08/31/2006 11:00PM

Spa Stakes play for Friday


Friday's featured With Anticipation Stakes, like Wednesday's P.G. Johnson, is a race that probably should be whacked from the stakes schedule. Two-year-old grass horses really don't merit a stakes race this early in the season, as you can readily see from the past performances for these races. Today's field has five horses who have won once and three maidens, including a first-time starter. These horses should be running in maiden or N1x allowance races, not phony stakes.

But pick and play we must, and there might actually be a horse worth betting on: Giant Chieftain, a maiden who shouldn't be a maiden. In his debut Aug. 13, the $950k Giant's Causeway colt ran like a wild horse in spots and should have been a daylight winner, but took a right turn in the stretch and nearly bolted while veering out sharply. He has worked since, adds blinkers, and if he behaves he can win against this uninspiring field.

I'll key him in trifectas because I think there's a chance we can get 5-2 morning-line favorite Pickapocket off the board. He got loose posting a top-fig victory last time out, comes back quickly, and may face pace pressure from Kon Krete Kid today. I'll also take two shots in the late double, to Dove Wing and Sarah Sunshine in the finale.

For each $140:

Race 8, $2 tri partwheel: 7/1,4,5,6/all= $56

Race 8, $1 tri partwheel: 1,4,5,6/7/all= $28

Race 8, $1 tri partwheel: 1,4,5,6/all/7= $28

Race 8, $14 late double: 7/9,10= $28