03/25/2010 12:00AM

Track favors stretch-out sprinter


ARCADIA, Calif. - Big Man Has a Sign took advantage of a slow pace to win a maiden sprint last month. When he stretches to two turns Friday at Santa Anita, he figures for another easy trip as the favorite in the race-7 feature for 3-year-olds.

Six colts and geldings entered the first-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles, and if Big Man Has a Sign shakes loose early, he could be long gone late under Martin Pedroza. A son of Petionville trained by Julio Canani, Big Man Has a Sign is making his third career start over a Pro-Ride surface that recently has been kind to speed.

Through Wednesday, nine of the last 12 races at 1 1/16 miles were won by a horse setting the pace, or positioned within one length of the lead after the opening half-mile. The profile favors Big Man Has a Sign, the controlling speed Friday, who has sharp works since earning a 85 Beyer Figure in his maiden win Feb. 11.

Indian Firewater and Distorted Dave are the main rivals. Indian Firewater has been stuck at the first condition, finishing in the money five times without winning. Bob Baffert trains Indian Firewater, who is 1 for 8 with 4 seconds. Martin Garcia rides Indian Firewater, runner-up last out behind Santa Anita Derby candidate Thomas Baines.

Distorted Dave is three starts into his career, and gradually getting his act together for trainer John Sadler.

"Last time he stepped forward," Sadler said, referring to a fourth-place finish in which Distorted Dave raced greenly after a good move on the far turn.

Sadler said there will be a late equipment change. Distorted Dave will add small blinkers "because he was spotty" in his last start. Distorted Dave worked in blinkers March 21; his 59.60-second time was the fastest five-furlong work of the day.

"He's just learning," Sadler said. "He can run, and I think he will run well."

Distorted Dave won his debut at 5 1/2 furlongs, regressed second time out while facing winners, then improved last out.

"Sometimes when you win your first out, it doesn't help you," Sadler said.

Joel Rosario rides Distorted Dave.

Time for Atonement improved as a first-time gelding Feb. 14, finishing second in a $62,500 claiming race. Although he is up in class Friday, he has an outside shot under Rafael Bejarano.

Bradio Station and Jairzihno complete the field.