01/07/2007 1:00AM

San Pasqual Handicap preview


Saturday, January 6, 2007
Race 8 - Santa Anita
San Pasqual Handicap (Grade 2)
1 1/16 Miles
4-year-olds and upward
Purse $150,000

SPELLBINDER was outsprinted over an intensely speed-favoring surface when facing Bordonaro and Breeders' Cup Sprint hero Thor's Echo in the Grade 1 Ancient Title, but he galloped out with gusto, and stalking tactics may work to his advantage in this speed-laden field. He sheds eight pounds from his last start, and may race clear of traffic trouble after breaking from the outside post position. All of CHEROOT's six lifetime wins have come in gate-to-wire fashion, but he'll be hard-pressed to make an easy early lead in this spot. The Cal-bred is in excellent form, but demand value as the pace scenario may not work to his advantage. DECLAN'S MOON hasn't won since 2005, and he's only raced three times since then. It's possible that he'll improve in his second start following the layoff line, and he loves this distance, but there will always be questions about his physical condition. ARMENIAN SUMMER has performed very well over this racetrack, and while he'll get a class test after performing in 'N1X' allowances, he should relish the expected hot pace up front. DIXIE MEISTER was up against the grain of a speed-favoring track when facing the awesome Discreet Cat in the Cigar Mile. Californian winner is another that will get the proper race flow. PREACHINATTHEBAR battled with Lava Man in the Goodwood, and may opt for a pace-tracking, ground-saving spot this time around.

1. Spellbinder
2. Cheroot
3. Declan's Moon