ARCADIA, Calif. (April 9, 2009) – Garrett Gomez, the nation’s leading jockey in purse earnings the last three years and America’s Eclipse Award winner the last two, will employ a final opportunity on Sunday to equal a Santa Anita record for most stakes victories by a jockey in a single season, which is 19.

Gomez, who left Santa Anita to ride full-time at the Keeneland meeting that opened on April 3, returns to handle the enigmatic 4-year-old Irish-bred filly Tuscan Evening in the Grade III, $100,000 Las Cienegas Handicap for fillies and mares at 6 ½ furlongs on turf.

Tuscan Evening has performed exceptionally for Gomez in her two starts in this country, both over Santa Anita’s downhill turf course. She won easily on both occasions, first by 5 and then by 3 ¾ lengths. Her maiden win, which came in her U.S. debut, followed 11 racing setbacks in Europe.

Despite her winless ways in Great Britain, Tuscan Evening had been competing against formidable opposition. She lost by a head to Halfway to Heaven in last May’s Group I Irish 1000 Guineas at The Curragh only to be disqualified from second to fourth for causing stretch interference. Her odds were 66-1.

The Las Cienegas, which attracted a field of nine, will serve as a stern test for Tuscan Evening, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer for William deBurgh, as she makes her first start against stakes competition in this country.

If successful, Gomez will tie the Santa Anita stakes record shared by Laffit Pincay Jr., 1982-82, and Corey Nakatani, 1996-97. One day after the Keeneland opening, the 37-year-old jockey returned to move within one of the mark by riding Pioneerof the Nile to victory in the Gr. I Santa Anita Derby. He was unsuccessful, however, with three other stakes mounts that day. According to agent Ron Anderson, the Las Cienegas will mark Gomez’s final appearance at the meet that closes one week from Sunday.

Dawn After Dawn, a 5-year-old mare trained by John Sadler for Ike and Dawn Thrash, is the most accomplished runner in the field with earnings of $516,283 from a 6-3-3 record in 22 starts and will carry high weight of 118 pounds. Joel Rosario will be aboard the Florida-bred who is coming off stakes victories in her last two starts.

After winning two of three starts on turf early in her career, Dawn After Dawn raced almost exclusively on dirt or synthetics before taking the Wishing Well Handicap over Santa Anita’s downhill layout and the Moscow Burning at one mile on turf in her last two races. Her career accomplishments include a victory in last year’s Grade II La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita and a second to Nashoba’s Key in the Grade I Santa Margarita.

Gotta Have Her, weighted at 117 pounds, has been extremely consistent for trainer Jenine Sahadi and Green Lantern Stables while posting a 5-4-2 record in 17 starts for earnings of $336,023. She has been victorious in two starts while sprinting over the downhill course. Tyler Baze will ride the 5-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Royal Academy.

The complete field for the Las Cienegas Handicap, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Trouble Maker, Victor Espinoza, 114; Bel Air Sizzle, no rider, 116; Tuscan Evening, Garrett Gomez, 113; Reba Is Tops, Joseph Talamo, 117; Dawn After Dawn, Joel Rosario, 118; Gorgeous Goose, Rafael Bejarano, 115; Gotta Have Her, Tyler Baze, 117; Star of Whitney, Aaron Gryder, 116, and Macadamia, Jose Valdivia Jr., 113.

The Las Cienegas is scheduled as the seventh race on a nine-race program that commences at 12:30 p.m. It will be telecast by HRTV.