01/18/2005 12:00AM

Sinister G lands better spot


ARCADIA, Calif. - The blunt answer from trainer Jeff Mullins best stated why he and the partners that own Sinister G opted for a $56,000 optional claimer Thursday instead of the $200,000 San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes last weekend at Santa Anita.

"The other race had too much speed," Mullins said. "It would have been stupid to start in there."

So, the front-running Sinister G has stayed in the barn five more days, awaiting Thursday's race over 6 1/2 furlongs.

The race marks the California debut of Sinister G, who is best known for winning the Grade 2 Lane's End Stakes at Turfway Park last March, a key prep to the Kentucky Derby.

did not sustain that form, however, finishing 10th in the Wood Memorial in April, eighth in the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park in May, and sixth in the minor Floor Show Stakes at Delaware Park in June, his most recent start.

Sinister G joined Mullins's barn last fall. The recent wet weather did not cause problems for the colt's training, according to Mullins. "We didn't have any interruptions."

Sinister G has shown speed in sprints and routes throughout his career, but could find himself in company if the same tactics are employed Thursday.

Among the speed horses in the field are Rojo Toro, who finished second in the Grade 1 Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Handicap last July at Hollywood Park, and Slew of the Night, who finished fourth in a seven-furlong optional claimer at Hollywood Park last month after fighting for the early lead.

has been a disappointment the last two years, failing to win since the Grade 2 San Rafael Stakes in March 2003, a span of eight races.

Sinister G won't have it any easier if jockey Mark Guidry decides to join stalkers such as Iron Halo and Hasty Kris.

Iron Halo has not started since finishing seventh in the Triple Bend. Trained by Eric Kruljac, Iron Halo had two wins last year - the Phoenix Gold Cup Handicap at Turf Paradise and a six-furlong allowance race at Santa Anita.

Hasty Kris is one of two runners entered for an $80,000 claiming price. The other is Slew of the Night.

Trained by John Sadler, Hasty Kris finished a well-beaten third behind Medallist in the Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap over seven furlongs at Calder on Dec. 18.

Hasty Kris is winless in two starts since an optional claimer over seven furlongs here in October.