Taking advantage of a quick pace, Tiz a Minister rallied from last to win the Grade III, $100,750 Affirmed Handicap Sunday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
Victimized by slow fractions when third as the 11-10 favorite
against fellow California breds in the Snow Chief Stakes April 27, Tiz a
Minister received a favorable set up and earned his first graded
victory by one length.
The win was the third in 13 starts for the 3-year-old son of
Ministers Wild Cat and the Cee’s Tizzy mare Tiz a Mistress. He increased
his earnings to $420,780.
All of his wins have come in 11 starts since he was claimed for $40,000 by trainer Paul Aguirre for S.A.Y. Racing, LLC last Aug. 2 at Del Mar.
Still trailing with about three-eighths of a mile to run, Tiz a
Minister finished strongly along the inside under jockey Corey Nakatani
and was going away at the finish as the 5-1 fourth choice in the field
The victory was the first in a graded stakes at Hollywood Park for
Aguirre since Coconut Girl won the Desert Stormer Handicap – then a
Grade III – in 2004. Nakatani earned his third Affirmed win, having scored previously with Mr. Purple (1995) and Deputy Commander (1997).
Successful for the second time in five appearances over Cushion Track
– he had earned his maiden victory locally last Nov. 11 – Tiz a
Minister completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.79. He paid $12.40, $5.40
“If they give him an opportunity, he’ll take it,’’ said Aguirre.
“When he was turning for home, I thought he could hit the board. And
then at the sixteenth, I was thinking he might get there.
“I told (Nakatani) that was a great Calvin Borel imitation. That
ride was definitely the difference between winning and losing. I’ve
always had the opinion that he’s a middle distance horse, but we’ll
absolutely consider the (Grade II, $150,000) Swaps (Stakes July 4) if
everything goes right.’’
Third behind Violence and Fury Kapcori in the Grade I CashCall
Futurity last Dec. 15 in his most recent appearance for Hall of Fame
trainer Bob Baffert at Betfair Hollywood Park, Den’s Legacy got the lead
from tiring stablemate Manando in the stretch, but couldn’t match the
onrushing Tiz a Minister in the closing yards.
Seeking his third win in four starts over Cushion Track, Manando was
hustled from his outside post to gain the early lead from Broadway
Empire, who was stretching out for the first time, but had to go fast to
do so. The opening quarter was run in 23.36 seconds and the half-mile
A winner of his previous two starts at Betfair Hollywood Park by a
combined 12 ½ lengths, Manando, the 19-10 favorite, had little to give
late and wound up three-quarters of a length behind Den’s Legacy. Dice
Flavor was 1 ½ lengths back in fourth. Just Win Baby, Broadway Empire,
Dirty Swagg and Counting Days completed the order of finish.
Remaining winless in five starts in 2013, Den’s Legacy returned $3.80 and $2.80 while the show price on Manando was $2.80.
Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens was off his mounts Sunday due to
some soreness after being unseated in Saturday’s seventh race. Stevens
was thrown when favored Two Blue Hens ducked out on the first turn of
the turf race for maiden fillies.
Stevens will be at Belmont Park this week. He has the return call on
Preakness upsetter Oxbow in the Belmont Stakes, a race he’s won three
times – Thunder Gulch (1995), Victory Gallop (1998) and Point Given
Royal Tiger, one of the horses Stevens was supposed to ride Sunday,
won the sixth race – a $54,250 optional claimer – by 14 lengths under
jockey Tyler Baze.