Sent off as the 7-2 second choice in the stakes race that climaxed Friday’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships program, Tuscan Evening prevailed by 1 ¼ lengths over 28-1 longshot Closeout while running the distance in 1:33.50.
Closeout, ridden by Jose Lezcano, nosed out Cat by the Tale and jockey Kieren Fallon for the place in the field of 14. Tizaqueena, the 3-1 favorite, was never a serious factor while finishing tenth.
Tuscan Evening paid $9.80, $5.60 and $4.20. Closeout returned $23.20 and $14.60. Cat by the Tale paid $7.20 to show.
“She ran really good today,” Bejarano said after dismounting in the winner’s circle. “She’s run well with me on the lead and she’s run well up close. I think she’s going to improve a lot off this race. She showed me a big kick in the stretch and we had to run some to hold off those other fillies, but I still had something left.”
After four winless starts in Ireland and England last year, Tuscan Evening was obtained by William de Burgh, of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., and placed in the care of veteran trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. A maiden winner in her first U.S. start, the bay filly rapidly ascended the class ladder. Tuscan Evening won Hollywood Park’s Grade II Royal Heroine Mile last July 11 before losing her next two starts.
The $120,000 winning purse in the 40th running of the Las Palmas elevated her career earnings to $509,408 from a career record of 6-3-5 in 20 starts.
Oak Tree will complement Saturday’s concluding day of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships with a pair of stakes that bookend the eight Breeders’ Cup races. The day’s program commences at 10:05 a.m. with Oak Tree’s $100,000 Damascus Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs. It concludes at 4:25 p.m. with the Grade II, $150,000 Oak Tree Derby for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on turf.