02/25/2010 12:00AM

Santa Anita roundup

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WHO'S HOT

Bourbon Bay rocketed to the top of the marathon turf division with a blowout win Feb. 21 in at 1 1/2 miles. Even if Loup Breton were to stay on grass (he will not; the Santa Anita Handicap on the main track is next), he would have a tough time beating Bourbon Bay in the remaining Grade 2 marathons - the San Luis Rey on March 20 and San Juan Capistrano on closing day, April 18.

Bourbon Bay, who won by 4 1/4 lengths, was moving up in class from a first-level allowance win at 1 1/2 miles. What took trainer Neil Drysdale so long to run him at the distance, anyway?

"When we purchased him, we purchased him with the idea that he'd be a mile and a half horse, so he's lived up to it to date," Drysdale said. "He had a lot of mucus and allergy problems as a 3-year-old, but he seems fine now." Bourbon Bay, a 4-year-old gelding by Sligo Bay, is the week's "Most Likely Repeater." Make him a short price March 20.

Bob Black Jack returned from a 14-month layoff Feb. 20 in , with a "need-the-race" warning from trainer Jim Kasparoff.

"I could see him running second or third," Kasparoff said.

Bob Black Jack got loose in the seven-furlong race - an opening quarter in a soft 23 seconds and a half in an equally soft 45.58. The result was a 2 1/4-length win in 1:21.05 with a Beyer Figure of 101. Good training job by Kasparoff and clever pre-race spin to alleviate pace pressure.

The seven-furlong profile recently has been all speed. Five of the last seven races at the distance (through Feb. 20) were won by the pacesetter. But it would be unfair to call it a bias. The best horses happened to be front-runners, and the $10.20 return by Bob Black Jack was the highest payoff by a recent gate-to-wire winner at seven furlongs; another paid $6.80, and three others were favorites.

Rafael Bejarano has been riding circles around the competition the last three weeks. The thing about Bejarano is that he makes few mental mistakes. His horses are always in position to win - 11 lengths off the lead with deep-closing first-time starter Self Made ($24.80) in the last race Feb. 21, or pressing the pace with Face and an Ace ($11.20) on Feb. 20. Bejarano was 7 for 15 last weekend and entered Week 19 clear in the standings. Does it even matter who is ranked second?

El Nadia, an import from New Zealand making her U.S. debut in a $40,000 turf sprint claimer, broke a meet-long losing streak for trainer Steve Knapp. Ridden by Tyler Baze, El Nadia scored a $111.60 upset in race 5 on Feb. 18 to win "Jackpot of the Week" honors. Going into the race, Knapp was 0 for 37.

WHO'S NOT

Dancing in Silks finished a flat fifth in the San Carlos, his second straight dull race since winning .

"No answers," trainer Carla Gaines said a day after the race. "He scoped clean. Maybe he's knocked out from the Breeders' Cup."

Joel Rosario got a three-day suspension for careless riding on Tamerin in race 5 on Feb. 18. Tamerin was disqualified from fourth and placed eighth. The suspension (Feb. 26-28) was appealed; Rosario may end up serving later, when convenient.

PICK-SIX PAYOFFS

Santa Anita is doing a terrific job getting word out about pick-six payoffs, and last week there were several winners from relatively small-sized tickets.

Feb. 18:Owner Cecil Barber told HRTV that his race-8 winner, Press the Point, gave him the only winning ticket. Barber's ticket cost $2,160; the pick six returned $87,594.

Feb. 19:A $200 pick-six ticket purchased at Pleasanton was the only winner; it paid $77,254.

Feb. 20:A $24 ticket purchased at Barona Casino near San Diego and a $200 ticket purchased through TVG were the only winners. The pick six returned $65,989.

HANDICAPPING ANGLE

Everyone is talking about it. The Feb. 21 upset by Kathy Walsh-trained Brazilian Charm ($15.60) made it four "Gary Stevens off" winners last week. She joined Saltwater M D (Feb. 19), Wake Me Now (Feb. 19), and Fiona Freud (Feb. 18) as next-out winners after changing barns.

The cynical view is horses underachieved for Stevens, who retired from training to focus on broadcasting. A positive perspective is that Stevens's training set up those four to fire for new stables. Former Stevens-trained horses nearing a start include Higher Incentive, who is a $25,000 claiming mare, and Outlaw Leader, a maiden now stabled at Turf Paradise.

DIVISION RANKINGS

Santa Anita Derby

1. Caracortado, 2. Lookin At Lucky, 3. Dave in Dixie, 4. Blind Luck, 5. Nextdoorneighbor, 6. Setsuko, 7. Make Music for Me, 8. Sidney's Candy, 9. American Lion, 10. Connemara.

Lookin At Lucky could leave town for his 3-year-old debut. Trainer Bob Baffert told Daily Racing Form earlier this week he is considering the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 13. The only change to the top-10 Santa Anita Derby list this week is the addition of Grade 3 El Camino Derby winner Connemara. The Grade 3 Sham on Saturday is expected to include No. 5 Nextdoorneighbor and No. 6 Setsuko.

Make Music for Me, who is the most accomplished maiden in the country, is tentatively scheduled for his first start of the season March 6 in the $60,000 Pasadena Stakes at a mile on turf. Make Music for Me finished third in and has $215,000 in graded stakes earnings.

Santa Anita Handicap

1. Misremembered, 2. Loup Breton, 3. St Trinians, 4. Neko Bay, 5. Dakota Phone, 6. Philatelist, 7. Tiger's Rock, 8. Jeranimo, 9. Acclamation, 10. Mast Track

A new shooter has emerged. Top turf horse Loup Breton makes his debut on the Big Cap list at No. 2. Loup Breton won the Grade 2 San Marcos at 1 1/4 miles on turf in his most recent start Jan. 24, and trainer Julio Canani said he will go next in the Big Cap. Now is a good time to try the main track; the division has never been weaker.

The addition of Loup Breton pushed the filly St Trinians down a peg to No. 3. Life Is Sweet drops off the list; she is pointing elsewhere. Pick Six also drops. Mast Track slips back to No. 10.

A FEW NOTABLE WINNERS

Witty returned from a nine-month layoff Feb. 18 and made it 4 for 4 with an easy three-other-than allowance win. Trained by Richard Mandella, she ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.47 and earned a 93 Beyer. Witty won the Grade 2 Railbird at Hollywood Park and will aim for the Grade 3 Las Flores on April 4. She is likely to be favored.

A Jealous Woman ("Most Likely Repeater" on Jan. 16) rolled wire to wire Feb. 19 in a second-level turf allowance. She was fully extended to win at nine furlongs, which probably is beyond her comfort zone. Maybe that is why she paid a fat $6.

Erbeia, trained by Richard Mandella, closed from last and won a one-mile special weight for 3-year-olds Feb. 19. It was not pretty. The first seven finishers were within two lengths at the wire, and the 1:37.05 clocking by Erbeia earned a 79 Beyer.

HORSES TO WATCH

Precious Duke

Trainer: Vladimir Cerin

Last race: Feb. 20, 4th

Finish: 3rd by 1 3/4

An unexpectedly fast pace took its toll, and he weakened late. This was his first start against winners. He fits perfect in a similar maiden-40 starter allowance for 3-year-olds.

Fandino

Trainer: Julio Canani

Last race: Feb. 20, 5th

Finish: 2nd by a neck

Making his first start since being gelded, this 3-year-old maiden ran what should have been a winning race while finishing nearly four lengths clear of third. Looks like a low-odds winner next time out.

In The Slips

Trainer: Jeff Mullins

Last race: Feb. 20, 8th

Finish: 4th by 2 1/2

This good turf filly had trouble as the 6-5 favorite in the China Doll Stakes. Steadied on far turn and blocked into the lane, she finished on her own in an inconclusive effort.

Vision In Gold

Trainer: Ron Ellis

Last race: Feb. 21, 7th

Finish: 5th by 4

This well-regarded filly broke slowly from the rail, rallied wide, and lost her punch in a promising debut. A daughter of Medaglia d'Oro, she can improve second time out.

My Boy Walsh

Trainer: Gary Sherlock

Last race: Feb. 21, 9th

Finish: 12th by 10

This maiden gelding has had nothing but trouble in both starts. Bet to 2-1 favoritism last time out, he broke inward, steadied, and lost all chance. Has ability, but might need a class drop.