10/28/2011 2:50PM

Santa Anita: Troeger wants Sirocco Strike to relax in sprint


ARCADIA, Calif. – The speed duel between The Factor and Sirocco Strike in the Grade 1 Ancient Title Stakes on Oct. 8 cost both dearly. After a half-mile in 43.80 seconds, they faded to finish a well-beaten fourth and fifth.

While The Factor is part of trainer Bob Baffert’s team for the Breeders’ Cup races at Churchill Downs next weekend, Sirocco Strike will stay in California. He is part of a field of five in an optional claimer over six furlongs at Santa Anita on Sunday.

Sunday’s nine-race program does not feature a stakes, but has two optional claimers. In the eighth race, there are 11 runners in an optional claimer over 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Sirocco Strike is trained by Robert Troeger, who does not want to see the 4-year-old fighting for the lead again.

“I’d like to get him to rate a little bit,” Troeger said. “We didn’t want to be ding-donging with The Factor. In his other good races, he sat back.”

Owned by Truline Racing, Sirocco Strike made his first start for Troeger in the Ancient Title. The colt has won 2 of 9 starts, with both wins coming in six-furlong turf races at Hollywood Park in spring 2010.

Troeger is hopeful that Sirocco Strike can stalk Dance With Gable and Quiet Invader, who have the inside post positions. Dance With Gable has won his last two starts – a $32,000 claimer at Del Mar on Sept. 2 in which he closed from off the pace and an optional claimer in which he was entered for a $40,000 claiming price at Fairplex Park on Sept. 17. In the latter race over six furlongs, Dance With Gable led throughout and was claimed from Ted H. West by Mike Pender.

“When he won for 32 at Del Mar, it solidified for me that he was well worth the 40,” Pender said. “He seems efficient on any surface. He seems to handle it all.

“In his races, he looks really versatile. He showed he could lay off the pace at Del Mar.”

Quiet Invader, trained by Baffert, has not started since finishing third in the Chick Lang Stakes at Pimlico in May 2010. He has won 2 of 6 starts. The field also includes Shrug and Maybe Yes, who were second and third in optional claimers in their last starts.