FOUR DAUGHTERS OF UNUSUAL HEAT COMPRISE UNUSUAL SANTA ANITA SUPERFECTA; SPORTING ART GOES WIRE-TO-WIRE IN TURF FEATURE

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 6, 2011) – The progeny of standout California sire Unusual Heat completed a most unusual Superfecta in Thursday’s fifth race at Santa Anita when the stallion’s offspring finished first, second, third and fourth among nine entrants in the $55,600 maiden event for fillies and mares at one mile on turf.

Phi Beta Heat, with Corey Nakatani aboard, won by 1 ¼ lengths while timed in 1:36.84 and paid $43.60. She was followed across the finish line by even-money favorite Bitt a Heat, 9-2 shot Unknown Heat and 5-1 Favoloso, the only one of the quartet whose name did not reveal her sire. The $1 Superfecta, which requires selection of the first four finishers in order, paid $614.90.

Thursday’s feature race, a $61,568 optional claiming allowance event at 1 1/8 miles on turf, went to 9-2 shot Sporting Art, who led from start to finish under the guidance of jockey Joe Talamo.

Covering the distance in 1:47.53, Sporting Art withstood the closing bid of Tiz Argent by one-half length. Imponente Purse, who rallied from dead last in the field of eight, finished another half length back in third.

The winner paid $11.80, $6.40 and $4.40. Tiz Argent, ridden by Garrett Gomez, returned $7.20 and $4.20. The show price on Imponente Purse, with Alonso Quinonez in the saddle, was $3.

Sporting Art, a 6-year-old gelded son of Doneraile Court, had been claimed for $40,000 six races back by trainer Mike Mitchell on behalf of the partnership of Dan Capen, Roger Featherston and Tom Miller. Thursday’s win was his second for the group and Mitchell’s fourth of the meet from nine starters.

Talamo said he was instructed by the trainer to put his mount on the lead. “Mike told me in the paddock that he’s a brave horse when he has the lead to himself,” said Talamo. The 20-year-old rider followed directions through splits of 23.31, 47.83, 1:11.38 and 1:35.24.

“The timing of this race was perfect,” said Mitchell, who became convinced that Sporting Art runs his best races with “a little space between races.” The gelding’s previous start, a third-place finish at Hollywood Park, was on Nov. 26.

It was the sixth win in 20 career starts for Sporting Art. The winning purse of $33,600 boosted his lifetime earnings to $444,665.

Santa Anita’s program of eight races on Friday will be highlighted by the $75,000 Kalookan Queen Handicap, which goes as the third race. Quisisana is the 2-1 morning line favorite among six fillies and mares. First post is at 1 p.m.

Santa Anita will begin offering a 50 cent Early and Late Pick 4 on Saturday. First post time on Saturday and Sunday is 12:30 p.m.

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