09/29/2008 12:00AM

Turf prep looks key in pick six


ARCADIA, Calif. - For the stakes-caliber 3-year-olds Moral Compass and Nownownow, a one-mile turf allowance Wednesday at Santa Anita is a prep race for the Grade 2 Oak Tree Derby on Oct. 25.

But the significance of the race 7 feature is far greater for bettors chasing a $138,411 carryover in the pick six. The $2 bet covers races 3-8; a $1 Super High Five carryover of $73,640 is up for grabs in race 8.

Moral Compass had bad luck at Del Mar in the turf series for 3-year-olds. He was buried in traffic July 16 in the Oceanside Stakes and lost by a nose, after which trainer Jack Carava was tempted to skip the La Jolla Handicap on Aug. 9 and wait for the Del Mar Derby on Aug. 31.

"The derby looked like it was coming up tough, so I took the high road and picked the easiest spot," Carava said.

The La Jolla turned out to be more difficult than expected. Moral Compass was banged around on the first turn, lost position, and finished one-paced for sixth.

In hindsight, Carava said, "I really should have skipped the La Jolla." He decided to regroup with Moral Compass and return in an allowance to prep for the Oak Tree Derby.

Carava said Moral Compass is "ready to run his 'A' race." He will need it against Nownownow, the 2007 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner; the likely favorite Prince Rexy, a sharp winner of his U.S. debut; and front-runner Global Heat. The turf rails are up at 24 feet, and because there is little speed, Global Heat could wire the field.

John Sadler does not have a feature-race starter, but he is a major player in the pick six with live contenders in races 3, 5, and 6. In race 3, Sadler starts Warren's Lady Slew. The 2-year-old filly drops from a statebred stakes into a maiden-40 starter at six furlongs. On paper, she is the most probable winner of the day and a potential pick-six single.

Sadler starts comebacker Simply Run in race 5, a turf sprint for $40,000 claiming fillies and mares. In race 6, a first-level sprint for fillies and mares, the Sadler-trained She Floats faces statebred allowance winner Quisisana and sharp maiden winner Lemon Supreme.

Race 8 is a $25,000 maiden-claiming sprint; class dropper Midnight Corredor will try to hold off Orientation Hall at six furlongs.