Life's Magic was a surprise entry Friday for Sunday's $500,000 Santa Anita Handicap and will try to become the first filly or mare to win the 47-year-old race.
Others in the eight-horse field are Greinton, Lord at War, Beldale Lear, My Habitony, Gate Dancer, Hail Bold King and Ayman.
Wayne Lukas, who trains Life's Magic, had given no indication that he might start the 4-year-old filly in the 1-mile race.
Lukas, however, has never backed off from running fillies against colts. For example:
--He saddled Terlingua to win the Hollywood Juvenile Stakes in 1978.
--He won the Juvenile again in '83 with Althea, who last year became the first filly to win the Arkansas Derby.
--Last year, he became the first trainer to start two fillies in the Kentucky Derby. Life's Magic, who had been fifth against colts in the Santa Anita Derby, finished eighth at Churchill Downs, and Althea was 19th.
The Big 'Cap field, in post-position order, consists of Greinton, carrying 120 pounds with Chris McCarron riding; Lord at War, 125, Bill Shoemaker; Life's Magic, 117, Pat Valenzuela; Beldale Lear, 113, Terry Lipham; My Habitony, 114, Darrell McHargue; Gate Dancer, 125, Laffit Pincay; Hail Bold King, 120, Eddie Delahoussaye; and Ayman, 111, Gary Stevens.
Charlie Whittingham trains Greinton, Lord at War and Hail Bold King and is part owner of Greinton, but the California Horse Racing Board has given Santa Anita permission to run the horses separately for betting purposes.
Life's Magic was a champion 3-year-old filly last year and has career earnings of more than $1.4 million for owner Gene Klein. In her only start this year, Life's Magic was third in the La Canada Stakes Feb. 10.
Shoemaker, who has won the Big 'Cap a record 10 times, has been riding both Greinton and Lord at War. In Lord at War, he gets a mount who has won four straight stakes, the most recent win in the San Antonio Feb. 17.
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Odds 1 Greinton Chris McCarron 120 5-2 2 Lord at War Bill Shoemaker 125 2-1 3 Life's Magic Pat Valenzuela 117 12-1 4 Beldale Lear Terry Lipham 113 15-1 5 My Habitony Darrell McHargue 114 15-1 6 Gate Dancer Laffit Pincay 125 3-1 7 Hail Bold King Eddie Delahoussaye 120 8-1 8 Ayman Gary Stevens 111 15-1