08/25/2006 11:00PM

Tenash can help Mullins narrow gap

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DEL MAR, Calif. - With a little more than a week remaining in the Del Mar meeting, trainer Jeff Mullins trails Doug O'Neill in the trainer's standings, 16-13.

Mullins is unsure whether he can catch O'Neill before the end of the meeting on Sept. 6. He said will not have many starters in the final days of the meeting.

Mullins's stable can still make an impact, though. On Monday, , claimed for $50,000 on Aug. 7, cuts back in distance from 1 3-8 miles to a mile to start in a $63,000 allowance race on turf.

Tenash's presence in Monday's race was a case of running the horse or leaving him in the barn for another month, Mullins said.

"It was either that or wait for Oak Tree" at Santa Anita in late September, Mullins said. "It was the only race for him."

Tenash won over 1 3-8 miles on turf when he claimed for $50,000 on Aug. 7 from trainer Gary Mandella. The race was the first time he had been offered for a claiming price since arriving from Brazil in 2005.

In one sense, Tenash accomplished more before he won the first race of his career than he has since.

Now owned by Richard Englander, Tenash was second in a Group 1 race in Brazil in 2004 as a maiden. He beat maidens in the 15th start of his career, at Santa Anita in April. In three subsequent starts, he has one victory, the optional claimer on Aug. 7.

Mullins said that Tenash was claimed at Englander's insistence. "He told me to take him," Mullins said. "He was walking sound, so I took him."

In the win, Tenash was fourth early, and rallied in early stretch to take the lead. He won by 1 1-4 lengths.

Tenash will need a quick rally to win Monday's race. The field of 10 includes Courtnall and Boboman, who were second and third in a one-mile allowance race here on July 30.

Boboman is winless in two starts in this country. Trained by Richard Mandella, Boboman, 5, returned from 27-month layoff on July 30 to finish a respectable third in a one-mile allowance race.

Courtnall was second in that race. Trained by Craig Dollase, Courtnall, 5, was beaten a nose by Salty Humor after leading in the stretch. The race was arguably the best performance of his career.