04/03/2006 11:00PM

Not much speed to test Art Moderne


ARCADIA, Calif. - Not many turf horses can run the final quarter-mile faster than Art Moderne did one month ago - 22.20 seconds.

On the other hand, not many turf horses find themselves as loose on the lead as Art Moderne was that day. Racing one mile, set leisurely fractions (50.29 and 1:14.67) before he turned it on late and missed by a nose in a two-other-than allowance, which mirrors the conditions of the race 7 feature Thursday at Santa Anita.

Eight older horses entered the mile grass race, which will be run over a course that has increasingly played kind to speed. The profile favors Art Moderne, whose runner-up finish last out was flattered when fourth-place finisher Macduff returned to win.

Conversely, a first-level allowance win last month by Quasimodo became less impressive Saturday, when runner-up K C Nite Mayr came back to finish fourth. Quasimodo and Art Moderne enter the seventh race Thursday as leading contenders in a $62,500 optional claiming race that includes dropper Brecon Beacon, comebacker First Rate Event, sprinter Jack's Wild, In Excelis, dirt horse Power Boy, and Big Bold Cat.

Trained by Bobby Frankel, Art Moderne is 2 for 14, but his last race was his best in four U.S. starts. He shook loose, slowed down, smoked late, and finished 1 1/4 lengths clear of third. Art Moderne should get a similar trip Thursday under Patrick Valenzuela.

has raced only five times, and he has won both of his starts since transferring to trainer Julio Canani. A deep closer, Quasimodo won his last start by 2 1/2 lengths, but was helped by the shape of the race. The one-two finishers rallied from last and next-to-last behind a strong pace that is not likely to recur Thursday. Garrett Gomez rides Thursday.

drops from a third-level allowance to race for the $62,500 claiming tag. A 4-year-old trained by Doug O'Neill, Brecon Beacon's form has been static since he finished third in the Grade 2 Oak Tree Derby in his U.S. debut in October, but the class drop could wake him up.

* Brother Derek is not the only 3-year-old California-bred trained by Dan Hendricks. Exchange Offer runs one mile in race 6, a first-level statebred allowance in which he will have to catch One on the House, Mesa Magic, and Victory Style.

In his second career start last month, Exchange Offer finished third by 2 1/4 lengths to Sam's Ace, who returned to finish fourth on Saturday in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.