Coming off a rough trip in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) in which she finished seventh -- more than 17 lengths behind Rags to Riches -- the Bob Baffert trained bay daughter of Tiznow woke up in a big way in her synthetic track debut. She earned her first graded stakes win for owners Watson and Weitman Performances LLC.
“After the Kentucky Oaks I brought her back here and gave her a good stiff workout over the track," said Baffert, who is having a rough meeting at Hollywood with an 8% win rate. "We like this filly a lot, it doesn’t seem that distance is a problem and I liked the way she was in a good spot today. She’s a good horse with a nice long stride so she was suited for this Cushion Track.
"It’s been a really tough meet and the fields have been challenging, when you come here to race you better be ready to run your shoes off because there’s some really good horses out here. I’m not sure what’s in store for this filly, I just wanted to see what she did here and how she comes out of it.”
Positioned on the inside of pacesetter Follow the Clues by jockey Aaron Gryder, Tough Tiz's Sis edged away on the turn of the 1 1/16-mile test, opening up a two-length advantage as they straightened for the stretch run. Silver Swallow, the 4-5 choice who tracked the leaders along the inside, was in a great spot for Alex Solis as they angled out a bit for the stretch run. But Silver Swallow soon came under heavy pressure from Solis to no avail when Tough Tiz's Sis showed no sign of backing up through the lane.
Follow the Clues led the first half-mile in solid fractions of :23 4/5 and :47 1/5 before Tough Tiz's Sis put a head in front after six furlongs in 1:11 2/5. She came home in 1:43 1/5.
Gryder, who rode Tough Tiz's Sis for the first time Sunday, said he preferred to let her roll along on the inside of the pacesetter rather than take her back and stalk on the outside.
"She's got a long stride and she uses little energy to keep her position," Gryder said. "I worked her two works ago when she worked out of the gate here in 12 and change and she worked awesome that day. It's nice when you work good horses and get the opportunity to ride them."
Tough Tiz's Sis carried high weight of 119 pounds, four more than Silver Swallow.
"I had a wonderful trip. Can't complain, really. I followed the pace, got through on the inside," Solis said. "The other horse was just better today."
Winner of the WinStar Oaks at Sunland in March, Tough Tiz's Sis improved to 4-1-1 in eight lifetime starts. Sunday's winning share of $63,840 increased her earnings to $253,872. Gary Tussey bred the bay filly, who is out of the Taylor's Falls mare Leaseholder, in Kentucky.
Sent off as the second choice in a field of five, Tough Tiz's Sis paid $6.40, $2.80 and $2.40. Silver Swallow, with her third graded stakes runner-up performance for trainer and part owner Bruce Headley, returned $2.40 and $2.10. It was 6 1/4 lengths back to third-place finisher High Cholesterol, $2.80 to show under Michael Baze. Follow the Clues and an unruly Ashley's Kitty trailed. Hucking Hot, Spenditallbaby and Seaside Affair were scratched.