Michael Cooper and Pamela Ziebarth’s Tizdejavu made his turf debut a winning one by holding off favored Sailor’s Cap by a neck in the 17th running of the $174,450 Crown Royal American Turf (Grade III) for three-year-olds on Friday afternoon at Churchill Downs.
Tizdejavu covered the distance over a “yielding” turf course in 1:46.14 under jockey Garrett Gomez.
Trained by Greg Fox, Tizdejavu increased his record to 5-2-2-1 and boosted his earnings to $132,848 with the first-place check of $103,833. Tizdejavu had made his first four starts on Polytrack surfaces at Keeneland and Turfway Park.
Tizdejavu maintained a clear lead while taking the nine-horse field through fractions of :24.64, :49.15 and 1:13.96. The homebred son of Tiznow out of the Dixie Brass mare Remember When, opened a two-length lead at midstretch and was all out to stave off the final bid by Sailor’s Cap under Edgar Prado.
Going off as the longest shot in the race, Tizdejavu returned mutuels of $44.60, $14.40 and $6.80. Sailor’s Cap returned $5 and $4 while Nistle’s Crunch, ridden by Calvin Borel, finished another 1 ¼ lengths back in third and returned $3.80 to show.
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 3, 2008. The track’s 2008 Spring Meet runs from April 26 through July 6. Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record six times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.
POST-RACE QUOTES: THE CROWN ROYAL AMERICAN TURF
Garrett Gomez (winning jockey, Tizdejavu) – “He was running good. He was starting to get a little tired (at the end of the race). It’s deep out there. He’s a young horse, first time on the grass and much less first time on the grass with a soft yielding turf the way it was. It was asking a lot of him. I thought a lot of the colt. He showed me he’s got some real ability, and it was a pleasure to be on him.”
“They (other horses challenging for the lead) were pretty much the whole way on him. He kept finding more for me. The more I asked, the more he gave. He kept fighting his way around there.”
“There was no real plan (to take the early lead). A lot of it depends on the way horses respond. You never know how they’re going to handle the grass the first time. Once I got him moving and into a nice rhythm, he was handling it fine. After that, he was good for me.”
Greg Fox (winning trainer, Tizdejavu) – “I worked him on the grass at Keeneland, and it may not look like much in :51-and-four, but it was the cliché – it was how he did it. He went :29 the first quarter and :22 the last quarter, showing he could really quicken.
“He seems to be versatile. Today was big. He really stepped up today.
“We had Garrett Gomez. I didn’t have to tell him what to do. With Prussian scratching, it left a void up front, at least on paper.”
Note: Fox said he would look at the Arlington series of summer 3-year-old turf stakes as well as those at Colonial Downs for Tizdejavu.
Edgar Prado (jockey, Sailor’s Cap, 2nd) – “I was where I wanted to be early on. I started to make my move about the half-mile pole, saved some ground and made a nice run around the turn. The winner just kept on trying…It was pretty soft out there.”
Calvin Borel (jockey, Nistle’s Crunch, 3rd) – “I had the good trip again (He saved ground and finished thurd with Magger Bags in the Edgewood Stakes earlier.). He ran a good race and we just got outrun at the end. There’s isn’t much you can do when that happens. It’s getting a little tough out there. That course is very deep right now. It’s good we’re not running on it any more today.”
Kent Desormeaux (jockey, Halo Najib, 4th) – “He wouldn’t give up. He kept trying. He’s ornery. He stuck in there the whole time and kept trying. You have to like a horse like that.”