12/17/2010 12:16PM

Quarter Given looks to fire fresh for new connections

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This has been a good year for Clark Hanna, and it might even get a little bit better Sunday. Hanna will be saddling the newly acquired Quarter Given in the feature race at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, and the colt looks as if he could win straight off the bench, assuming the $47,000, first-level allowance remains on the turf.

“We’ll scratch him if it rains and they take it off the grass,” Hanna said.

Quarter Given is scheduled to have Jimmy Graham aboard when breaking from post 2 as part of an overflow field in the ninth of 10 Sunday races, which is scheduled for about one mile. In six races for trainer Richard Mandella and his breeder and former owner, Clovelly Farms, Quarter Given won once while also finishing second on four occasions. His last start came Feb. 26 at Santa Anita.

On behalf of client Don Benge of Waxahachie, Texas, Hanna purchased Quarter Given privately in September at Churchill Downs, where the colt was training with Steve Penrod.

“We had him in a race at the end of the Churchill meet, but the race came off the turf, so we scratched,” said Hanna, 42. “I really like the way he’s training.”

Hanna, whose stable has earned $533,630 in 2010, easily his career high, started the year at Fair Grounds with a fringe prospect for the 3-year-old classics in Maximus Ruler, also owned by Benge. But the colt was injured after finishing second as the favorite in the Lecomte in January. He ran once this summer, performing poorly, and once again went to the sidelines.

“He’s going to have his first work back between Christmas and New Year’s and hopefully be ready to run by the end of January,” Hanna said.

Twelve other 3-year-olds and up, including one also-eligible, are entered against Quarter Given, with Musicstreet Menace and Carson Connection ranking among the top threats after finishing second and third, respectively, in a similar spot opening weekend.

One other allowance (race 6) is scheduled for Sunday, when first post is 12:40 p.m. Central. It’s a $41,000, second-level sprint for statebred fillies and mares with a $20,000 claiming option. Gimmealife, back in the Tom Amoss fold, looks like the filly to beat.