Probable favorite, Breeders' Cup Distaff runnerup Surfside drew post No. 6 and will carry highweight of 121 pounds.
"She's all set and in the box," said trainer D. Wayne Lukas Thursday morning. The impeccably bred Surfside is by 1977 Triple Crown champion Seattle Slew out of 1994 champion juvenile filly Flanders. Despite her length and-a-half defeat at the hands of stablemate Spain in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, the Flanders filly has done little wrong in her 13-race career, having won eight times for earnings of $1,824,987. A winner of three graded stakes at Santa Anita last year, including the grade I Santa Anita Oaks, Surfside's only career out-of-the-money finish came against the boys in last year's Santa Anita Derby. Surfside beat males in her last start, the grade II Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs Nov. 24With the prospect of more rain in the forecast for the weekend, Lukas was hopeful that the track comes up dry and fast on Saturday. "I don't think she likes an off track," Lukas said. "But (track superintendent) Steve Wood has had the track in good shape all year and I'm counting on him having it right on Saturday."Incidentally, Surfside has won both of her two off-track starts, both grade I events – the Frizette on a sloppy Belmont track in Oct. 1999 and the Las Virgenes on a muddy track at Santa Anita last February.Regular rider Pat Day will be in from Gulfstream Park to take the reins. Surfside's owner/breeder William T. Young of Overbrook Farm is also expected to be in attendance for the grade I event.
The field for the grade I, $200,000 Santa Monica Handicap, from the rail out with jockeys and weights: Kalookan Queen, Alex Solis, 116; My Wild Rose, Fernando Valenzuela, 110; Theresa's Tizzy, Laffit Pincay Jr., 117; Serenita (Arg), Corey Nakatani, 114; New Heaven (Arg), Chris McCarron, 115; Surfside, Pat Day, 121; Nany's Sweep, Kent Desormeaux, 114; Automated, Omar Berrio, 110; Gourmet Girl, Victor Espinoza, 116, and Hookedonthefeelin, David Flores, 116.