How I'll play Santa Anita on Saturday

ARCADIA, Calif. -- Santa Anita will be dry Saturday, the first Saturday card in three weeks to be run under fast and firm conditions. Early fields are small; later races include bigger fields with potential value. The play is a $1 pick three on races 6-8. Two tickets for a total cost of $24.

Race 6

Ward 'N Jerry (1) and Hayabusa One (7) both made Daily Racing Form's "horses to watch" list after solid efforts while racing above their eligibility conditions. Ward 'N Jerry finished third behind a pair of graded stakes winners in the California Cup Turf Classic; Hayabusa One finished fourth in a N3X/classified.

Ward 'N Jerry and Hayabusa One drop to non-winners-twice-other-than; both appear solid.

Race 7

Palmer's Way (11) also made the DRF "horses to watch" list after a promising debut. He broke last, rallied to second, and might have been best. Palmer's Way makes his second start Saturday and is a potential single. One knock is that the horse who beat him, Battle of Midway, returned to misfire as the odds-on favorite in a stakes.

Peter Miller, the meet's leading conditioner, trains Palmer's Way. He also entered the first-time starter Uncle Billy (2). A gelding by win-early stallion Uncle Mo, Uncle Billy was produced by a dam whose nine winners include five who won first time out.

Pioneer Lad (3) finished second in a "live" race from which the winner returned to finish second in a stakes; the third-place finisher won next out. First-time starter Industrialist (5) is a full brother to debut winner/graded stakes winner Collected. Liberty Park (4) adds blinkers for his second start; his full brother Prospect Park improved 23 Beyer Speed Figure points in his second start.

It's a five-deep spread race on the first ticket, recognizing that Palmer's Way could be tough to beat. A second ticket will single Palmer's Way.

Race 8

This first-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles on dirt has upset written all over it. Curlin Road (6) recently was transferred from Steve Knapp to Ron Ellis. Listed at 9-2, Curlin Road is likely to improve for his new trainer. Furthermore, the pace scenario is favorable for his closing style. I'malreadythere (7) also has an off-the-pace style.

The pace of the race is Aldrin (8), who ran super last out, finishing second after setting a fast pace. Prime Attraction (4) was the beaten favorite after he bobbled and lost position. Aldrin and Prime Attraction ensure honest fractions, theoretically setting it up for the closers.

First ticket: $1 pick three = $20
Races 6-8: 1, 7 / 2-5, 11 / 6, 7

Second ticket: $1 pick three = $4
Races 6-8: 1, 7 / 11 / 6, 7