12/27/2007 12:00AM

Unspoken Word fits on breeding, form, and especially odds

EmailLOUISVILLE, Ky. - There is a widely accepted handicapping theory never to back a short-priced horse trying new conditions, such as racing on turf or at a route for the first time.

When the horse is a price, however, that is an entirely different story. In these cases, the horse offers the potential reward to offset the risk of its inexperience.

Unspoken Word fits the latter profile in Saturday's Grade 1 La Brea at Santa Anita. Predominantly a turf horse to this point in her career, she has no experience racing over Santa Anita's synthetic Cushion Track surface, or any synthetic surface, for that matter.

That is precisely the reason to bet her. That inexperience will likely send the betting public looking elsewhere, creating a rewarding price on Unspoken Word in the 14-horse La Brea, probably odds of 10-1 or more.

Her pedigree suggests she should maintain her sharp form, if not move forward, over the synthetic footing. She is a daughter of Catienus, whose offspring have consistently performed well over synthetic surfaces.

According the latest Bloodstock Research statistics, 40 percent of Catienus horses racing over synthetic tracks have won over such surfaces. That may not seem like an awe-inspiring percentage, but keep in mind the average is 28 percent.

To put it in perspective, 31 percent of the runners sired by Smart Strike, the leading stud in North America, have won on a synthetic surface.

Other statistical measurements point to Unspoken Word taking to Cushion Track. Thorograph lists offspring of Catienus as having superior figures and win percentages on synthetic surfaces.

Additionally, the dam has already produced a winner on a synthetic surface. Temperature Rising, a full sister to Unspoken Word, recorded her lone win over Turfway's Polytrack surface.

Looking past pedigree, there are other appealing aspects to Unspoken Word, not the least of which is her class and consistency. Never worse than fourth in her career, she comes off three straight top-two finishes in stakes races, efforts that earned her Beyer Speed Figures ranging from 89 to 91. Those numbers, while not eye-popping, match up with those of many other entrants in the field.

The seven-furlong distance of the La Brea also looks like her best trip. She won the Wild Applause Stakes at Belmont Park in September at seven furlongs on turf.

Unspoken Word is by no means a standout. The La Brea is a wide-open race, and a case could be made for probably half the field. But based on form and pedigree, she looms an attractive price play.

Santa Anita: Eddie Logan Stakes

A race earlier Saturday at Santa Anita, 2-year-old colts and geldings compete in the one-mile Eddie Logan Stakes on turf.

With most of the entrants having run relatively modest Beyers in the 70s, this race appears ripe to be won by a European invader, Ghetto.

A winner of 1 of 6 starts in Britain, he has shown significant improvement in his Racing Post ratings recently going a mile, posting figures of 94 and 95 in his last two starts.

Following a second in the Houghton Condition Stakes at Newmarket, he went through the Tattersalls autumn horses in training sale, where he sold for 145,000 pounds, or approximately $290,000.

Without a hint of black type in his first or second dam, a sales price of $290,000 is big money - cash that suggests this one's looks and form were highly fancied.

That appraisal is enough to win me over in the Eddie Logan, particularly considering that he is moving into the high-percentage barn of trainer Craig Dollase and adding Lasix for the first time.

Fair Grounds: Furl Sail Handicap

Turning to New Orleans and the Furl Sail Handicap, the handicapping picture is clouded by unsettled weather. Thundershowers were forecast for Friday, which could jeopardize the chances of the Saturday's Furl Sail staying on the turf.

Whether it stays on turf or not, Autobahn Girl looks dangerous at a price. A 3-year-old daughter of A. P. Indy out of Canadian champion Saoirse, she has won stakes on both turf and dirt.

Although she won the Pago Hop in her last start Nov. 24, my guess is that bettors are likely to support older, more experienced runners and will largely dismiss her. Saturday marks her first time facing her elders.

I have always liked playing improving 3-year-old fillies against older females at this time of year, and Autobahn Girl fits that mold. She won't be the 29-1 odds she was in winning the Pago Hop, but her price should again be potentially rewarding, likely around 15-1.