10/29/2009 11:00PM

Pick six: Updated analysis for Oct. 31


Race 4, first leg

Looks like wagering value in the first leg of the sequence, because "likely winner" WHISPERING HUSH is listed at a juicy 4-1 in the program. The 2-year-old maiden filly is unlucky to have not already won a stake. She bucked an inside bias one start back, rallying wide to finish second in the Generous Portion at DMR. Last time, she had an impossible trip (blocked through the turn and into the lane) and finished third in the Cal Cup Juvenile Fillies while possibly best. Produced by the stakes-winning turf dam Shalini, WHISPERING HUSH should like grass and should like two turns. FUGITIVE ANGEL, 7-2 on the line, comes off a huge second-place finish on the Keeneland Polytrack. She finished more than 10 lengths clear of third; the winner of the race (Orchestrator) came back Wednesday to win a N1X. It looks like a two-horse race on paper. STAR OF SAPPHIRE disappointed last time despite a good trip. Always in position, she failed to kick in the stretch. Blinkers are on, and maybe she deserves one final chance. BONNIE BLUE FLAG might scratch; check the late changes. As for 5-2 favorite WARREN'S JITTERBUG, she is five starts into her career of seconditis. She has finished second four times.

Race 5, second leg

It is unusual for a $20k claiming mare to be a complete and total standout. But last-start winner WOOD ART is a complete and total standout. Consistently there or thereabouts, and 4-for-12 this year, she returns at the same level against a field not nearly as good as the field she just beat. The filly she beat last time (Lullabytime) is a consistent $20-25k claimer; the fillies that WOOD ART faces here are $10-$12.5k claiming caliber. Looks like a single from here. She is 3-1 on the line, and probably going down.

Race 6, third leg

This downhill turf sprint is wide open. WELKEN won a good race down the hill four weeks ago for $32k, and the razor-sharp veteran mare should handle the bump to $40k claiming. But DONA AMELIA also likes the hill. She scored a 7-1 upset here in winter at this level while returning from a layoff similar to the one she returns from now. Claimed one back for $20k by A.C. Avila, she ran an improved race immediately, and then was freshened. Avila's horses are firing big, she returns at double the price for which she was claimed (a good sign), she runs well fresh, and she likes the course. No knocks. HIGHER INCENTIVE gave Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens his first career win as a trainer when she upset similar. She beat a sharp filly last time that returned to win (Raiding Party). The speed of the field will be set by FANATICAL, and should could shake loose over a downhill course that has produced two front-running winners already this week.

Race 7, fourth leg

A good runner-up finish three weeks ago by DOMONATION sets up the 2-year-old maiden for a second-start maiden victory. It was a good race visually and by the speed figures. It will take a good maiden to beat him. CONVEYANCE might be a good maiden. He was scratched from a maiden race Oct. 24 after he drew the rail, worked a sharp five furlongs one day later, and appears to be "live" first time out. His sire Indian Charlie gets 18 percent debut winners. Two deep could wrap up the race.

Race 8, fifth leg

A fat 6-1 on the line, improving MY SUMMER SLEW moves up to open company after a sharp win vs. N1X Calbreds and he can score right back. He beat a good field at Fairplex last time; runner-up High Standards is a back-class stakes winner who returned to finish third in a $58k stake at Fresno. MY SUMMER SLEW has a strong workout pattern since raced, he proved Aug. 20 in a much-troubled comeback that he handles grass, and his versatile style should lead to a cozy trip on or near the lead. KANAN DUME was always well-regarded (troubled sixth in the Del Mar Futurity in 2008), but he has been unable to string together a campaign. Off five months, he returns from another layoff, he is bred for grass (dam was top-class on turf), and he runs well fresh. He was gelded prior to his April 24 comeback, and with only four career starts he could still turn out to be a decent older horse if he holds together. Deep closer CLEISTHENES returned from a short layoff with an improved runner-up finish in a similar N1X on the hill. The presence of kamikaze front-runner CAPTAIN STEEL means CLEISTHENES should get speed to run at again.

Race 9, sixth leg

The 5-2 favorite SIX EIGHTEEN drops to maiden-32 after showing hints of ability against much better (special-weight, maiden-62.5k, stakes). Each of his three starts have been better than the one before, and he ran respectably two starts back in a two-turn route at Del Mar. Blinkers on, Bejarano on, and down in company, SIX EIGHTEEN enters as the logical choice in a difficult pick six sequence. STRAIGHTOMIDNIGHT stretched out and ran the best race of his career, a runner-up finish at one mile on this track. It might not take much better to win this. SCREWBALL was a first-time gelding last out when he set the pace and only got worn down late after putting away several challenges in the lane. The time was slow, but the 2-year-old finally seems to have put it all together. He is learning how to be a racehorse.