04/01/2004 12:00AM

Two jackpots, one key race Santa Anita Derby in pick 6, Magna 5


ARCADIA, Calif. - Finding the winner of the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby will bring bettors closer to conquering two lucrative jackpot bets on Saturday.

The seven-runner Santa Anita Derby is the eighth race on an 11-race program at Santa Anita. The pick six covers the sixth through 11th races and is guaranteed to have a pool of $1 million.

The Santa Anita Derby is the final leg of the $2 Magna 5, which requires bettors to pick the winner of five races run throughout the country.

The Magna 5 bet starts with a race from Laurel and moves on to Hawthorne, Gulfstream Park, and Golden Gate Fields. The pool for that bet is guaranteed at $500,000.

Both bets were offered on the same day for the first time on March 6, the day of the Santa Anita Handicap, and were well supported. The pick-six pool reached $1,167,148 and paid $14,821. The Magna 5 paid $4,657.60 from a record pool of $615,046.

Saturday's Santa Anita pick six is especially tricky. The bet includes four turf races and two stakes.

The first leg is a hillside turf sprint for $40,000 claimers, with a wide-open field of 12. Carla Rose, second by a half-length at this level on March 7, will be well backed.

The second leg is an allowance race over a mile on turf that drew nine entrants. Royal Price, third in his only start of the meeting on Jan. 17, may go favored.

Wimbledon is the 5-2 morning-line favorite for the Santa Anita Derby, but bettors will also be attracted to the stakes winners Imperialism and St Averil and the unbeaten Rock Hard Ten, who is making his stakes debut.

The fourth leg is the ninth race, run at a mile on turf. The race oversubscribed with 13 entrants and will be limited to 12 starters. The speedy Beautiful Balance is a threat from the rail, but he must contend with Rock Opera, who takes a big drop in class, and expected favorite Doc Holiday, who was not helped by drawing post 10.

If there is a single in the pick six, it may be Dynever in the San Bernardino Handicap. He is making his first start since finishing third in the Breeders' Cup Classic here last October.

The last race is for maiden 3-year-old fillies on the hillside turf course. Kiss'n Dyna is a top contender. She was third in a similar race on March 13 after a troubled start.

Stage Shy maintains perfect U.S. record

Stage Shy, a maiden winner in Europe last year, remained unbeaten in the United States after winning her second consecutive allowance race on Wednesday.

Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Stage Shy scored by four lengths, running 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:47.11. Fourth early, Stage Shy rallied wide on the final turn to reach the front in early stretch. Esmay finished second, with favored Mer de Corail fourth.

Stage Shy is owned by Robert Sangster and trained by Neil Drysdale. She was seventh in two stakes in England last summer before joining Drysdale's barn.

Desormeaux said he has been a fan of Stage Shy since he began working the 4-year-old filly. He said Stage Shy reminds him of Fiji, the champion turf female of 1998 who was trained by Drysdale and ridden by Desormeaux.

"I think she could be my Fiji replacement, but she's got a long way to go to replace that other filly," Desormeaux said. "The competition will get a lot greater."

Stage Shy is a full sister to Geri, a millionaire whose stakes wins included the 1996 Oaklawn Handicap and the 1997 Woodbine Mile.

Action This Day turns in mile workout

Action This Day, the champion 2-year-old male of 2003, worked a mile in 1:43 on Thursday.

Action This Day finished seventh in the San Felipe Stakes on March 17, emerging with a cut on his right hind leg that needed stitches. Action This Day is being pointed for the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 10.

Action This Day is winless in two starts since the Breeders' Cup Juvenile here last October, a victory that clinched his championship. In that race, he rallied from last to win by 2 1/4 lengths.

Thursday's workout was not designed to be quick, trainer Richard Mandella said.

"He purposely went slow because I'm trying to get him to return to the style he showed in winning the Juvenile," Mandella said. "He went the last quarter in 23 and change."

Candy Ride moves closer to comeback

Candy Ride, a top handicap horse of 2003 who is unbeaten in six starts, continues to make progress toward a comeback.

Thursday, Candy Ride breezed five furlongs in 1:01.40, the second time he has worked that distance.

"Some horse was in front of him and he blew by 'em," trainer Ron McAnally said.

Candy Ride has not started since winning the Pacific Classic at Del Mar last August. He began his career in Argentina, where he won three races.

Since being acquired by Sid and Jenny Craig and shipped to McAnally, Candy Ride has won three races in the United States, including an allowance race and the American Handicap on turf at Hollywood Park last summer.

McAnally said that Candy Ride is likely to be ready for a comeback by the "end of April and the first of May" at Hollywood Park. "We've got to get him ready first," McAnally said.

Sweet Return headed for Derby undercard

Sweet Return, the winner of three consecutive stakes in California since late November, will make his next start in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on May 1.

Trained by McAnally, Sweet Return's win streak includes the Hollywood Derby, the San Marcos Stakes, and the March 6 Frank Kilroe Mile. The races ranged in distance from a mile to 1 1/4 miles. The Woodford Reserve is run at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Solis hurts his foot, gives up a mount

Jockey Alex Solis took off his final mount on Thursday's card after suffering a minor foot injury in the second race.

Solis said he banged his foot on the gate when Flaming Moe ducked in at the start. Flaming Moe rallied from last to finish second to Bilo.

"I'm going to put some ice on it before it gets worse," he said.

Through Wednesday, Solis was second in the standings to Victor Espinoza, trailing 69-68. Saturday, Solis rides Halfbridled in the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland.