Tuscan Evening will go where she’s never gone before when she runs in Saturday’s Grade II, $150,000 Santa Barbara Handicap for older fillies and mares.

The 5-year-old Irish-bred mare will attempt to win at a mile and a quarter on turf. She reached a new distance milestone on March 21, when she won the Grade II Santa Ana Handicap at a mile and an eighth. Under the astute direction of Jerry Hollendorfer, the speedy daughter of Oasis Dream has developed from a downhill turf course specialist at about 6 1/2 furlongs to a graded stakes winner in a route race.

Asked if he adheres to the credo that pace makes the race, especially going a mile and a quarter, Hollendorfer said, “I don’t know, because we don’t know who all is running in the race at this point. I would hate to predict how a race is going to set up before I know who is actually running.

“We’ll look at that at the proper time, but she’s been training well.” Tuscan Evening worked seven furlongs on Santa Anita’s turf course Sunday in 1:27 under Marco Ramirez. “Fantastic,” is how Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward termed the move.

Probable for the Santa Barbara: Cat by the Tale, no rider; Éclair de Lune, Joe Talamo; and Tuscan Evening, Rafael Bejarano.

Cat by the Tale worked six furlongs on Santa Anita’s turf course Sunday in 1:15.20 for Neil Drysdale, while Éclair de Lune went the same distance in 1:17.60 for Ron McAnally.


Richard Mandella said chances of running Tiz West in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 San Simeon Handicap for older horses at about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf are “60-40.”

“I don’t have anywhere else to run, so I’ll probably go there,” the Hall of Fame trainer said. “He got sour. He just wasn’t running good,” Mandella said in explaining the 5-year-old Gone West horse’s disappointing off-the-board finishes in his last three races. “He’d kind of run early, and not late, so I freshened him up, and he’s training real good.”

Tiz West has not run since Jan. 2, when he weakened to seventh after leading in the restricted Impressive Luck Handicap. The Kentucky-bred bay has a 3-1-3 record from 18 starts, with earnings of $246,821 for the Diamond A Racing Corporation of Gerald Ford of Dallas.

Probable for the San Simeon: Cherokee Heaven, no rider; Ever A Friend, Tyler Baze; Mr Gruff, Joel Rosario; Red Sun, Rafael Bejarano; and Tiz West, no rider. Red Sun worked six furlongs on Santa Anita’s turf course Sunday in a bullet 1:13.60 for trainer Carla Gaines.


When George Bernard Shaw said youth is wasted on the young, the playwrite didn’t have Joe Talamo in mind. The 20-year-old riding star lost none of his perspective following the biggest disappointment of his career, when his mount in last year’s Kentucky Derby, morning line favorite I Want Revenge, was scratched the morning of the race.

Talamo expects to be back for another try at the Run for the Roses on May 1 with Santa Anita Derby winner Sidney’s Candy, who has emerged as the West Coast’s leading Triple Crown contender thanks to victories in the San Vicente Stakes, the San Felipe Stakes and the Santa Anita Derby.

“It never really sunk in for all of us,” Talamo said when recounting the 11th-hour defection of I Want Revenge. “We were all having such a great time that week, and then to hear that news, was almost like a bad joke. To me, I’m still in shock, to make it that far, be on the favorite, and not run, is really mind-boggling.”

That doesn’t mean Talamo will alter his mindset this time around.

“I’m not going to change anything,” he said. “I’m definitely going to enjoy the experience. I did that last time. I took in everything. It’s such an honor to win the Santa Anita Derby, a race so rich in history. Just to be affiliated with something like that is unbelievable.

“To win two big Derby preps (San Felipe and Santa Anita Derby) in a row, it hardly ever happens, especially after what happened last year. I never would have dreamed I’d be making it back this early. I’ve definitely been very blessed and fortunate.”

FINISH LINES: John Shirreffs said Sunday morning that Zenyatta is doing well back at her Hollywood Park home following her 16th straight victory in Friday’s Apple Blossom Invitational, but when asked if he had any news on what he was considering for her next race, the trainer said, “Not now.” . . . Bob Baffert will ship last year’s 2-year-old champion Lookin At Lucky to Kentucky Tuesday to prepare for the Run for the Roses. Baffert plans two workouts over the Churchill Downs main track prior to the mile and a quarter classic . . . Richard Mandella still has the Derby in mind for Setsuko, who currently is tied for 27th in graded earnings with $180,000. Graded earnings determine the 20 starters in the Derby. “For the time being, I’m going to keep going like I’m going to get in,” Mandella said. “But, as a matter of fact, he may not, so I’d have to come up with a Plan B somewhere.” Asked if he had a commitment for the Derby from Rafael Bejarano, who rode Interactif to a fourth-place finish behind 40-1 winner Stately Victor in Saturday’s Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, Mandella said, “I haven’t pinned him down. I think he’s following my horse, but we’ll have to see.” As for Witty’s first defeat in the Madison Vinery Stakes at Keeneland last Thursday, Mandella said “She came back full of mucous, gunk, tried to get sick on me. She’s fine; she’s not real sick, but there’s a bunch of mucus in her trachea. We’re treating her, then we’ll bring her home.” . . . Bourbon Bay, seeking to add next Sunday’s San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap to his marathon victories in the San Luis Obispo and San Luis Rey handicaps, worked seven furlongs on Santa Anita’s firm turf course Sunday in 1:29.60 for Neil Drysdale . . . Yesterday’s one winning Pick Six ticket at Santa Anita worth $122,625.60 was purchased at the track on a $72 investment . . . Next Saturday, April 17, all fans in attendance at Santa Anita will receive a free Santa Anita Park baseball cap, courtesy of San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino, with paid admission while supplies last . . . Agent Craig O’Bryan reports that David Flores will be in West Virginia next Saturday to ride Awesome Gem for Craig Dollase in the $1,000,000 Charles Town Classic at 1 1/8 miles.