A single and a longshot for Santa Anita's $376,573 mandatory-payout Pick 6
The Pick 6 gets underway in Race 5 at 5 p.m. ET. After analyzing the entries, we’ve identified a live longshot and a solid single worth building tickets around:
Live longshot: Race 5: #13 Rhythem On Stage (8-1)
A six-furlong turf maiden special weight for California-bred juveniles kicks off the Pick 6, and the race appears ripe for an upset. The John Sadler trainees #2 Moon Ice (7-2) and #1 Workday (4-1) are favored after respectively starting their careers with a sixth-place finish in the I’m Smokin S. and a third-place effort in a maiden special weight. But neither has run on turf, and their pedigrees aren’t overly geared toward success on grass.
That’s why Rhythem On Stage has the appearance of a live longshot. The Carla Gaines trainee didn’t get the best trip in his debut against non-state-restricted maiden special weight company at Del Mar, ultimately finishing ninth in the one-mile turf test.
But even in defeat, Rhythem On Stage earned a 68 Brisnet Speed rating that stacks up well against Sunday’s field. Cutting back in distance and dropping into the state-bred ranks may trigger an improved performance, and it’s worth noting that Gaines wins at a solid 16% rate with second-time starters, significantly higher than her 5% strike rate with first-time starters since 2019. The door is open for Rhythem On Stage to produce a winning run at enticing odds.
Best single: Race 9: #2 Lane Way (9-5)
Lane Way has been a formidable competitor since cutting back to sprint distances for trainer Richard Mandella. The five-year-old gelding exits troubled runner-up finishes in the Green Flash H. (G3) and Eddie D (G2) on the California circuit.
The Eddie D took place sprinting about 6 1/2 furlongs over Santa Anita’s downhill turf course, and Lane Way will stick to the same configuration while dropping in class for this $80,000 allowance optional claimer. It’s encouraging to note Lane Way will be guided by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who counts victories in the 2012 and 2013 editions of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) among his victories over the downhill turf course.
Lane Way is squaring off against some capable rivals, but if he gets a clean trip while dropping in class, he can visit the winner’s circle as a logical single.