04/17/2010 4:45PM

Santa Anita: One furlong at a time


What makes Tuscan Evening's four consecutive stakes wins at this meeting all the more impressive is the way that trainer Jerry Hollendorfer designed her campaign. Beginning with the Grade 3 Monrovia Handicap over about 6 1-2 furlongs on the hillside turf course on Jan. 3, Hollendorfer increased the distances of her races by approximately a furlong a race as the season progressed.

Tuscan Evening won the Monrovia by a length, which was followed by an easy win, by 2 1-4 lengths, in the Grade 2 Buena Vista Handicap over a mile on turf on Feb. 15. On March 21, Tuscan Evening won the Grade 2 Santa Ana Handicap over 1 1-8 miles on turf by 1 1-4 lengths.

In Saturday's Grade 2 Santa Barbara Handicap, Tuscan Evening handled her first start over 1 1-4 miles on turf without difficultly. She was allowed to set a slow pace of 24.56 and 49.02 seconds, was never really threatened and pulled clear in early stretch under jockey Rafael Bejarano to win by a length as the 3-10 favorite.

Hollendorfer said that Tuscan Evening will be pointed for the Grade 1 Gamely Stakes over 1 1-8 miles on turf on May 29, but more starts over longer distances, such as the Beverly D Stakes over 1 3-16ths on turf at Arlington Park in August, are not more of a possibility following Saturday's win.