01/22/2007 12:00AM

Stakes secondary to $723K jackpot


ARCADIA, Calif. - A pick six carryover of $723,744 will largely overshadow an intriguing running of the $75,000 Tuzla Handicap at Santa Anita on Wednesday. But finding the winner of that wide-open turf stakes for fillies and mares is vital for bettors seeking pick six glory.

The Tuzla Handicap is the seventh race on an eight-race program that begins at 1 p.m. Pacific. The pick six covers the third through eighth races. Typical of the current Santa Anita winter-spring meeting, field sizes are strong through the pick six races, but quality is not as evident. Three of the races are for maiden claimers.

One of the trickier pick six races is the third race, the first leg. There are 12 entrants in the maiden claimer for fillies and mares over 5o1/2 furlongs. While several runners have shown little ability, The Cat Did It, who drew the outside, is likely to set the pace. She may finally win in her 10th start if the post is not a hindrance.

The fourth race, a claiming race for turf sprinters, will have hillside turf course specialist Red Opal as a favorite. The fifth race drew 14 maiden claimers racing over 6 1/2 furlongs, led by Peace Accord.

There are eight runners in the sixth race, a sprint for female claimers. Antifreezette, a winner of two of her last three starts, will be on many tickets.

The final race of the day is a maiden claimer over 6 1/2 furlongs that has drawn a full field of 14. Highly Gallant, second in his last three starts, returns from a layoff of nearly seven months.

The Tuzla Handicap drew nine entrants, including Singalong, who was third in the Grade 2 Dahlia Handicap at Hollywood Park last month.

A year ago, Singalong was a maiden, but in 2006 she won four races, including a restricted stakes.

For 2007, the goals are higher. Trainer Paddy Gallagher is hopeful that Singalong can be effective in California's tough turf stakes for females. The Tuzla, run over a mile on turf, is her first start of the year.

The race is a prep to the $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap on Feb. 19.

Singalong did not have an ideal trip in the Dahlia. Starting from the outside in a field of 10, she chased a slow pace and made up more than seven lengths to finish 2o1/4 lengths behind Grande Melody.

Victor Espinoza was aboard for that race, and has the mount on Wednesday.

"Victor did a good job of getting over and saving ground," Gallagher said.

Singalong's last win came in the Redondo Beach Handicap over a mile on turf at Hollywood Park last July.

"She won here going a mile and she looks like she tries every time, more than anything," Gallagher said.

There should be sufficient pace in the Tuzla to help Singalong's rally. Strut Your Stuff, who will be a longshot, has speed, as does Maxxi Arte, the winner of the Viejas Casino Handicap at Del Mar last summer.

Movie Star, who may go favored, will be near the front. Second in the 2006 Tuzla, Movie Star won an allowance race over a mile on turf here on Dec. 26. Trained by Bobby Frankel, she won a Group 1 in Brazil in 2005 and a minor stakes at the Meadowlands in September 2005, her first start in the United States.

Trainer Ron McAnally has two starters - Charm the Giant and Dream's, who finished fourth and eighth in the Dahlia Handicap.

Charm the Giant was beaten 3o1/4 lengths in the Dahlia and is seeking her first stakes win in her 11th start. "She hesitated a little bit on the turn and that didn't help her any," McAnally said of the Dahlia. "I don't like her to be on the lead. She needs a target."

Dream's won two allowance races at Del Mar last summer. A winner of 10 of 23 starts, Dream's is winless in three subsequent stakes.