Tiago, winner of the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) and third in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), heads a field of six in Saturday’s $350,000 Swaps Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) at Hollywood Park.
Based at Hollywood Park, Tiago will be making his first start over the Cushion Track while seeking his third career win in his seventh start. Between the Santa Anita Derby and the Belmont Stakes, the homebred son of Pleasant Tap finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
“The Kentucky Derby . . . I don’t think that was one of his better races obviously,” trainer John Shirreffs said. “Coming out of the gate Mike (Smith) had to kind of hustle him along a little bit, so I don’t know if it was just immaturity or being distracted by the big crowd, but it took him awhile to get into the race.
“He came out of the Belmont in great shape and has worked well for the Swaps,” Shirreffs added. “We’re happy with the way he ran in the Belmont. I think any time they can be placed in a classic race is very good.”
Shirreffs and Smith will be looking for a smooth trip Saturday as Tiago breaks from the three-post. He enters the 1 1/8-mile event with earnings of $594,320 for Jerry and Ann Moss.
Tiago was given 122 pounds in the Swaps BC, four more than Desert Code and 10 more than the other three horses in the field.
Desert Code, a winner of four of nine races and $231,434, scored a front-running victory over Albertus Maximus in the Affirmed Handicap (gr. III) on the Cushion Track June 17.
Albertus Maximus overcame a slow pace while closing ground in the 1 1/16-mile Affirmed.
“I was getting to the winner inside the eighth pole and I feel much better about the added distance,” trainer Gary Mandella said. “We’ll be more aggressive this time.”
Awesome Gambler registered an impressive victory in the Alydar at the Swaps distance on May 26, but finished fourth as the favorite in the Affirmed. He has won two of five starts for earnings of $91,214.
Augment enters following an allowance victory for the hot Paddy Gallagher barn, while Souvenir Slew enters following a third-place finish in the Colonial Turf Cup (gr. IIIT).
$350,000 Swaps Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II, Race 8, 4:50 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/8 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Augment (KY), 112, Alex O. Solis
2. Albertus Maximus (KY), 112, David R. Flores
3. Tiago (KY), 122, Mike E. Smith
4. Desert Code (KY), 118, Richard Migliore
5. Awesome Gambler (KY), 112, Victor Espinoza
6. Souvenir Slew (KY), 112, Michael C. Baze