08/15/2008 11:00PM

Tutta Bella back facing statebreds


DEL MAR, Calif. - A recent start in a restricted stakes did not work for Tutta Bella, and neither did an optional claimer against open company.

Against California-bred fillies and mares, the outlook changes. Tutta Bella won the $150,000 Fran's Valentine Stakes for statebred females at Hollywood Park in April, and can win a similar race in Sunday's $100,000 Solana Beach Handicap over a mile on turf at Del Mar.

"This should fit her better," trainer John Sadler said. "I think with open company her best race is down the hill at Santa Anita. For statebreds, a mile is good."

Owned by breeder Pamela Ziebarth, Tutta Bella, 5, has won 4 of 12 starts and $262,236. After winning the Fran's Valentine, she finished eighth in the Redondo Beach Stakes on June 7 and third in an optional claimer at Hollywood Park on July 9.

"She didn't run badly last time," Sadler said.

Tutta Bella will need a top effort beat America's Friend, a 4-year-old Unusual Heat filly in outstanding form. Trained by Barry Abrams, America's Friend has been first or second in her last three starts. A former maiden claimer, she will make her stakes debut in the Solana Beach.

"She's really surprised me with the way she's come along," Abrams said. "If she runs her best race, she'll be tough. She's getting better and better the more she runs."

Abrams trains 4 of the 10 fillies and mares entered in the Solana Beach, but said on Friday that Exquisite Beauty and Lethal Heat will not start. His other runner is Lightmyfirebaby, the winner of the Grade 3 Las Cienegas Handicap via disqualification at Santa Anita in April

Lightmyfirebaby was ninth in the Osunitas Handicap here on July 19.

"She didn't get her kind of race," Abrams said. "She was two or three wide and she wasn't comfortable. She threw in a clunker."

They will all be chasing Silver Z, who in her last two starts led and faded in the Grade 1 Vanity and Grade 2 Clement Hirsch handicaps. Trainer Brian Koriner is hoping that a shift from the synthetic main track to turf will help Silver Z carry her speed.

"The racetrack is so brutal for some speed horses," Koriner said. "It's hard on them. She should be okay on the grass. This turf course seems okay for speed.

"She's probably the only runaway in the race. If something goes with her, they're sacrificing their chances no matter who it is."