02/02/2010 1:00AM

Small field plays big role in pick six


ARCADIA, Calif. - Pick-six bettors chasing a $126,946 carryover Wednesday at Santa Anita face a dilemma in race 7 when the unseasoned 3-year-old colt Distorted Dave jumps up to meet winners while stretching to two turns in just his second career start.

"It's definitely tough to do," trainer John Sadler said.

The good news for Distorted Dave is only four others entered the first-condition allowance, a 1 1/16-mile race with limited relevance to the 3-year-old picture but major implications for pick-six bettors.

Officials expect the total pick-six pool Wednesday to exceed $700,000, and though race 7 has the smallest field in the sequence (races 3-8), none of the five starters is particularly appealing in terms of a potential single.

Bob Baffert trains Indian Firewater and The Program, allowance-caliber colts whose development has stalled. A pair of imports from England will make their first U.S. starts - Sadler-trained Get a Grip and Simon Callaghan-trained Jairzihno.

If the field does produce a stakes runner, Distorted Dave is the most likely. The son of Distorted Humor won his debut Jan. 2 at 5 1/2 furlongs.

"We didn't think he'd win short," Sadler said. "I do think he will run long no problem."

Distorted Dave is the first foal out of Crazy Ensign, a Group 1 winner in Argentina and a multiple stakes winner in California up to 1 3/8 miles. If Sadler is right, and Distorted Dave takes after his dam, two turns should be no problem. The issue is inexperience.

"We're kind of skipping a step getting him stretched out," Sadler said. "But he didn't run really fast going short, and if I kept going short with him, I could be in with some real burners."

Distorted Dave earned an ordinary 74 Beyer Speed Figure first out, with an off-the-pace style that hints he will run long.

"He came from off the pace; he's not a puller," Sadler said. "We've trained him to run long. He went 1:12 [Jan. 27] and was out a mile in 38-and-change."

Tyler Baze rides Distored Dave.

Get a Grip won 1 of 2 in England and has not been lighting up the track in workouts.

"They told me he's not a huge work horse," Sadler said.

While the race 7 feature is open, pick-six bettors can reduce ticket size and consider singling either race 6 starter Acute Velocity or race 8 starter Veecu.