Updated on 09/18/2011 1:46AM

Art of Diplomacy gets back on turf


OLDSMAR, Fla. - Turf runners from the Chicago circuit have been very successful in the early days of Tampa's meeting, which bodes well for Art of Diplomacy on Tuesday. The long-striding Diplomatic Jet gelding, who won a maiden race at Hawthorne in early November, tops a full field of 10 in an allowance race at 1 1/16 miles on the grass.

Jose Lezcano, last year's leading rider and regarded by most as a top turf jockey, will handle Art of Diplomacy for trainer Ronnie Behrens.

Art of Diplomacy returns to the turf following a fifth-place finish over a sloppy main track at Hawthorne in his final start there. Prior to that outing, Art of Diplomacy put it all together in a 1 1/16-mile turf race, advancing along the inside after five furlongs, then rallying past the leaders into the stretch for a 5 1/4-length victory. A Florida-bred, Art of Diplomacy seems to have found a home on grass as he also has had a pair of seconds from six outings on the turf. His late-running style should fit well over this track, which favors horses who close from off the pace. He worked a solid half-mile in 49.80 seconds here Friday.

S.W. Duce, who ran at Saratoga and Belmont before going to the sidelines in September, is another who should be closing late. Trained by Robert Raymond, S.W. Duce won a maiden race at Suffolk in August, then journeyed to Saratoga where he finished fourth, beaten less than three lengths at 61-1, when facing tough allowance grass runners at 1 3/8 miles. In his Belmont effort, S.W. Duce raced wide and finished off the board going 1 1/4 miles on turf. Tammi Piermarini rides S.W. Duce on Tuesday.

Utmost Respect, who was disqualified from a win on the main track here last out, also closes late and has won on turf.

In the sixth race, also at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, Toka King comes off a short freshener seeking his third turf win and second tally over the Tampa course. From the hot stable of Jane Cibelli, Toka King takes on Miami Sunrise, a Wheaton gelding who finished second twice over the turf at Belmont while facing claimers.

Female trainers seeing success

Successful female trainers can now be found everywhere in racing, and nowhere is the female influence more obvious than on the backstretch at Tampa Bay Downs.

A check of the trainer standings through Friday shows Dale Bennett leading the way with five wins, but four women are among those tied for second in the standings. Lynn Scace, former leading trainer locally and a force every year here, had three winners from 10 starters through Friday's racing and posted another win in Saturday's second race. Barbara McBride is 3 for 15, Joan Scott has won three races from just five starters, and Jane Cibelli is 3 for 7.