California-bred Tiz Flirtatious, who comes off an impressive second-place finish in the Grade I Matriarch Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park on Nov. 25, will seek her first graded stakes victory in Santa Anita’s Grade III, $150,000 Robert J. Frankel Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf this Sunday.
Owned and bred by Pamela Ziebarth and trained by Marty Jones, Tiz Flirtatious drew the outside post in a nine-horse field for the Frankel. Although forced wide into the first turn of the one-mile Matriarch, Tiz Flirtatious mounted a furious stretch rally and was beaten one length.
In her only other two-turn effort, the Jones trainee was attentive to the early pace in the Grade II La Canada on Jan.22, and finished third, beaten five lengths going 1 1/16 miles. The Frankel will be her third start since going to the sidelines following the La Canada and it would appear the 4-year-old daughter of Tizbud is sitting on a big effort. She’ll again get the services of Rafael Bejarano, who rode her to a first-out maiden win on Oct. 2, 2011, and who was aboard in the Matriarch.
Lightly raced, Tiz Flirtatious has earnings of $244,800 from a mark of 6-4-1-1.
Qaraaba, a five-time minor stakes winner in her native England, was impressive going a mile and a sixteenth in her U.S. debut Nov. 15, taking a second-condition allowance from well off the pace while winning by 1 ½ lengths at odds of 4-5.
Multiple Eclipse Award-winner Julien Leparoux will stick with the 5-year-old mare on Sunday and will hope to have a lively pace to run at. Owned by Bamford and Tabor, Qaraaba is trained by Simon Callahan and has worked three times since winning on Nov. 15, most recently a five furlong drill in 1:01 handily at Santa Anita on Dec. 22.
With four wins to her credit from seven starts this year, Qaraaba has an overall record of 14-6-2-1 with earnings of $81,119.
Callahan will also send out French-bred Camelia Rose, who although she has two close second-place finishes to her credit, remains winless from eight stateside starts. Unlike her stablemate, Camelia Rose, figures to be forwardly placed in the Frankel. She will again be ridden by Mario Gutierrez.
Aside from a last-place run in the Grade I Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park on Sept. 29, California-bred Halo Dolly has done little wrong of late, as she has won seven out of her last 12 starts, including her most recent, the Miss America Stakes at Golden Gate on Oct. 20.
A 4-year-old daughter of the Saint Ballado stallion Popular, Halo Dolly is equally at home on the front-end or pressing the pace. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, she is owned by Hoefflin, O’Farrell, Schneider and partners. She has earnings of $666,896 from a record of 24-14-3-2.
Jockey Mike Smith will try his hand again with Vivo Per Lei, with whom he was a troubled third in the Grade II Goldikova Stakes at Santa Anita on Nov. 4. A 5-year-old mare by Empire Maker, Vivo Per Lei figures to press the Frankel pace and will hope for clearer sailing from post seven. Trained by John Shirreffs, she is owned by Eurowest Bloodstock. Her record stands at 17-3-1-3 with earnings of $154,832.
The complete field for the Robert J. Frankel, which will be run as the eighth on a nine-race card, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Camelia Rose, Mario Gutierrez, 119; Halo Dolly, Joe Talamo, 124; Qaraaba, Julien Leparoux, 119; Hard to Resist, Corey Nakatani, 119; Imperialistic Diva, David Flores, 119; I Dazzle, Jose Valdivia, Jr., 119; Vivo Per Lei, Mike Smith, 119; More Chocolate, Garrett Gomez, 117, and Tiz Flirtatious, Rafael Bejarano, 119.