02/26/2006 1:00AM

Atlando wins San Luis Obispo Handicap


ARCADIA, Calif. - Atlando beat T.H. Approval by three-quarters of a length in Sunday's $150,000 at Santa Anita.

The key to victory was an early move by jockey Martin Pedroza, who sent Atlando to the front before the field reached the stretch. The extended rally gave Atlando a lead in the final furlong that a courageous T.H. Approval could not overcome under jockey Alex Solis. The San Luis Obispo was T.H. Approval's first start in seven months.

"I made the first move on Solis and I think that was the winning move," Pedroza said.

Atlando ($2.80) was part of a three-horse entry owned by Gary Tanaka. Trained by Darrell Vienna, Atlando finished 1 1/2 miles on turf in a quick 2:23.95. The Grade 2 San Luis Obispo was Atlando's first stakes win since the Knickerbocker Handicap at Belmont Park last October, the U.S. debut of the 5-year-old Irish-bred.

T.H. Approval, who won the San Juan Capistrano Handicap last April, finished three-quarters of a length in front of King's Drama, part of the Tanaka-owned entry. Aubonne, an entrymate and the only mare in the field, finished last in the field of eight.