07/16/2010 12:00AM

Tuscan Evening will be tough to catch


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - The Tuscan Evening show has hit the road. Deadly in California, Tuscan Evening has brought her considerable talents to Arlington Park, where she will be favored to beat Hot Cha Cha and Rainbow View on Saturday in an excellent edition of the Grade 3, $150,000 Modesty Handicap.

The Modesty, which drew six entries, was carded as race 7 on an 11-race program, the first of three consecutive graded turf stakes that make up Million Preview Day. And indeed, it is with an eye toward the Beverly D. on the Aug. 21 Arlington Million card that trainer Jerry Hollendorfer shipped Tuscan Evening here this week.

"We wanted to come and see if she likes the course," said Hollendorfer.

Tuscan Evening will be heavily favored to win the 1 3/16-mile Modesty. She will be hard-pressed to cut things as close as last week's Hollendorfer shipper, Blind Luck, who won by a whisker in the Delaware Oaks.

"I thought we were beaten there," Hollendorfer said.

To beat Tuscan Evening, you have to catch her. The 5-year-old Tuscan Evening, a European import who has won 11 of her 26 career starts and is 5 for 5 in 2010, has enough speed to win sprint races. But she stretched that speed to 1 1/4 miles -- albeit against just three rivals -- winning the Santa Barbara Handicap on April 17 at Santa Anita.

"The thought was in the beginning that she would be limited to about one mile," Hollendorfer said. "She is a very good miler, but she just happened to be able to stretch out more. This filly is relaxed. Nothing bothers her at all."

Tuscan Evening drew post 2 and figures to head straight to an uncontested lead. Left to her own devices, she will be difficult to catch.

Hot Cha Cha won the Pucker Up over Arlington's turf last summer and probably is in Tuscan Evening's league in terms of talent. But, like Hollendorfer, trainer Phil Sims is prepping for the Beverly D., and it would not be surprising to see Hot Cha Cha make a stronger late push next month than on Saturday.

Rainbow View was a top-rated 2-year-old filly in England in 2008, and won the Group 1 Matron in Ireland before being exported to the U.S. by owner George Strawbridge. She turned in a sub-par performance in the June 5 Nassau at Woodbine, but might prefer the firmer going she will find Saturday, and should get first run on Tuscan Evening under Julien Leparoux.

Of the others, Eclair de Lune appears to have at least mild upside, and Askbut I Won'ttell lost all chance at the start of the Arlington Matron, her most recent race