Peter Abruzzo and Barry Thiriot's multiple stakes winner U S S Tinosa, who will make his next start in Sunday's San Felipe S. (gr. II), blew out three furlongs in :36 3/5, breezing, with jockey Kent Desormeaux in the irons Thursday morning at Santa Anita. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer was on hand for the work, which he clocked in splits of :12 and :24 2/5 before catching a gallop out time of a half-mile in :51.
"It was just what I wanted," Hollendorfer said. "I think Kent was worried about doing too much with him because he was really (standing) up on him the whole way. But I caught him getting the last eighth in :11 3/5, which is excellent."
U S S Tinosa shipped in to Southern California from his Northern California base on Monday in order to become more acclimated with the Santa Anita surface. Though he won the February 8 Sham Stakes at 1 1/8 miles over the track, every little bit helps, according to Hollendorfer.
"This one has taken a little more time to bloom," the trainer explained. "But if there's ever a good time, this is the right time to do it. If he can be competitive here, he can be competitive anywhere."
Despite the very blustery conditions Thursday morning, U S S Tinosa was a consummate professional, a fact that wasn't lost on his pilot.
"He's pretty confident," the recent Hall of Fame-nominated jockey said. "I could have done jumping jacks in front of him and he wouldn't have moved. For the entire three-eighths, I was talking to him to keep him calm, but I really didn't need to."
U S S Tinosa, a gray son of Foxhound and the Wolf Power mare Angel Puss, was bred in Ohio and began his career there, winning two stakes for Buckeye-breds before being switched to Hollendorfer's care. He's come a long way to be considered a top Triple Crown contender, a fact not lost on his trainer.
"To be fair, the guy who had him before me was training the horse on a farm," Hollendorfer explained. "He won those stakes from a training track on a farm. That says a lot."
U S S Tinosa went on to claim seconds in the grassy Manila Stakes at Arlington Park and in the Gold Rush Stakes on the dirt at Golden Gate Fields in his first two starts for his new connections. In his first graded attempt, he was third behind Danthebluegrassman and stablemate Cappuchino in the Golden Gate Derby (gr. III) and followed that effort up with a 4 1/2-length win in the Sham. Overall, U S S Tinosa owns a career line of 9-3-3-2 and has banked $188,259.
As of Thursday, a small field is expected for the San Felipe, including Siphonic, Puerto Banus, U S S Tinosa, Shah Jehan and possibly Fonz's. Japanese-bred Sunday Break was dropped from consideration Wednesday after trainer Neil Drysdale decided to send the colt out of town for his next start, which has yet to be decided.