03/21/2010 11:00PM

Tuscan Evening going to Kentucky


ARCADIA, Calif. - It is time for Tuscan Evening to take her show on the road. After winning her third straight race and ninth in 13 starts in the Santa Ana Handicap on Sunday, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said Tuscan Evening would make her next start on the Kentucky Derby undercard in the Grade 2, $250,000 Distaff Turf Mile at Churchill Downs on May 1.

But that race will be a means to an end. Tuscan Evening, 5, has won five graded stakes races, but has yet to win a Grade 1 race, something Hollendorfer and owner William de Burgh are intent on securing.

"Our goal is to get a Grade 1 win with her somewhere," Hollendorfer said. "We'll see if we can pick a good spot."

Hollendorfer said he is considering running Tuscan Evening on dirt at some point, and cited the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap as a likely summer target.

"I love that race at Delaware," Hollendorfer said. "We're probably going to try different things with her."

Tuscan Evening had everything her own way in the Santa Ana. After being left alone on the front end, she turned on the jets down the stretch, completing the final three furlongs of the 1 1/8-mile grass race in 34.37 seconds despite bobbling at the top of the stretch.

"The last two weeks, she's never looked better," Hollendorfer said. "Some horses just blossom in the spring."

Tuscan Evening was the fourth straight winner on the card for jockey Rafael Bejarano, who is running away with the riding crown at this meet. He swept the weekend's stakes, capturing both races on Saturday, the San Luis Rey with Bourbon Bay, and the Irish O'Brien with Unzip Me. All three stakes were on turf.

Blind Luck getting feel for dirt

Hollendorfer's travel schedule will begin in earnest in less than two weeks, when he sends Blind Luck to Oaklawn Park for the Fantasy Stakes. That will mark her first start on dirt since a debut win at Calder last summer.

In preparation for the move back to dirt for the Fantasy and then the Kentucky Oaks on April 30, Hollendorfer has been training Blind Luck on Santa Anita's infield training track, a dirt surface over which she worked five furlongs in 1:01.80 on Sunday morning with Bejarano aboard.

"She went well," Hollendorfer said. "We thought training her on that surface might help. She'll probably work again on it before she goes to Oaklawn. She's been galloping on it pretty regularly."