02/26/2013 2:05PM

Santa Anita: Causeithertz will get first run in Thursday optional claimer

Benoit & Associates
Causeithertz comes into Thursday's feature at Santa Anita off a win in a second-level allowance race.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Eight horses entered in a turf-allowance feature Thursday at Santa Anita are coming and going from different directions. Some are on their way up, others on their way back, others on their way down.

Last-out winner Causeithertz moves up one level as a favorite in the one-mile nonwinners-of-three allowance, with an $80,000 optional claiming provision. His chief rival is lightly raced Tigah, a late-runner starting for the first time in nine months.

Causeithertz and Tigah top a field that includes droppers Temple’s Door and Willyconker, surface-switcher Jaycito, and outsiders Tribal Tribute, Run It, and Oligarch.

The handicapping dilemma concerns Causeithertz, the only starter that hit the board last out. Causeithertz, a second-level allowance winner in January, moves up a notch Thursday. The question – does a two-length win in a second-level allowance make him the horse to beat in a third-level allowance?

Bob Baffert trains Causeithertz, a gelding produced by the wonderful mare Megahertz. She was a diminutive European import with a wicked kick and won nine graded stakes in California for trainer Bobby Frankel and owner Michael Bello from 2002 through 2005. Causeithertz, owned by Bello, was Megahertz’s first foal; two others are maiden fillies.

Causeithertz was an eight-start maiden when he resumed his career in May 2012. Since joining Baffert’s stable, he has won 3 of 8. Causeithertz has speed, and should get a good trip Thursday positioned behind expected pacesetters Tribal Tribute and Oligarch.

Rafael Bejarano, leading Santa Anita turf rider by wins and percentage, can add to his 22-for-76 turf total on Causeithertz. The knock is the gelding’s finish. Causeithertz does not blast home. In his most recent win, he went the final quarter in an ordinary 23.94 seconds. The tactical advantage of Causeithertz is speed. He will get first run.

Tigah ranks among the field’s best closers. In four U.S. starts, his final quarter ranged between 23.09 seconds and 23.74. However, Tigah has not raced since May 2012, and his deep-closing style means he has more ground to make up under Julien Leparoux. John Sadler trains Tigah, who has won 3 of 10.

Temple’s Door, Willyconker, and Tribal Tribute drop from graded stakes on turf, while Jaycito drops from a graded stakes on the main track.

Winner of the Grade 1 Norfolk Stakes for trainer Mike Mitchell in 2010, Jaycito was subsequently transferred to Baffert for a 2011 Derby campaign that did not materialize.

Jaycito ultimately fizzled. He won 2 of 10 for Baffert and Thursday will race on grass for the first time, in his first start since transferring to trainer Simon Callaghan.