08/08/2008 12:00AM

Tiz West a tough one on turf


DEL MAR, Calif. - Tiz West has shown a new attitude since trainer Richard Mandella tried him on turf in March.

"He didn't run hard on the main track," Mandella said. "I didn't think he was giving me what he had."

The story is completely different on turf. Tiz West has won 3 of 4 starts on the surface, and will try for his third stakes win on turf in Saturday's $150,000 La Jolla Handicap at Del Mar.

Tiz West will be favored in the Grade 2 race over 1 1/16 miles on turf. He shares top weight of 120 pounds with Nownownow, who won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Monmouth Park last year and will be making his first start in the United States this year.

Tiz West has the benefit of recent races on this circuit. Owned by Gerald Ford, Tiz West won his last start in the Grade 3 Cinema Handicap over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Hollywood Park on June 21. Tiz West outfinished Ez Dreamer to win by a nose.

"He ran very courageously the other day," Mandella said.

Tiz West was not eligible for the Oceanside Stakes here on July 16 - he earned too much prize money earlier this year - forcing Mandella to focus on two graded stakes at this meeting. After Saturday's La Jolla, Mandella hopes to start Tiz West in the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby Aug. 31.

Nownownow is the most accomplished runner in the field, with earnings of $660,784. Now trained by Jason Orman, Nownownow finished a well-beaten fifth in the Irish 2000 Guineas at Leopardstown on May 24 in his only start this year.

Coronel Moldes, another European import, will attract support. A two-time winner in France, Coronel Moldes finished a fast-closing fourth in a division of the Oceanside Stakes in his first start for trainer John Sadler. Coronel Moldes was in the United States for less than a week before the Oceanside.

Sadler had planned to skip the La Jolla, but said that Coronel Moldes is thriving.

"He did so well out of that race I thought I'd run him," Sadler said. "I think he'll be tough. He wants to settle, European-style."

There are five starters in the La Jolla who ran in divisions of the Oceanside - Moral Compass, Jungle Wave, and Coronel Moldes, who were second through fourth in the first division, and Tangled Tango and Liberian Freighter, who finished in a dead heat for third in the second division.

Moral Compass was beaten a nose by Del Mar Derby hopeful Kilderry, closing from sixth in the final quarter-mile. The race was Moral Compass's first start for trainer Jack Carava after he bought the colt on behalf of La Canada Stables in early summer.