12/09/2008 12:00AM

'No sale' mare still rings up a profit


VINTON, La. - Rolling Sea sort of came out of retirement to win the $100,000 Treasure Chest last Friday night at Delta Downs. She had been set to sell at Keeneland in November, but when she did not reach her reserve, her owner, Ro Parra, decided to target the Delta stakes upon the advice of her longtime trainer, Steve Asmussen.

"We were only able to get a live bid of $190,000 for her, and she was worth a lot more to us than that, so we decided not to sell her," Parra said, noting that the sale was affected by the economy.

"Steve felt she could go back in training and pick up a couple of more wins before we retired her this year, and she sure did. She was just unbelievable."

Asmussen's plan worked to perfection, as Rolling Sea edged favorite Unforgotten by a head to pick up her seventh career stakes win in the Treasure Chest. Rolling Sea has now won 11 of 31 starts and $699,545, among her chief scores the Grade 2 Chilukki at Churchill Downs in November 2007.

"She's been a very good miler on dirt," Asmussen said. "She won two Grade 2 races last year, and if anything, this was a fitting way for a classy mare to wind down her career."

Parra and Asmussen said they are still determining the next course of action with Rolling Sea, who is scheduled to be bred in 2009.

"What we're likely to do with her is run her one or two more times, perhaps at the Fair Grounds," Parra said. "We'll see what we do, and then after that, we'll probably retire her and breed her to one of my stallions, more than likely Student Council."

Rolling Sea is a 5-year-old mare by Sefapiano. Her victory capped a big night for Parra: He is also the breeder of the Asmussen-trained Four Gifts, who won the Grade 3, $500,000 Delta Princess. Parra stands Even the Score, the sire of Four Gifts, at his Millennium Farms in Kentucky.

Top number for Tend

Out of the six stakes that were run Friday night on the Delta Jackpot card at Delta Downs, no horse came away with a higher Beyer Speed Figure than Tend. He put up a career-best number of 97 when he won his third straight race in the $50,000 Sam's Town.

Tend hooked up with Coach Ryan in the stretch of the two-turn race for 3-year-olds, then pulled clear late for a three-quarter-length win. Robby Albarado, who won an allowance with Tend at Keeneland in October, was reunited with him for the Sam's Town.

"He's a better horse, more confident," Albarado said Friday.

Al Stall Jr., who trains Tend for Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, said the horse could start next at Fair Grounds, in the $75,000 Louisiana Handicap on Jan. 10.

Tend came into the Sam's Town off a win in a $40,000 optional claimer at Fair Grounds, and a number of the horses he defeated will run back Thursday in the eighth race there.

Stakes triple puts Tejera on top

Jockey Eguard Tejera has moved to the top of the Retama Park standings after winning three stakes on the Texas Champions Day card last Saturday. He upset three favorites, with his most dominant score coming aboard the 2-year-old Valid Stripes, who earned a Beyer Figure of 100 for his 11-length romp in the $50,000 Groovy Stakes.

"He impressed me a lot," said Tejera, who rode Valid Stripes for trainer Amos Laborde. "He finished really strong. He never stopped."

Tejera also won the $50,000 Star of Texas with Seneca Summer and the $50,000 Richard King aboard Rapid Squall. It was the first stakes win for Rapid Squall after close finishes in the Chick Lang Jr. Memorial and the Texas Hall of Fame Stakes.

"I love this horse," said Tejera. "Last time, he had a really bad trip. There were a lot of horses in the race. I never had the chance to get out. The other day, I had the chance to get out, and he won easy."

Tejera, 30, is a native of Uruguay. He came to North America in 2000, and while he had ridden races in his homeland and in Brazil, he worked primarily as an exercise rider and assistant trainer when he first arrived here, based on the East Coast. A few years ago a friend encouraged him to join the jockey colony in Texas, and he has won the past two titles at Retama.

"When I was a little boy, my dream was to become a jockey and to come ride here in the U.S." he said. "It's been good."

Tejera's other significant stakes wins the last two years include the $100,000 La Senorita at Retama in 2007 with Hartfelt, and the $50,000 Lone Star Park Turf Sprint this past summer with popular course-record-holder Joe Move.