05/01/2008 11:00PM

Favorite's form has clear flaws


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Tough Tiz's Sis has not been the same since a gut-wrenching loss four starts and five months ago at Hollywood Park. Her speed figures have declined, her class has slipped, and her only recent victory was in a stakes in New Mexico that turned out to be a negative key race.

None of that will make any difference to naive bettors Sunday at Hollywood. That is where Tough Tiz's Sis will start favored in the Grade 3 Hawthorne Handicap, a 1 1/16-mile main-track race that is supposed to be a formality for a Grade 1 winner.

Not this time. Rapidly improving Santa Teresita and sharp sprinter Glorified may upstage Tough Tiz's Sis in the $100,000 Hawthorne, race 5 on the nine-race card. Seven fillies and mares entered the Hawthorne; none is named Zenyatta. Longshots include Dawn After Dawn, Rivoltella, Fleetheart, and Stormin Mon.

Bob Baffert trains Tough Tiz's Sis, a 6-for-16 filly whose major wins include the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks and Grade 1 Lady's Secret at Santa Anita. She has spiraled downward, however, since a runner-up finish in the taxing Grade 2 Bayakoa Handicap at Hollywood Dec. 1. Tough Tiz's Sis pressed a hot pace, lost by a length, and paid the price.

In three subsequent starts, Tough Tiz's Sis was blown away by Zenyatta, squandered a soft trip and finished second in the low-rated Santa Maria Handicap, then shipped to Sunland Park for a hard-fought win as the odds-on favorite in the $100,000 Harry Henson Handicap. Runner-up Nice Inheritance subsequently finished off the board in the Bayakoa at Oaklawn; third-place Goodbye Norma Jean, a former $40,000 claimer, returned to finish second in the $50,000 Czaria Handicap at Sunland.

Tough Tiz's Sis earned Beyer Figures of 89 and 85 in her last two starts, though she may improve Sunday while making her first start in two months. Meanwhile, another Hawthorne filly is still on her way up. Santa Teresita has won three straight, her figures are creeping forward (93 Beyer last out), and after a restricted stakes win across town, the David Hofmans-trained filly is ready to try graded stakes.

Glorified finished second by a neck in the Grade 3 Las Flores at 6 1/2 furlongs last time out, and is running long Sunday for the first time.

"The way she runs, she acts like she wants to go farther," trainer Ron Ellis said, while admitting that offspring of Honour and Glory "are not generally known as being two-turn horses."

Rivoltella bled last out, but has trained well since. Fleetheart may set the pace; Dawn After Dawn will press.