04/05/2011 12:47PM

Santa Anita: Class drop, longer distance should help Times Gone By

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ARCADIA, Calif. – Times Gone By has been second and fourth in two one-mile turf races at Santa Anita this year, leaving trainer Richard Mandella alternating between a state of delight and confusion.

After finishing second in an optional claimer on Feb. 10, his first start since last May, Times Gone By was fourth as a 34-1 outsider in the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile on March 5.

“I thought he’d run like he did the first time,” Mandella said of the Kilroe. “I was a little disappointed.”

There are expectations for a victory when Times Gone By starts in a second-level allowance race over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Santa Anita on Thursday. The distance is a better fit, Mandella said, and even though the race has drawn a strong field, it is easier than the Kilroe.

“I think a mile and an eighth or farther would be his thing,” Mandella said.

Owned by Spendthrift Farms, Times Gone By is part of a field of seven, all of whom have run in stakes in recent starts with various levels of success.

Do It All was third in the Grade 2 San Fernando Stakes in January, while Imponente Purse ran third in the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes in March. Bogie was second in the Grade 3 Will Rogers Stakes at Hollywood Park last June. Tiz Argent was fifth in the California Cup Mile last October.

Itsnotjustagame, finished eighth in the 2009 Del Mar Handicap, and makes his first start on Thursday since October 2009. Sebastian Flyte was second in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby last fall and sixth in the Kilroe Mile last month.

Sebastian Flyte finished 3 1/4 lengths behind Kilroe Mile winner Fluke. Similar to Mandella, trainer Ben Cecil said he thinks Sebastian Flyte will be better in a longer race. Tuesday, Cecil expressed concern about the quality of the allowance race field and the temporary rail setting 24 feet from the inside of the turf course, a position that tends to favor horses that run closer to the lead.

“I think the extra furlong will help,” he said. “I wish the race was easier and the rails were at normal position.”

Later in the program, Tiz a Bud Girl is likely to be favored in a $56,000 allowance race for statebred females on the hillside turf course. She was second in a similar race in January.