10/17/2009 11:00PM

Tiz West searching for old form


ARCADIA, Calif. - The 2009 season is not working out for Tiz West, the two-time graded stakes winner trained by Richard Mandella.

Tiz West is winless in six starts this year after winning two stakes in 2008. Mandella is hoping Tiz West can revert to his 2008 form in the $60,000 Lure Stakes at Santa Anita on Sunday. Those expectations have been in place for months.

"I thought if I gave him a break, he'd come back better," Mandella said. "He came back the same size and a little slower."

Owned by Diamond A Racing, Tiz West won the La Puente Stakes and Grade 3 Cinema Handicap last year. His best finish this year has been a third in the Harry Brubaker Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on turf at Del Mar on Aug. 26, although Mandella was encouraged by Tiz West's fast-closing fourth in the Grade 3 Morvich Handicap on Sept. 30.

In that race over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course, Tiz West was 10th with a furlong remaining and made up eight lengths in the stretch.

"The last race, I thought, was the best he's done," Mandella said. "He came flying down the stretch. We'll try him again and see where we're at. He's doing well, or I wouldn't run him back so quick."

Tiz West is part of a field of eight in the one-mile Lure, which is restricted to horses that have not won a stakes worth $65,000 to the winner at a mile or farther this year. Statebred races are excluded from that condition.

The only 2009 stakes winner in the field is All Saint, who won the minor Jim Kostoff Stakes for 3-year-olds over seven furlongs at Fairplex Park on Sept. 11. All Saint will be making his first stakes start against older horses in the Lure.

Yacht Spotter drew the outside post in his first start since July. Trained by Frank Lucarelli, Yacht Spotter was second in the Grade 2 San Francisco Mile on turf at Golden Gate Fields in April.

One horse certain to be well backed is Blue Chagall, who drew the rail and will be ridden by Garrett Gomez. Trained by Julio Canani, Blue Chagall won an optional claimer over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Del Mar in mid-August. A Group 3 winner in France in 2007, Blue Chagall is winless in three stakes in the United States.