01/27/2009 12:00AM

Danny Q gets important two-turn audition


ARCADIA, Calif. - The first six races of Danny Q's career have given trainer Ted H. West one clear impression.

"He acts like a horse that wants two turns," West said.

Danny Q lost two stakes at 1 1/16 miles last fall, but West is expecting a different result when the colt tries 1 1/16 miles for the first time since November in an optional claimer for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita on Thursday.

At stake is the direction of Danny Q's career over the next few months. If he runs well Thursday, West can justify a start in a prep for the Santa Anita Derby on April 4.

"He's a slow learner, kind of a rambunctious horse, and we hope he can put it all together," West said.

A winner of 1 of 6 starts, Danny Q beat maidens in his debut going 6?1/2 furlongs at Fairplex Park on Sept. 6. That race was around two turns over Fairplex Park's tiny five-eighths-mile track, but West is not considering that in his argument.

Last fall at 1 1/16 miles, Danny Q finished sixth in the California Cup Juvenile and fourth in the Real Quiet Stakes. His last two starts have been in one-turn sprints, including a fast-closing fourth in the California Breeders' Champion Stakes at seven furlongs here on Dec. 26.

"He got outrun early and made a late run," West said. "It was too short for him."

Danny Q is likely to be near the front in Thursday's race. He yields an advantage to nearly all of his rivals in the field of nine. Seven of them have won races around two turns at a mile or farther.

Active Duty won the Coronation Futurity for Ontario-breds at 1 1/16 miles as a maiden at Woodbine on Nov. 16, his fifth and most recent start. Hi Flyin Indy, High Geronimo, and Unbridled Story won maiden races in their last starts.

Unbridled Story may lead throughout. He beat statebred maidens in a one-mile maiden race here on Jan. 4, fighting for the lead before winning by a half-length.

Hi Flyin Indy, a $725,000 yearling purchase at Keeneland in September 2007, won a maiden race at 1 1/16 miles in his third career start on Jan. 8. Trained by Eoin Harty, Hi Flyin Indy closed from sixth in a field of seven to win by a length.