01/25/2005 12:00AM

Tuzla runners hope to beat rain

Email
Horsephotos
Katdogawn makes her first start for trainer Wally Dollase in the Tuzla.

ARCADIA, Calif. - The filly-mare turf program in Southern California continues to be hampered by rain. First it was the Dahlia Handicap in December at Hollywood Park, which was switched from turf to dirt. Then it was the San Gorgonio in January at Santa Anita - also switched to dirt.

Now comes the $75,000 Tuzla Handicap on Thursday at Santa Anita, and another rainy-day dilemma.

Despite expectations for a midweek storm, Santa Anita racing officials Rick Hammerle and Mike Harlow said they hope to run the one-mile Tuzla on the surface for which it was written. "Timing-wise, it needs to go," said Hammerle, citing the pending Buena Vista Handicap on Feb. 21.

Nine fillies and mares entered the Tuzla, and there are uncertainties beyond weather. Both highweights are making their first start for new trainers. Grade 2 winner Katdogawn runs for the first time since an ownership change and transfer from Jim Cassidy to Wally Dollase, and Group 1 winner Ask for the Moon makes her first start in the U.S., and first for Laura de Seroux.

The question for Katdogawn is if she can pick up for Dollase where she left off for Cassidy.

"She might be a little short, because she hasn't run since the Breeders' Cup," said Dollase. "At a mile, I think she'll run good."

has won six races and $594,803 from 24 starts, most of them since she was imported from Europe. She was transferred from Cassidy to Dollase in early January.

The class of the field is , who has not raced since June in France. She has won 5 of 8 in Europe, including a Group 1, and worked a half-mile on turf Sunday at Santa Anita in 50.40 around the dogs.

presents an interesting alternative to the favorites, because she is effective on either surface. She has won 4 of 9 and is 2 of 4 on dirt.