Although today's seventh race at Santa Anita carries only a $70,000 purse, the one-mile turf event is like a graded stakes.
The allowance contest, the fifth leg of a pick six that has a carryover of $100,375.40, has attracted Shibboleth, a classy 5-year-old son of Danzig making his American debut for trainer Bobby Frankel, and will mark the comeback of Ladies Din, a multiple-stakes winner for owners Bernie Schiappa and Terry Lanni and trainer Julio Canani.
Owned and bred by Juddmonte Farms, Shibboleth won four of seven in England and will be running for the first time since finishing fifth in the Group I July Cup at Newmarket on July 12, 2001.
Trained overseas by Henry Cecil, the bay horse was a Group III winner at Newmarket and was good enough to finish fourth, beaten by 11/4 lengths by the brilliant Giant's Causeway in a Group I at Ascot in the spring of 2000.
Shibboleth is the 3-1 favorite on Jeff Tufts' morning line; Ladies Din, a 7-year-old Din's Dancer gelding, is the 7-2 second choice.
This will be the first race for Ladies Din since he was 11th of 15 in the Dubai Duty Free a year ago. Seven others entered the race Wednesday morning, but three scratches are possible this morning.
Race of the day: Although it drew only five runners, today's second is a better-than-average conclusion to the early daily double. Impressive Grades, who has never been worse than third in seven races at Santa Anita, and Radiata, who has three victories and two seconds in five starts for Eduardo Inda, head the lineup going seven furlongs.
Who's hot: Paul Jones. The trainer recently moved into second place on the all-time quarter horse wins list at Los Alamitos. Entering Thursday evening's races, Jones had 1,092 victories. Blane Schvaneveldt is the leader with 3,574.
Who's not: William Cox. The trainer is one for 41 at Golden Gate Fields.
Exotically speaking: A pick three singling Flying Marvyl in the sixth, using Shibboleth, Ladies Din and Climate in the seventh and using Nor'easter and Highland Dawn in the eighth.
Winners: Previous day/meet total: 3/175. Money: Previous day/meet total: $20.80/$1,031.40. Total money bet: $1,062.