01/14/2005 12:00AM

Tamweel California-bound

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Benoit & Associates
Tamweel will make her first start for new trainer Tom Amoss at Santa Anita on Jan. 30.

NEW ORLEANS - Tamweel, who was purchased privately for $1 million and turned over to trainer Tom Amoss late last year, will make her next start in the Grade 1, $250,000 Santa Monica Stakes on Jan. 30 at Santa Anita.

"We're trying to get a graded stakes win out of her," Amoss said. "The hope is that race gets a little diminished by the Sunshine Millions" on Jan. 29.

Tamweel came to prominence last summer at Arlington, but as well as she ran in several races, she failed to win a graded stakes, finishing second to Adoration in the Arlington Matron and second to Azeri in the Spinster. She was unplaced in the Breeders' Cup Distaff.

"She handles herself with a lot of class," Amoss said.

Tamweel is the highest-class horse in Amoss's stable, but the claimers are holding up their end of the tent. After winning the fourth race here Friday, Amoss had 18 wins from 61 starts and was tied with Steve Asmussen atop the trainer standings. But Amoss has no illusions about keeping up with Asmussen through the whole Fair Grounds meet. Amoss might have 50 horses at his disposal, but Asmussen's stock runs much deeper.

"If it goes to the fourth quarter he'll just bloody me up," Amoss said.

Still, Amoss has been on a year-long roll; he finished 2004 with a 29-percent win rate, an amazing mark for a trainer with as much volume as Amoss.

"My goal was to get 30 percent, but we had a horrible first couple months of the year," Amoss said. "It gives us something to shoot for this year."

Gill's stable gets hot

The owner Mike Gill has been claiming horses at Fair Grounds at a furious clip. This week, the winners have been coming just as fast.

Gill and trainer Gammy Vazquez had four horses entered on Thursday; the first one finished second, but the last three won, and with Ocotillo prevailing in Friday's first race, Vazquez and Gill had a four-race winning streak.

"To win one race here at Fair Grounds is tough enough," Vazquez said. "Imagine four. When you come here you got to have your running shoes."

Ocotillo was making his first start since being claimed from trainer Steve Asmussen for $15,000, and was running back at the same class level. Chilling Effect, the barn's first winner Thursday, had been claimed for $40,000 out of her last start and ran for $35,000, but her win was surprising, since Chilling Effect has been a closing turf horse and won from the lead on a muddy main track.

Then came Distinct Vision, claimed for $40,000. Running back for $62,500, he made a clear lead on a sloppy track and never was headed. And finally, Northern Air, typically a speed horse, got a perfect trip behind a speed duel in the featured ninth and rallied down the middle of the track to win.

Calabrese, Catalano split again

The on-again, off-again relationship between owner Frank Calabrese and trainer Wayne Catalano has gone sour again, with Calabrese sending 11 of his racehorses from Fair Grounds to Gulfstream Park. Catalano was saddling a Calabrese horse for Friday's second race and said that was the last horse he had for the mercurial, Chicago-based owner. Catalano still has about a dozen horses here for different owners. He said the Calabrese horses are to be trained in Florida by Wesley Ward.

Asmussen gets Santana Strings

The owner Ro Parra has purchased the 3-year-old sprinter Santana Strings and turned him over to Asmussen. Santana Strings previously was owned by Shamrock Hill Farm and trained by Tom Tomillo; those connections had purchased him privately for $20,000 shortly before Santana Strings first career start last summer at Arlington Park.

Santana Strings made his debut in a $50,000 maiden-claimer, but won easily, running fast and attracting attention from prospective buyers. The horse went unsold, even after running well in the Arlington-Washington Futurity, but boosted his value with a good second to Storm Surge here last month in the Sugar Bowl Stakes.

Asmussen said Santana Strings is bound for the Sunshine Millions Sprint on Jan. 29.

Bold Lion possible for Risen Star

Bold Lion should be a major player in Illinois-bred stakes racing later this year, but his trainer, Spanky Broussard, hopes Bold Lion can turn into a stakes horse before then. A 3-year-old Illinois-bred by Lion Cavern, Bold Lion rebounded from a disappointing entry-level allowance race here last month to win by 1 1/2 lengths on Thursday, stalking the pace and drawing clear in deep stretch.

The performance validated Bold Lion's blowout debut win at Hawthorne over statebred-restricted competition and might have earned him a spot in the Grade 3 Risen Star Stakes three weeks from now.

"I think he's ready to go around two turns," Broussard said. "Everything out of that dam wanted to run long."