LAUREL -- Last winter at Santa Anita, Criminal Type emerged from obscurity and eventually became the 1990 Horse of the Year.
Wayne Lukas is hoping history repeats itself this year. Farma Way, trained by Lukas, has won four in a row at the Arcadia, Calif., track, and he's the 2-1 favorite for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap tomorrow.
The 'Big Cap, as it is commonly known, is the second event of the 10-race American Championship Racing Series. It will be simulcast to 61 outlets, including Laurel Race Course and Pimlico intertrack.
"Farma Way is a little more genuine," Lukas said during a telephone conference yesterday. "Criminal Type was a head case. Farma Way can put a horse away a lot quicker than Criminal Type."
Farma Way is one of 11 older horses in the 1 1/4 -mile race. Quiet American, the more well-regarded half of an entry trained by Charlie Whittingham, is the 3-1 second choice.
Farma Way is 4-for-4 on the Santa Anita main track since returning from a seven-month layoff. During his winning streak, he has used the style that Criminal Type used -- he runs with, or just behind, the early leaders, then makes his move in the final turn. Gary Stevens, who has ridden Farma Way during the torrid streak, rides him again.
One of Criminal Type's major victories last year was the Pimlico Special, which is the fourth race on the ACRS schedule. The $750,000 race will be run May 11 at Pimlico.
In post position order, the Santa Anita Handicap field: Secret Hello, In Excess, Farma Way, Flying Continental, Anshan, Pleasant Tap, My Boy Adam, Festin, Louis Cyphre, Quiet American and Defensive Play.
The Big 'Cap will be the last of 12 races at Laurel tomorrow. Post time is approximately 5:43 p.m. The race can be seen live on ABC (chs. 7, 13).
NOTES: First-race post has been changed for the remainder of the Laurel meeting and will carry over to Pimlico's opening Thursday. Weekday post time is 1 p.m., and weekend and holiday programs begin at 12:30. . . . Owner Victor DiVivo has taken Colonel Hill from Howard Wolfedale and shipped him to Leroy Jolley's New York base. The 3-year-old colt finished second in last Saturday's Private Terms Stakes. . . . Star Touch, winner of last month's General George Stakes, also has changed homes. He has left Eddie Gaudet and moved to Florida with John Parisella. . . . Dave Rodman, the new announcer at Laurel and Pimlico, arrived from Louisiana on Wednesday night. Rodman will call several races this weekend, then assume full-time duties Tuesday. . . . Forry Cow How, winner of the Star de Naskra Stakes earlier this year, has been turned out for a rest, said trainer Ron Cartwright. . . . Wide Country and unbeaten Silver Tango head an eight-filly field in tomorrow's $50,000-added Genuine Risk Stakes. . . . The $200,000 Bonnie Miss Stakes will be simulcast Sunday from Gulfstream Park. . . . Edgar Prado has been fined $100 for being the aggressor in an altercation with fellow jockey Greg Hutton on Tuesday.