02/15/2010 12:00AM

Tuscan Evening patiently pounces in Buena Vista

Benoit & Associates
Tuscan Evening and jockey Rafael Bejarano stalked the early leader Czechers and then took over to win Monday's Buena Vista.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Tuscan Evening had jockey Rafael Bejarano thinking about a trip to the winner's circle in the first turn of Monday's at Santa Anita.

As soon as Czechers zoomed away from 10 rival fillies and mares, Bejarano moved Tuscan Evening into second - and waited. Czechers set a quick pace of 22.70 and 45.69 seconds, leading by as many as 3 1/2 lengths over Tuscan Evening. The margin shrunk to a length with a quarter-mile remaining and was further diminished when Bejarano moved Tuscan Evening toward the front in early stretch. He got the expected response and drew off to win by 2 1/4 lengths.

"When they broke, I had an idea," Bejarano said. "I knew [Czechers] would go. I got [Tuscan Evening] to relax and I knew she would have a big kick."

Tuscan Evening ($4.20) ran a mile on turf in 1:33.47, outfinishing 35-1 Eissoai. Czechers, an 18-1 longshot, held third, holding off a late run from Cat by the Tale, the winner of the Grade 2 San Gorgonio Handicap last month.

The Grade 2 Buena Vista Handicap was Tuscan Evening's fifth stakes win in the last year. Owned by William de Burgh and trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Tuscan Evening has won 8 of 23 starts and $719,408. She has won three Grade 2 races in the past year - the Royal Heroine Mile at Hollywood Park last July, the Las Palmas Handicap here in November, and the Buena Vista. All three races were run at a mile on turf.

Hollendorfer and de Burgh are considering longer races for Tuscan Evening in coming months, which may include a start in the $150,000 Santa Ana Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on turf on March 21.