01/04/2011 3:51PM

Sporting Art at his best with time off

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Jim Lisa
Sporting Art is well rested for an optional claimer over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Santa Anita on Thursday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Sporting Art is a horse that likes to take his time, at least between races.

Trainer Mike Mitchell is convinced the gelding performs best after a rest, which makes his appearance in an optional claimer at 1 1/8 miles on turf at Santa Anita on Thursday an exciting opportunity.

“The timing is perfect,” Mitchell said.

A winner of 5 of 19 starts and $411,065, Sporting Art finished third in a $50,000 claimer over 1 1/16 miles on turf at Hollywood Park on Nov. 26. He ran 19 days earlier, finishing second in an optional claimer when entered for $40,000, and Mitchell thought the turnaround was too short.

“It seems like he wants a little space between his races,” Mitchell said. “You can dull him if you run him back too quick, in three weeks or a month.”

Sporting Art won two Grade 3 races in Florida in 2008 – the $400,000 Calder Derby and Palm Beach Stakes. A 6-year-old, Sporting Art was claimed for $40,000 at Monmouth Park in June.

In Thursday’s race, Sporting Art is one of five horses in the field of eight entered to be claimed. He is not the only runner with intriguing form.

Imponente Purse won an optional claimer over 1 1/2 miles on turf at Hollywood Park on Dec. 9 and is now entered for a claiming price. Get a Grip, Yodelan Dan, and No Dream were second in their last starts. Interpatation was third behind Imponente Purse and No Dream on Dec. 9.

Tiz Argent, fifth over seven furlongs at Hollywood Park on Nov. 28, returns to turf, where he has won twice. Stephen’s Got Hope makes a quick turnaround following a fourth in the Sir Beaufort Stakes here Dec. 26.

Yodelan Dan has finished in the first three in five of his last six starts and is a threat from off the pace.

“He’s pretty honest,” trainer Jeff Mullins said.

No Dream won a $20,000 claimer at Hollywood Park on Nov. 14 and was tried over 1 1/2 miles for the first time when beaten by Imponente Purse. On Thursday, No Dream is entered for a $40,000 claiming price and will be ridden by Patrick Valenzuela

“I can’t say too much; he’s in for a tag,” trainer Vladimir Cerin said, smiling. “He’s trained well. With PVal, you’re always in the race.”