03/15/2010 11:00PM

Shimmering Tina hitting stride


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Having proven herself adept at getting a horse to successfully navigate 1 1/2 miles on turf, trainer Mary Hartmann is now trying her hand at getting one to go five furlongs on the grass.

As far as Shimmering Tina is concerned, so far so good.

Shimmering Tina will seek her second consecutive victory in a turf sprint when she takes on five opponents in Wednesday's second-level allowance feature at five furlongs over the Gulfstream Park turf course. The race also carries an optional claiming provision of $62,500, for which three of the six entrants are being offered.

Shimmering Tina lost all nine of her starts as a 3-year-old last year, all coming in one-turn dirt races. On Jan. 3, in her 4-year-old debut at Calder, Shimmering Tina won a $25,000 claimer on dirt in a race originally carded for the turf. She came back four weeks later and finished third in a $32,000 claiming race before wheeling back in 12 days to win an allowance race on turf by 1 1/2 lengths. In that race, Shimmering Tina rallied from off the pace after being part of the pace and weakening in her previous start.

"She's really taken to the turf and she's just blossoming right now," said Hartmann, best known as the trainer of turf marathon specialist Presious Passion.

Hartmann noted that in Shimmering Tina's loss two starts back, jockey Eddie Castro dropped the whip at the sixteenth pole. Also, Hartmann said, she expected a little regression from the filly coming off a maiden victory.

Hartmann would like to see Castro give Shimmering Tina another off-the-pace trip on Wednesday. With Streamin Heat and Loving Vindication in the field, the pace should be swift.

Trainer Ian Wilkes is putting Ivory Empress on the turf for the first time. A 4-year-old daughter of Seeking the Gold, Ivory Empress recorded her best Beyer Speed Figure, an 86, over Arlington's synthetic surface winning a first-level allowance race last August.

"It's something I wanted to do for a while," Wilkes said of this turf experiment. "I think she'll love it. I worked her on turf a couple of times and she worked good."

Julien Leparoux will ride from post 5.

Eddie Plesa sends out the uncoupled entry of Exe and Loving Vindication. Exe is making her first start since September. She drops in class from two stakes efforts and is being offered for the $62,500. Loving Vindication has been beaten double-digit lengths in her two starts this year, but has speed to be an early factor.

Lost Without You, winless in nine starts since Aug. 2008, completes the field.