Darley Stud's Tizdubai stalked the pacesetting favorite Dirty Diana into the stretch before blowing past her rival to record an easy four-length triumph in the $150,000 Sorrento Stakes (gr. II) for 2-year-old fillies at Del Mar Saturday.
Ridden by David Flores for trainer Eoin Harty, the full sister to two-time Breeders' Cup Classic winner Tiznow competed the 6 1/2-furlong Sorrento in 1:17 on a fast track. It was another 4 1/2 lengths back to the third-place finisher, 28-1 shot Solar Fire.
Tizdubai is a California-bred bay daughter of Cee's Tizzy out of the Seattle Song mare Cee's Song purchased for $950,000 as a yearling at Keeneland in November 2001. She broke her maiden in her only other start at Hollywood Park on July 6 while encountering traffic problems and sustaining a minor quarter grab at the start of the race.
She showed no ill effects from the injury Saturday.
Dirty Diana, ridden by Mike Smith for trainer Bob Baffert, attempted to duplicate her easy triumph of two weeks ago in the C.T.B.A. Stakes. She jumped out to a 2 1/2-length lead while completing an opening quarter-mile in :22. She lengthened that to a three-length advantage entering the turn while finishing off the half in a stakes record-setting pace of :44 1/5. In the stretch, though, Tizdubai had her measure and she smoked past in the final furlong.
"I thought there would be more speed in the race, considering the past performances of the other horses," Harty noted. "I thought Bob's filly would be hooked up with a couple of others and they would burn themselves out and I'd come and get them. I didn't think I would do all the chasing, but I'm glad I was. The instructions were to let the other guys go and burn themselves out and then we'd come along at the end and pick them up in the end. When it didn't turn out that way, we had to go to Plan B.
"She's bred to stretch out and I think that's going to be forte. God willing, she'll still be around for the Oak Leaf and the Breeders' Cup (Juvenile Fillies), because I think she's going to relish the ground. I don't know whether she'll be good enough on the day of the (Breeders' Cup) race, but that will be her bag, so to speak."
The Sorrento Stakes is the major steppingstone to the $250,000 Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) at seven furlongs Saturday, Aug. 30. Harty, who trained Tempera to victory in the 2001 Sorrento only to finish third with her in the Debutante, said he would consider Tizdubai for that race as well.
"I will monitor her between now and then," he said. "I don't want to make the same mistakes with her I made with Tempera. They were my mistakes not the horse's. I'm going to train her as if she's going to that race. If she's ready, I'll run her."
Tizdubai earned $90,000 for the victory to increase her total to $116,400 in two starts. She paid $6, $3 and $2.80 as the 2-1 second choice in the field of eight. Dirty Diana, the 11-10 public choice, returned $2.60 and $2.40. Solar Fire, who overcame an awkward start with Gary Stevens riding, showed for $4.20. The $2 exacta was worth $13.