06/28/2013 2:34PM

Hollywood Park: Gladding drops to more comfortable level

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Gladding starts in a second-level optional $62,500 claimer at Betfair Hollywood Park on Sunday, the sort of race that best suits the two-time stakes winner this year. That is the opinion of his trainer Vann Belvoir, who claimed Gladding at Santa Anita in January.

Twice in January, Gladding was claimed for $62,500, first by trainer Mike Mitchell on Jan. 12 and 12 days later by Belvoir. A 6-year-old gelding, Gladding has stayed with Belvoir since that race, making one subsequent start – a fifth behind Liaison in the Santana Mile at Santa Anita on March 31. Liaison later won the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap at Hollywood Park in May and is a candidate for the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup next Saturday.

In Sunday’s race at 6 1/2 furlongs, Gladding is eligible to be claimed for $62,500.

“I think he might be a notch below the Liaisons,” Belvoir said. “The $62,500 claim is about the only condition he’s eligible for.”

Gladding has won 4 of 21 starts and $267,840. He won the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita in 2011 and the Alamedan Handicap at Pleasanton in July 2012, but is winless in four subsequent starts.

Sunday’s race will be Gladding’s first start in a sprint since a second in an optional claimer at Santa Anita in January, the race in which he was claimed by Mitchell. Gary Stevens rides Gladding on Sunday. Belvoir is encouraged by Gladding’s post position on the outside of the field, which will allow the gelding to stalk expected pacesetters American Act and So Brilliant.

“Dropping back to 6 1/2, we do have a good position,” Belvoir said. “Gary can see what unfolds.”

Gladding is the most accomplished runner in the optional claimer, although American Act, Bank the Eight, and So Brilliant are stakes winners.

Doyouseemecoming and High Test won allowance races at this meeting in May in their first starts since last September.

High Test closed from last in a field of nine to win a six-furlong race on May 4. Doyouseemecoming closed from third in a field of 11 to win a race at 6 1/2 furlongs on May 27. Trained by John Sadler, Doyouseemecoming has won 2 of 8 starts.

“He came off the layoff with a really good race,” Sadler said. “He’ll be tough in there.”