01/24/2013 5:12PM

Santa Anita: Tiz Flirtatious gets class relief in Valentine Dancer


Under the patient, exacting care of trainer Marty Jones, Tiz Flirtatious has developed into a mare certainly capable of competing at the graded stakes level. But after a pair of placings in graded races in her most recent starts, Jones is taking advantage of her California-bred conditions on Saturday by moving her back into statebred competition for the $100,000 Valentine Dancer for female grass horses over one mile at Santa Anita.

It is only a temporary move, for Jones envisions Tiz Flirtatious, 5, competing in graded stakes for most of this year.

“We’re looking to get her back to graded races, but she’s had a couple of hard races, so we’re trying to make things a little easier on her this time,” Jones said. “But she’s still gonna have to show up.”

Indeed, the Valentine Dancer also lured the consistent, persistent Halo Dolly, who has won 14 of 25 starts, including the Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon at Del Mar last summer, and was less than two lengths behind Tiz Flirtatious when they both last raced, in the Grade 3 Robert Frankel on Dec. 30.

Tiz Flirtatious was second in the Frankel, 1 1/4 lengths behind the promising Qaraaba after starting from the outside post in a field of nine going 1 1/8 miles. The third-place finisher in the race, More Chocolate, came back to take the La Canada on Sunday.

In the Frankel, Jones said he thought Tiz Flirtatious “ran well from a tough post.”

“She lost some ground, and there wasn’t much pace on,” he said. “It wasn’t the easiest trip, but the winner ran very well.”

Halo Dolly was fourth in the Frankel. Though she has finished in the money in 19 of her 25 races, she has finished out of the money both times she has competed on Santa Anita’s turf, including a close fourth-place finish in last year’s Valentine Dancer.

Chokecherymary is trying to defend her title in the Valentine Dancer. This is only her second start since a layoff of nearly 10 months.

Secret Cove, third in last year’s Valentine Dancer, has finished out of the money in six subsequent starts.

Dancingtothestars is trying two turns for the first time. Her lone grass race was poor, but she is bred for the surface and is in the best form of her career, having won her last two starts.

Crystal Water: John Scott tries turf

After 11 starts spread over nearly 3 1/2 years, all on the main track, John Scott will try turf for the first time on Saturday in the $100,000 Crystal Water at 1 1/8 miles for older horses.

Like Tiz Flirtatious in the Valentine Dancer, John Scott is getting some class relief with this drop into a Cal-bred race. He acquitted himself admirably in graded stakes races in his recent starts, including a fourth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and then a third behind the runaway pair of Coil and Ultimate Eagle in the San Pasqual.

Martin Garcia takes over as his rider for the first time on Saturday.

John Scott’s trainer, Carla Gaines, has an excellent chance to sweep the first two spots in the Crystal Water because of Big Bane Theory, who was fourth in the Sir Beaufort on opening day Dec. 26 and won two prior grass races on this course.

Circle the Moon came off a nine-month layoff with a sharp comeback effort, finishing second in an open, first-level allowance, and looks like he fits well against most of these.

Thirtyfirststreet benefits from the presence of leading rider Rafael Bejarano, who was aboard him for a close fourth-place finish in a tough open money-allowance at Betfair Hollywood Park on Nov. 8.