Photo: Hollywood Park
Tuscan Evening, turf star of the West, and Forever
Together, champion from the East, are poised for their showdown in the $250,000
Grade I Gamely Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on the Hollywood
Park grass Saturday.
Tuscan Evening, winner of four graded turf stakes at
Santa Anita, completed preparations for the Jerry Hollendorfer stable with a
seven-furlong work in 1:25.60 on Cushion Track Sunday under exercise rider
“We’re ready,” said assistant trainer Dan Ward.
“Forever Together better be ready to run a mile and an eighth in 1:45 and
change, because that’s what we’re going to do.”
Jonathan Sheppard, trainer of Forever Together, said
the 6-year-old mare, would work once more this week before being flown west
Wednesday with assistant Anne Sinchak.
“She worked Wednesday at Camden, S.C.,
but I’m bringing her up here for her next work,” said Sheppard from his Ashwell
Stable training base in West Grove, Pa.
Sheppard explained why he is sending the 2008
female grass champion to Hollywood Park for the
first time. “She’s run in the Just A Game at Belmont
the last two years (finishing third and second, respectively),” said Sheppard.
“That’s a one-turn mile. The Gamely is a mile and an eighth, and I think she’s
better suited to two turns. She’s older and has more stamina now.”
Sheppard has the enviable problem of trying to
find spots to separate three outstanding grass females. He also conditions
Rainbow View, winner of the recent Gallorette Handicap at Pimlico, and
Fantasia, probable for the Just A Game on the Belmont Stakes undercard June 5.
Forever Together, owned by Augustin Stable, has
run well in two previous California
outings at Santa Anita: winning the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf in 2008
and finishing third in the race last year. She has won nine of 21 starts and
“There are some good horses out there, and we’re
facing them on their home ground,” said Sheppard. “But we don’t have to duck
Sheppard will try the Gamely for the second
time after finishing second with Kool Kat Katie behind champion Fiji in 1998.
He said Rajiv Maragh will ride the gray/roan mare for the first time in place
of Julien Leparoux, sidelined with a back injury.
Regular rider Rafael Bejarano will be back on Tuscan
Evening, a 5-year-old Irish-bred mare who has won 10 of 14 American starts and
earned $899,408 for owner Will de Burgh.
The Gamely, the first Grade I of
the meet, boasts a strong supporting cast expected to include Cat by the Tale
(Martin Garcia), General Consensus (Alex Solis), Gotta Have Her (Tyler Baze),
Medaglia d’Amour (Joel Rosario), Princess Haya (Joe Talamo) and Well Monied
Cat by the Tale worked six furlongs on Cushion Track
in 1:14.20 for the Neil Drysdale stable.