With her win in the Las Virgenes on Feb. 11, Balance demonstrated she is the best 3-year-old filly in the country.
Owned by John and Jerry Amerman and trained by David Hofmans, the daughter of Thunder Gulch will aim for her second Grade I of the year when she takes on Wild Fit and seven others in the $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks this afternoon. The race is part of a pick six with a carry-over of more than $144,000.
A winner of two of four in 2005 -- she lost one victory when disqualified on a bad stewards' decision in the Hidden Light on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita -- Balance began her 3-year-old season with a one-length win over Wild Fit in the one-mile Las Virgenes.
Wild Fit, who won the Del Mar Debutante last year and was second to Folklore in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, made her first start of the year and first for trainer Patrick Biancone in the Las Virgenes. The gray Wild Wonder filly could improve, but she has been second in both her races around two turns.
The Oaks field is completed by Quiet Kim, Cheerily, Horse B With You, Diplomat Lady, who is the likely pacesetter, Sweet Belle, who has won two in a row for trainer Wally Dollase, Karlee's Kitten and I Can See.
Race of the day: Rockport Harbor, who was successful in his 2006 bow in the Essex Handicap on Feb. 11, will try for a second consecutive win at Oaklawn Park in the $150,000 Razorback Breeders' Cup Handicap today. Stewart Elliott will ride the 4-year-old son of Unbridled's Song for Fox Hill Farms and trainer John Servis in the Grade III at 1 1/16 miles.
One for the road: Mascot overcame a horrible start to beat maidens Feb. 20 and steps up after a claim in the 11th race today at Gulfstream Park. Taken for $16,000 by trainer Bob Klesaris for C D and G Stable, the 3-year-old Five Star Day colt returns in a $60,000 claimer at six furlongs. Edgar Prado, aboard for the win, is back on this afternoon.
Exotically speaking: A pick three using Affidavit in the first, Epic Power, Apache Wings and Stratagem in the second and Lake Dayjur and Silver Beach in the third.
Winners: (previous day/meet total): 0/161. Money: (previous day/meet total): $0/$972.60. Total money bet: $946.