12/30/2009 12:00AM

Sadler sends strong entry at Santa Anita


ARCADIA, Calif. - Trainer John Sadler starts Machismo and Red Arrow in an optional claimer over 5 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita on Thursday. He may need an entry to beat Delta Storm, a stakes winner earlier this year.

The optional claimer drew a field of six, all of whom ran in stakes at various levels this year. The race is worth $53,000 and is something of a consolation to the defunct $100,000 El Conejo Handicap, a sprint stakes not offered at this meeting.

Each of Sadler's starters is coming off a loss.

Machismo was sixth in a field of seven in the Grade 3 Vernon Underwood Stakes at Hollywood Park on Dec. 6.

"He got left at the break and grabbed a quarter," Sadler said.

The Underwood was Machismo's first start since an eighth-place finish in the $2 million Golden Shaheen in Dubai last March. Last January, Machismo was second in the El Conejo Handicap. A 5-year-old gelding owned by Gary and Cecil Barber, Machismo is winless in his last five starts.

Red Arrow, owned by the Barbers, is entered for a $100,000 claiming price. A 6-year-old horse, Red Arrow was 10th in the Grade 1 Ancient Title Stakes here in October, his most recent start.

"He got sick and kind of battled back," Sadler said.

An Australian-bred, Red Arrow won the Grade 3 Los Angeles Handicap at Hollywood Park in May, leading throughout. He is expected to lead in Thursday's race, but could be challenged by Tribesman, a multiple stakes winner based in Northern California.

Of his two entrants, Sadler considers Machismo to have a stronger chance to win on Thursday.

Delta Storm may get an ideal trip as a stalker with his outside post. Entered for a $100,000 claiming price, Delta Storm won the Robert Kerlan Memorial Handicap over six furlongs on turf in June, but is winless in five subsequent starts. He was second by a neck to Kinsale King in the Underwood.

The Barbers have an entry in Becrux and Golden Mexico in Thursday's seventh race, an optional claimer over 1 1/8 miles on turf. Becrux, 7, will be after the 11th win of his career, and first since an allowance race here in October 2008.

Golden Mexico, trained by Christophe Clement, was fourth, beaten a half-length, in the Contested Bid Stakes at Hollywood Park on Dec. 5.