, third place The Skinny Man returned to finish second in a stakes at the Fair, fourth place Seattle Ruler returned to win a stake at the Fair, and eighth place Summer Movie returned to win a maiden race on grass. The point is, GET MY FIX ran well against a good field. With an experience edge and a closing style that suits the track profile, GET MY FIX enters as the solid chalk. First-time starter FRISCO KID is a well-regarded Bruce Headley-trained 2-year-old who has been showing his stuff in the morning. Scratched from a race at Del Mar when he was sick, he has worked well at Santa Anita. The past five years, Headley is 13-for-85 with first-time starters (15 percent). MR CHARLIE and THE PROGRAM are Baffert-trained second-time starters. Both are eligible to improve over modest debut efforts.