04/20/2006 11:00PM

Santa Anita preview for April 22


Race 5
1 1/4 Miles (Turf)
Santa Barbara Handicap (Grade 2)
Fillies and mares
Purse $200,000.

Sharp Lisa may have been ridden a bit too tentatively by Corey Nakatani in her turf debut, and can rebound with more aggressive handling in the Santa Barbara. She made the lead in the Santa Ana here on March 26, but yielded after six furlongs, and attempted to re-rally in the stretch. She galloped out nicely after the race, and that may bode well for her first trip at 1 1/4 miles. Sharp Lisa looms the controlling speed on paper, and may slow the pace down to a crawl. If this turns into a sprint turning for home, this Grade 1 winner may be able to outlast her opponents.

Argentina looks like the one to beat. Trained by Bobby Frankel, the daughter of Sadler's Wells rallied strongly to finish ahead of Sharp Lisa in the Santa Ana, and she is already Group 1-placed at this distance. Lightly-raced Argentina has plenty of upside potential, and will be charging hard in the stretch.

Argentina's uncoupled barnmate Eternal Melody may offer value. The New Zealand bred came with a strong late run to win a money allowance here in late February, and shows some solid workouts in preparation for her return to graded company. Her Beyer Speed Figures are consistent and competitive, and she shouldn't be ignored if sent off at overlaid odds.

Aubonne won the La Zanzara Handicap over this course and trip two back, but failed to sustain her rally in the 12 furlong San Luis Obispo, and was subsequently sent to the bench by Neil Drysdale. Her entrymate, Hallowed Dream, will take a big step up in class after nosing Cissy in a 'N2X' optional claimer, but she has now won three in a row and has some tactical speed.

1. Sharp Lisa
2. Argentina
3. Eternal Melody

Race 7
About 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf)
San Simeon Handicap (Grade 3)
Four-year-olds and upward
Purse $100,000.

Siren Lure has won his last three starts over the downhill turf course at Santa Anita, and he projects for a good pace-tracking trip in the San Simeon under Alex Solis. Although he failed to change leads when winning the Imperial Luck II Handicap here in late January, he showed true grit in nosing out next-out winner Shadow of Illinois. Trainer Art Sherman has sent out some live runners at this meet from his home base of Northern California, and Siren Lure looks primed for his fourth straight victory.

Saint Buddy blew a clear lead going two turns on the grass in early February when failing to change leads, but he has won sprinting on the dirt, and may sit a nice outside stalking trip just off the speeds. The gray will make the important third start of the form cycle, and has some class.

Moth Ball figures to be disputing the fractions in this Grade 3 event. He got a little hot in the post parade prior to his most recent start, but dug in gamely to just miss after a pacesetting try. Moth Ball will have to contend with Diamond Fury in the early stages of the San Simeon, and that may compromise his stretch stamina.

We All Love Aleyna has excellent back Beyers. Pure as Gold has won two straight down the hill, and switches to Pat Valenzuela. Grafton was claimed out of his last start by the dangerous Jeff Mullins.

1. Siren Lure
2. Saint Buddy
3. Moth Ball