Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer for California owner William de Burgh, Tuscan Evening was posting her eighth win in 23 starts, with nine placings. With the $90,000 winner’s share of the $150,000 purse, the 5-year-old Irish-bred daughter of Oasis Dream improved her career bankroll to $719,408. The victory was the second in a row for Tuscan Evening, who won the Monrovia (gr. IIIT) at 6 1/2 furlongs on turf in her prior start. Previously, the mare had closed out her 2009 season with a victory in the Las Palmas Handicap (gr. IIT) and a second to Ventura in the Matriarch (gr. IT).
Sent off as the even-money favorite in the 11-horse field of fillies and mares, Tuscan Evening was settled into second behind longshot Czechers and jockey Kent Desormeaux, who set quick fractions of :22.70, :45.69, and 1:09.78 through the first six furlongs over the Santa Anita lawn.
Rafael Bejarano began to move Tuscan Evening coming out of the second turn and the mare took over in midstretch, stopping the timer in 1:21.64 for seven furlongs as she continued to the wire, getting the distance of a mile in 1:33.47. Another longshot, Eissoai, closed along the rail to get second, while Czechers had enough left to hold on for third.
The winner paid $4.20, $2.80, and $2.10. Eissoai paid $20.40 and $10.00, with Czechers worth $7.00. The $2 exacta payoff was $80.20 and the $2 trifecta was worth $876. Completing the order were Cat by the Tale, Pretty Unusual, Spring Style, Meydan Princess, Dreamalong, Starlarks, Damaniyat Girl, and Applause.
"It was a perfect ride by Rafael (Bejarano)," Hollendorfer said. "He didn’t chase after a real fast pace and that’s what allowed him to win. I haven’t made any plans about her next race. We’re going to look at several different things. We might consider the Kilroe Mile although I’m almost totally against running against colts. I’m sure she can get more distance. I’m not sure if Will (de Burgh) believes in that, but I think he does."
"I knew the number four (Czechers) had speed and that he (Kent Desormeaux) could send her or try to put pressure on me," Bejarano said. "He sent her, so I wanted to stay behind him and let my horse stay more relaxed. From the three-eighths, my horse has a good turn of foot, she can really fly. She came running and I didn’t have to worry about anybody else coming late. I was on the best horse."