In 11 starts in the United States, Tuscan Evening has been out of the money only once against mostly graded competition. As if her consistency weren’t enough, the 5-year-old Irish-bred mare reportedly is ready for her best in Monday’s Grade II, $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap at one mile on turf.

“She’s coming up to this better than any race,” said Dan Ward, assistant to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. “She’s training really good, she’s very sound and very happy. She fires every time and a mile is the perfect distance for her. In seven starts at one mile on grass, she has three wins and two seconds, and one of the seconds was to (2008 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner) Ventura in the Grade I Matriarch, so that was no disgrace.”

A daughter of Oasis Dream, Tuscan Evening has a 7-4-5 record from 22 starts, with earnings of $629,408 for owner William de Burgh of Rancho Santa Fe.

The field for the Buena Vista, which goes as the ninth race on a 10-race Presidents’ Day program: Cat by the Tale, Joel Rosario, 118; Chasin Dreams, Victor Espinoza, 113; Pretty Unusual, Chantal Sutherland, 116; Czechers, Luis Medina, 114; Tuscan Evening, Rafael Bejarano, 122; Dreamalong, Tyler Baze, 114; Eissoai, Michael Baze, 113; Starlarks, Alex Solis, 118; Meydan Princess, David Flores, 115; Damaniyat Girl, Mike Smith, 114; Applause, Brice Blanc, 113; and Spring Style, Joe Talamo, 114.


Rafael Becerra is rolling the dice in Monday’s San Vicente Stakes, and the 55-year-old trainer hopes they come up seven.

Becerra has entered Runaway Bandido in the Grade II race for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs, knowing full well the colt will be facing tougher rivals than he has in his previous six starts. Becerra is hoping a reunion with jockey Alonso Quinonez will be beneficial.

“I thought he’d run better in his last race,” Becerra said of the bay’s fourth-place finish in an optional claiming race on Jan. 17, “but he was kind of rank. I know he’s in with tough horses, but we’re looking forward to it. His best style is coming from a little off the pace.”

Runaway Bandido, a California-bred son of Runaway Groom, has a win, a second and a third in six outings, with earnings of $61,960 for owner Judi Partridge of Brea.

The field for the San Vicente, which goes as the eighth race: Quiet Invader, Martin Garcia; Gilligan, Tyler Baze; Sidney’s Candy, Joe Talamo; Classical Slew, Rafael Bejarano; Tiny Woods, Victor Espinoza; Raging Wit, Kent Desormeaux; and Runaway Bandido, Quinonez.


Patrons attending the races at Santa Anita will be treated to two new, winning restaurant deals in Santa Anita’s signature FrontRunner Restaurant and in the popular Club House Terrace Wednesdays through Fridays, effective immediately.

In the Club House Terrace, for a package price of just $15.95, fans can purchase a bowl of Homemade Soup of the Day along with any one of three popular sandwiches: Santa Anita’s legendary corned beef on rye, roast turkey, bacon and Havarti Club, or a grilled half-pound Angus cheeseburger, along with a slice of Today’s Fruit or cream pie and choice of coffee, tea or soft drink.

In Santa Anita’s highly acclaimed FrontRunner, fans who purchase any entrée, along with soup or Greek Salad, will receive a luxurious dessert of their choice, free of charge.

These great luncheon deals will be in effect through Friday, April 16. Tax and gratuity are extra. For more information, or to make a group or personal reservation, fans are encouraged to call (626) 574-7223, or to visit

FINISH LINES: Brandie Woodfill of San Diego won first prize of $2,500 in WinVivor II, capturing the contest in just four days. ShowVivor II begins today . . . Like her fans everywhere, Jerry Moss is looking forward to Zenyatta’s return in the Grade I Santa Margarita Handicap on March 13, and a subsequent meeting with Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in the Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park on April 9, if all goes well. “If we meet then, I think it’s good that it’s early in the campaign when both horses are fresh,” said Moss, who owns Zenyatta with his wife, Ann . . . La Nez was scratched from today’s Las Virgenes Stakes. “She coughed once, we took a blood count Friday morning and it showed an elevated white count,” trainer Eric Kruljac said . . . Julien Leparoux is proud and grateful to have won the Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey of 2009, but says he now is “focused on winning it again this year.” . . . There will be special racing on Monday, Presidents’ Day. The first 10,000 fans in attendance at Santa Anita will receive a free set of Santa Anita Pint Glasses with paid admission, while supplies last. First post time is 12:30 p.m. . . . With Valentine’s Day tomorrow, Santa Anita guests can send ProFlowers to their sweethearts and receive a 15 percent discount. Interested parties can go on line at, or call 1 800-580-2913.