INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Tuscan Evening's perfect 2010 campaign continued with her first Grade 1 win in Saturday's $250,000 Gamely Stakes at Hollywood Park. This time, it was not just the same California-based locals who were chasing her home.
Tuscan Evening held off a late threat from Forever Together, the 2008 champion turf female, to win the Gamely by a half-length.
"It was the same old gang and one new [runner] in there in Forever Together," said winning owner William de Burgh. "For her, this was very important. It was very exciting."
Ridden in the 1 1/8-mile turf race by Rafael Bejarano, Tuscan Evening varied from her typical style of racing on the lead. In the Gamely, she stalked Cat by the Tale through early fractions of 24.24 and 48.35 seconds. Tuscan Evening was within a length of the front on the backstretch and moved closer to the leader through the turn. In early stretch, Bejarano guided Tuscan Evening alongside Cat by the Tale and they took the lead nearing the eighth pole.
"When they turned for home, I thought Rafael had a lot of horse left," Hollendorfer said. "He told me after the race that he did. When I was watching it, I was confident that she'd finish."
When Tuscan Evening did not make the lead, Hollendorfer said he was not overly concerned and that Bejarano "did a perfect job adjusting."
Tuscan Evening finished 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:47.30 for her fifth consecutive graded stakes win this year. At the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting, Tuscan Evening won four graded stakes, including the Grade 2 Santa Barbara Handicap over 1 1/4 miles on turf in April.
Forever Together finished three-quarters of a length in front of Cat by the Tale, who was followed by Well Monied, General Consensus, Gotta Have Her, and Princess Haya.
Forever Together was making her second start of the year in the Gamely, having finished second in the Grade 2 Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland in April.
"I thought she was very game," trainer Jonathan Sheppard said. "It's hard to run down speed on this track, but she gave it a good try."
Trainer Neil Drysdale said before the race that Cat by the Tale was no better than the third best filly in the race, and was still delighted with the result. "It was a lovely race," he said. "Those are two superior fillies."
Tuscan Evening, 5, has won 11 of 26 starts and $1,049,408. Her long-term goal is the $750,000 Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park on Aug. 21, with a possible start in the interim, Hollendorfer said.