03/12/2013 3:18PM

Santa Anita: Pick-six carryover of $94,000 kicks off week


ARCADIA, Calif. – A week that began with rain ended with sunshine last Sunday, and lookee here, a pot of gold was at the end of the rainbow. No one hit the pick six Sunday at Santa Anita, so when racing resumes Thursday, players will have a carryover of $94,394 awaiting them, with an intriguing downhill turf sprint as the day’s featured seventh race.

Nine older female turf sprinters are in the optional-claiming feature, with eight entered for the second-level allowance condition and just one – Jet Blue Girl – in for a $62,500 claiming price. Seven of them have competed on the 6 1/2-furlong hillside turf course, and four of them have won over it, but it is a newcomer, Irish import Esentepe, who could be the one to beat.

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Esentepe was a Group 3 winner in Great Britain last year, but owns only 2 wins from 16 starts, so she is eligible for this spot even though it represents a huge class drop off her European form. Three of her final four starts last year were in Group 3 races, including one against males as well as a distant third behind The Fugue, a Group 1 winner who was third in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf last fall.

Trying to stop Esentepe from winning her U.S. debut is Creditcardroulette, who won a turf sprint at Betfair Hollywood Park last summer but will be making her first start on Santa Anita’s downhill course. Creditcardroulette moves back to the turf after finishing sixth in the La Brea Stakes on opening day Dec. 26.

“We gave her 30 days off at Bobby Mitchell’s place, and she’s come back good,” said Tom Proctor, the trainer of Creditcardroulette.

Creditcardroulette has finished in the money in both her turf sprints. She is just 1 for 6 otherwise. Is turf sprinting her game?

“We’ll know after Thursday if we’re right,” Proctor said.

There Is No Limit, who beat a first-level allowance field on the downhill course for her third straight win last time out, and Best Present Ever, second in a similar second-level allowance Feb. 14, are other leading contenders in the feature.

There is an eight-race card Thursday, so the pick six begins with race 3. Here are the highlights of the other pick-six races:

Race 3 – Mia Isabel looks like a standout in this $40,000 claiming race at one mile on turf, the exact conditions at which she romped to victory here Feb. 3.

Race 4 – Black Witch was second in a similar one-mile maiden race Jan. 4 before disappointing on a wet-fast track last time out on short rest. Temptress, Iconic Spirit, Sheaparoux, and Hedy all merit consideration.

Race 5 – Swerve takes a huge class drop into this $25,000 claimer after facing first-level allowance runners in her first start in this country. She also goes from the outside post in a one-mile turf race last time to the inside this time. Van Brit, 8, loves this course, with 8 wins in 16 starts. Lilly’s Perfect got the worst of the draw, but should improve with a return to grass.

Race 6 – Stoneside, 9, is going for his third straight win in this $32,000 claiming sprint, and his late run should be flattered by all the speed in here, which also should help Close to the Edge. Class dropper Luckarack, the consistent Drift King, and the speedy Courtside all deserve respect.

Race 8 – Deception Free was second at this $20,000 maiden-claiming level in his last two starts and looks like the best of those who have raced. First-timer Teton County is worth considering, since Bobby Wayne Grayson, his owner and trainer, has a sensational return on investment in spots like this.