Grade I Winners in 'Encino Rematch
by Jack Shinar
Date Posted: 1/11/2008 3:55:14 PM
Last Updated: 8/29/2008 11:37:18 AM

Romance is Diane won the Bayakoa Handicap (gr. II) last month at Hollywood Park.
Photo: Benoit
Grade I winners Romance Is Diane and Tough Tiz's Sis, the respective first two finishers in last month's Bayakoa Handicap (gr. II), tangle once more in the $150,000 El Encino Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Jan. 13.

The El Encino, for 4-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track, also drew the unbeaten Zenyatta for her stakes debut. A field of seven is entered, with Romance Is Diane and Tough Tiz's Sis both assigned top weight of 122.

Trained by Mike Mitchell for Senji Nishimura, Romance Is Diane owns back-to-back stakes wins heading into the El Encino, both accomplished in front-running fashion.

She was the second choice when defeating 19-10 favorite Tough Tiz’s Sis in the 1 1/16-mile Bayakoa at Hollywood Park Dec. 1. Able to to establish the pace under Michael Baze, the California-bred daughter of In Excess proved too tough to overcome in the stretch and won by one length. She won the California Cup Matron Handicap on Santa Anita's Cushion Track by more than six lengths prior to the Bayakoa.

Tough Tiz’s Sis, owned by Watson or Weitman Performances and trained by Bob Baffert, won Oak Tree's Lady's Secret (gr. I) at Santa Anita Oct. 7 by a nose over Hystericalady. The daugher of Tiznow   did not take to the Monmouth Park slop in the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) in her next start, however, struggling home seventh, more than 16 lengths behind Ginger Punch. With her runner-up showing in the Bayakoa, the Kentucky-bred bay filly has earned $419,872 from a 5-2-2 record in 13 starts.

Zenyatta, unbeaten in her only two starts by a combined margin of 6 1/2 lengths during Hollywood Park's fall meeting, will try stakes company for the first time in the El Encino. John Shirreffs trains the daughter of Street Cry for Jerry and Ann Moss.

Dawn After Dawn, scratched from the La Brea Stakes (gr. I) by John Sadler after she tied up slightly prior to the race, returns to action. The Florida-bred daughter of Successful Appeal   has not been out since winning a 6 1/2-furlong  allowance race at Hollywood Nov. 30.

Courtlandt Farms' homebred Indescribable, a daughter of Pleasant Tap trained by Graham Motion, brings a three-race winning streak into her stakes debut. She beat an allowance field on the Hollywood turf in her last start one month ago.

Fleet Caroline, second in the San Clemente (gr. II) on the Del Mar turf in July, and Hucking Hot, most recently sixth in the Dahlia Handicap (gr. IIT) last month, complete the field.

$150,000 El Encino Stakes (gr. II, Race 9, 3:45 p.m.), 4-Year-Old Fillies, 1 1/16 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Indescribable (KY), 115, Rafael Bejarano
2. Zenyatta (KY), 115, David R. Flores
3. Dawn After Dawn (FL), 115, Garrett K. Gomez
4. Hucking Hot (GB), 117, Alex O. Solis
5. Romance Is Diane (CA), 122, Michael C. Baze
6. Tough Tiz's Sis (KY), 122, Victor Espinoza
7. Fleet Caroline (KY), 115, Joseph Talamo


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