03/20/2012 12:59PM

Santa Anita: Anthony's Cross returns in allowance; $94K pick-six carryover awaits

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Benoit & Associates
Anthony’s Cross (left) outfinishes Tapizar to win the Robert Lewis Stakes last year. Anthony’s Cross returns in allowance race Thursday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – A surprisingly strong allowance race, featuring the comeback of stakes-winning Anthony’s Cross, highlights a compelling Thursday card at Santa Anita that is made all the more tempting by the $94,093 carryover awaiting pick-six players.

Anthony’s Cross was one of the elite 3-year-olds in California last year, when he won the Robert Lewis Stakes. But a pair of odd injuries kept him off the track for nearly a year. He returns in the day’s sixth race, a second-level allowance at 6 1/2 furlongs that also includes Centralinteligence, looking to bounce back from his flop in the Malibu Stakes on opening day, Dec. 26.

Anthony’s Cross is the marquee name among the seven entrants. In addition to his victory in the Lewis, he was third in the Sham Stakes before finishing fifth in the Santa Anita Derby.

“He missed the Kentucky Derby last year because he kept spiking a temperature, he’d get better and then it would spike again,” Eoin Harty, who trains Anthony’s Cross, said Tuesday morning. “He ended up with a thrombosis in his neck. And then when he was coming back, he ended up with a wood chip in an ankle and needed surgery. Here we are a year later, he’s finally back at the races after two Mickey Mouse injuries.”

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Anthony’s Cross likely needs more distance than Thursday’s 6 1/2 furlongs, but he is drawn outside and “he has trained really well,” Harty said.

Centralinteligence has been off since stopping badly in the Malibu, in which he appeared to get intimidated racing inside horses heading into the far turn. He has come back with a strong series of works for trainer Ron Ellis, who won a pair of stakes last weekend.

“He cut himself up from putting on the brakes when going 35 miles an hour,” Ellis said. “All the cuts were superficial, fortunately. He didn’t like being inside like that, especially when they tightened it up. He had never been in that position.”

Centralinteligence drew well, landing post 6, just inside of Anthony’s Cross.

Bob Baffert has two horses entered in the race, most notably the fleet C J Russell, who has displayed an ability to run well fresh in the past. He has not raced since October. Baffert also entered Classic Legacy, whose only two wins were on Polytrack at Woodbine.

There is an eight-race card at Santa Anita on Thursday, so the pick six begins with the third race, which has a post time of approximately 2 p.m. Pacific.

Leg 1 of the pick six is a maiden-claiming race on the turf for 3-year-old fillies. Trois Aureole, dropping out of a straight maiden race and stretching out, may be a lukewarm choice.

Leg 2 is a maiden race for 3-year-old filly sprinters in which seven of the nine runners are first-time starters.

Leg 3 is a $25,000 claimer on the downhill turf course, with course specialist Crossing The Line, 10, the one to beat.

After the featured sixth race, leg 5 is another downhill turf sprint, an optional claimer, with Irish Art returning to a course over which he won the Uniformity Stakes last fall.

The finale is a $30,000 maiden-claimer for 3-year-old fillies going five furlongs. Class-dropper Fly Solo should garner support as should Vegas Rules if she draws in from the also-eligible list.