Grade I winner The Tin Man continues on the comeback trail for trainer Richard Mandella in Sunday's 1 1/4-mile San Marcos Stakes (gr. IIT) on the Santa Anita turf.The 8-year-old gelded son of two-time Horse of the Year Affirmed won by a head in his first race in 14 months, defeating the front-running Captain Squire at a mile in a classified allowance on the Santa Anita grass on Dec. 28. Mandella expects continued improvement from his veteran Kentucky-bred, whose demeanor around the barn is mellow.
"He's just a big pet," Mandella said. "I thought there was room for a lot of improvement going into his last race, so I'm hoping for that on Sunday."
The Tin Man has an 8-4-2 record from 22 starts, with earnings of $1,136,860 for owner/breeders Ralph and Aury Todd of Santa Ynez. The dark bay won the Clement L. Hirsch (gr. IT) at Santa Anita in October 2002 at the 10-furlong distance. His last stakes victory came in the February 2003 San Luis Obispo Handicap (gr. IIT) by 9 1/2 lengths on a yielding Santa Anita course.
He worked seven furlongs on Santa Anita's firm turf Monday in 1:26 1/5 with dogs up.