03/04/2010 12:00AM

St Trinians has her skeptics


ARCADIA, Calif. - Rain is forecast for Saturday, which unfortunately happens to be Santa Anita Handicap day. And the Big Cap notebook is full, with stuff like this . . .

* If the filly St Trinians misfires in the Santa Anita Handicap, would trainer Mike Mitchell wheel her back one week later against Zenyatta? "I don't think I would, but I have wheeled back horses before," he said. "I'm not saying I wouldn't, but I probably would back off and run in the Vanity" in the spring at Hollywood Park.

* In the politically correct arena of broadcast media, it is always refreshing to hear an unfiltered opinion. Track announcer Frank Mirahmadi was co-hosting with Mike Willman on the "Thoroughbred Los Angeles" radio show last weekend when the subject turned to the Santa Anita Handicap and St Trinians. Mirahmadi, who backs his opinions with cash, flatly stated: "I will be taking a stand against her."

* Considering that St Trinians is the 7-2 program favorite, many skeptics also will be wagering against St Trinians. After all, fillies and mares in the Big Cap are 0 for 41. To that, trainer Mitchell rebuts, "The Santa Anita Handicap used to be a much tougher race to win. Ever since Dubai came into the picture, they've taken a lot of our good horses."

* Quiz time: What country produced the most foreign-bred Big Cap winners? The answer is Ireland, with five. The only Irish-bred in the 2010 field is Loup Breton. He also is the only starter this year who has raced strictly on turf.

* This following tidbit is irrelevant and bizarre: In 70 years of the Big Cap, horses breaking from post 1 are 2 for 70. Weird, don't you agree? The 2.8 percent win rate is the lowest of any of the 14 post positions in the

1 1/4-mile race.

* However, this year's starter from the No. 1-post, Pick Six, could fall through the cracks. He is 20-1 on the line, which is high enough. Pick Six finished fourth last time out in the Grade 2 San Antonio, his first start in California. "We just wanted to see how he handled the synthetic surface," trainer Dan Hendricks said. Since then, he said, Pick Six "has woken up in the barn and went to acting like a racehorse again."

Pick Six had another good work Monday, going five furlongs in 1:01.60 and finishing in 35 seconds "like nothing," according to Hendricks. He and jockey Alex Solis are a winning combo, and though Pick Six will be a big price, expectations are so high that Hendricks said, "I feel more pressure for this race than Brother Derek in the Derby."

* With the Grade 3 Sham Stakes in danger of being rained out Saturday for the second straight weekend, one wisecracker in the press box said: "By the time they finally run the Sham, it will be for older horses."

* Sham-Wow! There, I said it. Sorry.

* An allowance victory Wednesday by Thomas Baines (83 Beyer) flattered the form of a Derby candidate who is still under the radar. Thomas Baines finished sixth in the Grade 3 El Camino Derby on Feb. 20 at Golden Gate. His victory Wednesday compliments El Camino winner Connemara, who goes in the Lane's End Stakes on March 27 at Turfway Park. Connemara is not considered a Derby colt yet, but he is getting better.

* Who knows how long his campaign will last, but the fastest sprinter in the country is at Aqueduct and running Saturday in a Grade 3. Wall Street Wonder, a 109 Beyer winner last out, looks tough in the six-furlong Toboggan. Dave Litfin, Daily Racing Form New York handicapper, also picked Wall Street Wonder. Yes, they pick chalk back there, too.

* Handicappers question the quality of bunched-finish races on Santa Anita synthetic for the same reason handicappers question the quality of strung-out finishes on Gulfstream Park. Low-rated races on California synthetic might not be as bad as they look. Runaway wins on Florida dirt might not be as good as they appear. This is not meant to knock Quality Road or Eskendereya, but they have questions to answer outside Gulfstream.

* Wayne Lukas says Dublin is his best Derby colt in years. Believe him? Dublin ran super his first start since a breathing problem was fixed, which puts him on every short list, including DRF's Derby Watch. Jay Privman and Mike Watchmaker have Dublin ranked No. 5, which goes to show that this spring everyone is drinking the Lukas Kool-Aid, and me, too.

* Lukas may have preferred something other than post 10 Saturday, when Wow Wow Wow runs 1 1/16 miles in the Grade 3 Gotham at Aqueduct. It won't matter. Wow Wow Wow now has no other choice but go to the front. Wow Wow Wow, wire to wire.

* Don't throw away those Las Vegas Kentucky Derby future tickets yet. Grade 3 winner Who's Up, offered a couple of months ago at 225-1, worked a half-mile March 2 at Pegasus Training Center in Washington. He works six furlongs next week and will make his 2010 debut in either the Santa Anita Derby on April 3 or Lane's End on March 27. Stay tuned.

* California racing fans sure would have liked to have seen Grade 1 winners Richard's Kid, The Usual Q.T., and Life Is Sweet running at Santa Anita this Saturday and next. Too bad they are off to Dubai. So forgive California fans who consider Dubai an irritating vacuum that sucks the cream from an already tepid West Coast stakes colony.

* The Dubai safari by The Usual Q.T. is odd, considering he bled last out and next runs in a jurisdiction that does not allow anti-bleeding medication Lasix. "You can get away with it once," trainer Jim Cassidy said, referring to "Lasix off." But can you get away with not using Lasix first start after bleeding? Cassidy admits, "That remains to be seen."

* It was an age-old angle that should not have been missed - the only special-weight dropper in a maiden claimer filled with proven losers. Wednesday at Santa Anita, second-start dropper Ava's Charm paid $21.60 in race 1, and there was no valid excuse for missing it. But sometimes I allow work to interfere with my gambling. What an idiot.