01/29/2007 12:00AM

Sunshine Millions Distaff preview


Race 3 - Santa Anita
1 1/16 Miles
Sunshine Millions Distaff
4-year-olds and upward, fillies and mares (bred in California or Florida)
Purse $500,000.

Grade 1 winner TAKE D' TOUR really picked up her game in her last two races at Calder, and her win in the Grade 3 Stage Door Betty Handicap on December 30 was very, very impressive. She isn't a need-the-lead type, and has developed a great low action where she's reaching out for ground. She may find a good spot just off the pace in the Distaff, and should be prominent when the field turns for home.
FRIEL'S FOR REAL was purchased for $550,000 by Overbrook Farm at the November Keeneland sale, and she'll make her first start for the Pletcher/McCarthy outfit here. She's put up a couple of triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures in her career, loves this distance, and should get some pace to attack. Don't count her out. SOMETHINABOUTLAURA must overcome a terrible post position, but the Cal Cup Matron winner has the home field advantage over her main competition, and she exits a sneaky-good effort in the Kalookan Queen Handicap. She was forced to go after loose-on-the-lead Indian Flare on the turn that day, kept on gamely to the wire, and galloped out past the winner. Somethinaboutlaura was flattered when third-finisher River Savage returned to win the Paseana Handicap with a 91 Beyer Speed Figure, and she has enough speed to avoid being hung out too wide going into the first turn. JOINT EFFORT has a record of 9-4-5-0 record at Churchill Downs, and a 8-1-0-1 record over other surfaces. She was coming back at the end of the Grade 2 Falls City Handicap in her final start of 2006, but has an annoying habit of changing back to her wrong racing lead in the heat of battle. A multiple Grade 3 winner, she fits in this spot from a class perspective.
DANCING GENERAL got a great prep in her last race - her first following a year + layoff - and she rallied against the grain of a speed-favoring track to boot. She'll appreciate stretching out in distance, and may work out a great pace-tracking, ground-saving trip from her rail draw.

1. Take D' Tour
2. Friel's For Real
3. Somethinaboutlaura