The last and only time Santa Teresita took her game to a traditional dirt course, the outcome was, quite bluntly, underwhelming. She showed up in the Delaware Handicap last July, after finishing second to champion Zenyatta in her previous start, the Milady Handicap at Santa Anita, and finished seventh, beaten 26 ¼-lengths by Hysterical Lady. But maybe there’s more than meets the eye.

“It wasn’t a successful trip, to say the least,” said Nick Hines, racing manager for Southern Equine Stable, owners of Santa Teresita. “But I also think it was the perfect storm. She just had a tough race against an awesome filly, plus she was shipping for the first time, had a rough trip in the Delaware Handicap, and she even bled a little.”

That might explain part of the poor performance, but why even bother to test the waters again, when she’s had such enormous success at her home track?

“There are a lot of good and rich races out there on dirt,” explained Hines. “If she runs well in the Sixty Sails and earns a good figure, we can try Grade 1 races such as the Ruffian and the Go For Wand, or even try the Delaware Handicap again with that $1 million purse.

“But we have to take care of business here, first. Eric (Guillot) isn’t thrilled about drawing the 1-post, but seriously, we’re supposed to beat these type of fillies, dirt or no dirt.”

Terrific young jockey, Joe Talamo, will ride the California invader, who was assigned high weight of 122 pounds.

The $200,000, Grade 2 Sixty Sails Handicap attracted five other fillies and mares who hope that Santa Teresita’s best racing is on synthetics.

One of them, Swift Temper, has already proven a fondness for dirt racing. The Giant Causeway mare won a Grade 3 at Ellis Park last summer and her most recent effort was a strong second in the Grade 3 Sabin Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

“This filly is doing very well,” said her trainer Dale Romans. “If she runs her race, she can compete with just about anybody right now. It’s a lot of money for a Grade 3 and it’s not far from Churchill where she has been training, so why not slip up there and take a shot a at a big pot.

Veteran Hawthorne reignsman, Chris Emigh, will get the mount.

Two locally based mares also figure prominently in the 1 1/8-miles test. They include Kathleens Reel and Apple Martini, the lone Illinois-bred in the race and a full sister to Illinois Derby runner up Giant Oak.

Frank Kirby trains Kathleens Reel for Eagle Valley Farm: “It looks to me like she’s gonna have a pretty good shot at it. My filly is doing really well, and I’ll have no excuses, actually.”

Kathleens Reel will look to improve upon her third-place finish of a year ago. Inez Karlsson will be in the saddle.

Chris Block trains Apple Martini for Virginia Tarra Trust: “We’re trying to take a shot at a race that came up a little lighter than we anticipated, outside of the Grade 1 winner. This is a chance to get a little more graded black type underneath the family.”

Apple Martini’s connections have opted for this spot instead of next week’s Champion’s Day, restricted to Illinois-breds. Eddie Perez will be aboard for the ride.

Two reformed claimers, Quick Notice and Mizzcan’tbewrong, complete the field.