(from Santa Anita report)
Diamond A Racing’s Tiz West withstood a determined bid by favored Afleet Ruler to prevail by three-quarters of a length in Santa Anita’s $109,900 La Puente Stakes for 3-year-olds on the grass, denying 18-year-old jockey Joe Talamo his fifth victory on the 11-race program.
With Victor Espinoza in the saddle, Tiz West tracked early pacesetter Pistol Pete Afleet in the one-mile turf event for 3-year-olds, gained control mid-stretch and maintained his advantage over the hard-charging runner-up, ridden by Talamo. The final time was 1:34.38.
Ez Dreamer, ridden by Alex Solis, edged Capture the Call for the show, a length behind Afleet Ruler in the field reduced to eight by the late scratches of Nevada Worrier, Lucky Honey and Phantom Strike.
The mutuels on the winner were $9.60, $5.20, and $3. Afleet Ruler paid $4.60 and $3.20 while Ez Dreamer returned $3.20 to show.
The victory was the second in five starts for the homebred son of Gone West--Tizso (by Cee's Tizzy). The wins have come in his only grass tries. While running on synthetic surfaces previously, Tiz West had posted a second and two thirds.
“He’s never run a bad race,” said Richard Mandella, who trains the bay colt for Gerald Ford of Dallas, who races as Diamond A Racing Corp.
“He won nicely on the turf (on March 24), and this race came up, so I thought he’d love it,” added Mandella. “Get while the gettin’s good.”
Commented Espinoza: “This horse is learning race by race.”
The La Puente victory was worth $65,940 to increase Tiz West’s career earnings to $118,220.
Earlier on the card, Talamo guided Santa Teresita to her third straight victory when the 4-year-old Lemon Drop Kid filly defeated Model by two lengths in the $78,650 Santa Lucia Handicap for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles.