Tommy Town Thoroughbreds' It Tiz Well showed her class when she defeated a field of 11 3-year-old fillies in a game effort to take the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 11 at Oaklawn Park. Watch Video
Under jockey Corey Nakatani, the daughter of Arch raced just off the pace in the 1 1/16-mile test in her first two-turn try before digging in around the second turn and winning a stretch duel with Benner Island to score by one length.
"I've always been really high on her since I've worked her back in January," Nakatani said of the filly, who was making her first start Saturday outside of Southern California. "I've had so much faith in her from working her in the mornings."
Longshot Someday Soon went for the early lead out of the gate, setting fractions of :23.06 and :47.03 through a half mile. Tapa Tapa Tapa inched up from second and took over the advantage, maintaining a narrow margin as It Tiz Well began to make her move. Six furlongs went in 1:11.58.
Into the stretch, it was Benner Island and It Tiz Well battling toward the wire, but It Tiz Well outkicked her rival and stopped the clock in 1:42.61. Elate finished third with a late run, 3 3/4 lengths behind Benner Island.
In her other graded stakes attempt, the Jerry Hollendorfer trainee finished 7 1/2 lengths behind Unique Bella in the Jan. 8 Santa Ynez (G2). She now has a record of 3-1-1 from five starts.
"Jerry has had a lot of confidence in her... And thought this would be a good spot to get away from (Unique Bella) and get her around two turns," said assistant trainer Don Chatlos. "(Hollendorfer) knew Corey knows Oaklawn and (that he) had a good, tactical filly.
"We love it here, we know she likes it here, so we'll see what (the owners) come up with (for her next start)."
It Tiz Well returned $7.80, $4.80, and $3 across the board.
Bred in Kentucky by Allen and Susan Branch, the winning filly was sold to Tommy Town for $230,000 out of the Greenfield Farm consignment to the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale.
Two races earlier on the card in the $125,000 Hot Springs Stakes, odds-on favorite Whitmore notched his first stakes victory in a dominating fashion and extended his winning streak to three in a row for owners Robert LaPenta, Harry Rosenblum, and Southern Springs Stables. Watch Video
The 4-year-old Pleasantly Perfect gelding, under jockey Ricardo Santana Jr., was checked early in the race but was finally able to break through the eight-horse field coming out of the turn and galloped home unthreatened to win by six lengths.
In the six-furlong test for older horses, Holy Boss got a head in front of Candy Ruby, Recount, and Storm Advisory, who were lined up four-wide across the track as they battled for the early lead. Holy Boss set fractions of :21.60 and :44.83 through a half mile. Whitmore raced on the rail, near the back.
Around the turn, Santana had to check Whitmore before asking him to go outside of Holy Boss to find an opening heading into the stretch. The Ron Moquett-trained runner powered home to hit the wire in 1:08.72. Ivan Fallunovalot finished second, and Fish Trappe Road was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third.
Whitmore returned $3.60, $2.60, and $2.40 across the board.
Bred in Kentucky by John Liviakis, Whitmore is out of the unraced Scat Daddy mare Melody's Spirit. He now boasts five wins from 10 starts, with earnings of $637,000.