'Diva Making Strides for Santa Monica Try
by Blood-Horse Staff
Date Posted: 1/28/2005 8:19:17 PM
Last Updated: 1/30/2005 1:37:27 PM

Island Fashion headlines the field for Sunday's Santa Monica Handicap.
Photo: NYRA Adam Coglianese
With a grade I placing to her credit in her first start in five months, trainer Mark Glatt is looking for a big effort from his 4-year-old filly Elusive Diva in the $250,000 Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I) at Santa Anita Sunday.

A field of 10, headed by multiple grade I winner Island Fashion, was entered Friday for the Santa Monica.

Although Elusive Diva, a daughter of Elusive Quality  , will be facing older fillies and mares in the Santa Monica, the race is the same distance as the La Brea (gr. I) Dec. 27, in which she was forced to set the pace before finishing third behind Alphabet Kisses.

It wasn't the best scenario for the Kentucky-bred. Glatt thinks she'll fare better Sunday, whether she's on the lead or not.

"I don't think she has to be in front to win," Glatt said. "Nobody really wanted the lead the other day, and she's got good natural speed so she found herself on the front end pretty easily. We were hoping to track the leaders but it was a situation where she found herself on the lead. It wasn't ideal for coming off a layoff, but she ran well."

Elusive Diva has a 3-1-2 record from nine starts with earnings of $221,470 for owners Allen and Susan Branch of Los Gatos and John and Doris Konecny of Enumclaw, Wash. She won the Railbird over 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs at Hollywood Park in May.

Elusive Diva worked five furlongs on Santa Anita's fast main track Tuesday in a bullet :59 flat, fastest of 35 drills at the distance.

Trainer Marcelo Polanco named Patrick Valenzuela to ride Island Fashion in the Santa Monica.

"Patrick knows what to do," Polanco said. "He'll put her in a good position. We had a lot of offers (from other riders), but when I talked to Mr. Nielsen (Jeffrey Nielsen, owner of Everest Stables, Inc.) we came up with the decision to use Patrick."

Island Fashion, who shoulders top weight of 120 pounds, missed some training time with a quarter crack two weeks ago, but has trained well since, Polanco said.

Also in the field is Yearly Report, a graded stakes winner at seven furlongs who was entered in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff at Santa Anita on Saturday as well the Santa Monica by trainer Bob Baffert. She carries 119 pounds.

Tamweel, who ran second to Adoration in the Arlington Matron (gr. III) in September, will be ridden by Rene Douglas.

$250,000 Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I), fillies & mares 4 & up, 7 furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight
1. Irgunette, Alex Bisono, 112
2. Tizakitty, Garrett Gomez, 115
3. Salt Champ, Gary Stevens, 116
4. Yearly Report, Jerry Bailey, 119
5. Island Fashion, Pat Valenzuela, 120
6. Royally Chosen, David Flores, 115
7. Platinum Princess, Mike Smith, 112
8. Tamweel, Rene Douglas, 118
9. Resplendency, Casey Fusilier, 114
10. Born to Dance, Danny Sorenson, 113


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