10/20/2009 12:00AM

Itsnotjustagame dropping from Grade 2


ARCADIA, Calif. - Itsnotjustagame failed to impress in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap in August, finishing eighth in his graded stakes debut.

For trainer Jim Kasparoff, starting Itsnotjustagame in a big race was worth the risk and could help him in an optional claimer over 1 1/2 miles on turf at Santa Anita on Wednesday.

"We got him some experience at a higher level," Kasparoff said. "He came out of the Del Mar Handicap in good order. I wanted to run there because I figured I wouldn't get a race [at Santa Anita] for some time. We didn't have much to lose."

A 4-year-old gelding, Itsnotjustagame made three starts at Del Mar, finishing second by a nose to Quarter Moon in an optional claimer over 1 3/8 miles on turf July 23 and returning to win a similar race Aug. 12.

Wednesday's race will be Itsnotjustagame's first start over 1 1/2 miles on turf, a distance Kasparoff said doesn't concern him. He described Itsnotjustagame's condition as "awesome."

"He's doing super," Kasparoff said on Sunday. "We're taking the blinkers off. He's fresh, and I want him to be more relaxed. I don't think that will make much of a difference.

"I don't see a problem with the mile and a half," he said. "He's done a little better when he goes a little longer. I'm looking forward to stretching him out. He doesn't want to run a mile and an eighth."

Itsnotjustagame is part of a field of eight, which includes Obrigado, the winner of the Grade 3 Round Table Handicap at Hollywood Park in June; Quarter Moon, who won twice at Del Mar; and High Court Drama and History Boy, who are European imports.

"Other than Obrigado, I think I sit well," Kasparoff said, assessing the opposition.

Obrigado is entered for an $80,000 claiming price in his first start since finishing sixth in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap.

Quarter Moon made four starts at Del Mar, winning an optional claimer over 1 1/8 miles on turf Sept. 6. He has lost his last two starts, including a last-place finish in a field of eight in the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Turf Championship on Oct. 11. Trained by Mel Stute, Quarter Moon is entered for an $80,000 claiming price.

History Boy is the more attractive of the Europeans, with a recent second in an allowance race in France.