02/19/2011 1:34PM

Evening Jewel switches to turf for the Buena Vista at Santa Anita


ARCADIA, Calif. – Evening Jewel’s win in the Sunshine Millions Distaff provided trainer Jim Cassidy with a sense of relief.

The race ended a three-race losing streak, and ended a brief concern that Evening Jewel was not as sharp as her 2010 form, when she won four stakes and was recognized as the California-bred horse of the year.

Cassidy’s enthusiasm was somewhat muted after Evening Jewel drew post 11 for Monday’s $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap over a mile on turf. That was much wider than he would prefer and has led to second thoughts about starting, particularly if the turf course has not recovered from wet weather early Saturday.

“She’s sitting on a really big race,” he said. “I don’t want to run a winning race and not win.”

Owned by Marilyn Braly, Evening Jewel has won 3 of 5 starts on turf, including the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks last August. She has only run on firm turf, which is what Cassidy is hoping to see on Monday.

“The way it is right now if the weather clears up and it’s firm enough I’m sure we’ll go,” he said. “It if were to come off, I’d have to consider running on the dirt.”

Evening Jewel should have a pace to pursue. Briecat, the winner of the Grade 2 Las Palmas Handicap over a mile on turf last October, but fifth in the Sunshine Millions Distaff, is expected to lead, and could be challenged by Burg Berg, who was third in the minor Megahertz Stakes here on Jan. 23; and Bonnie Blue Flag, who has shown speed.

The race drew a field of 13, but will be limited to 11 starters. There are 10 stakes winners in the field, including Spring Style, who won the Grade 2 Robert Frankel Stakes here on Jan. 1.

Two stakes winners at Hollywood Park in 2010 return from layoffs. Turning Top, who won the Grade 3 Beverly Hills Handicap last June, makes her first start since a third in the Las Palmas. Cozi Rosie, who won the Grade 3 Senorita Stakes last May, makes her first start since a second to Evening Jewel in the Grade 2 Honeymoon Handicap on May 31.

“A mile may be a little short the first time,” trainer John Sadler said of Cozi Rosie. “I expect a good race from her.”