Tizdejavu again stamped himself as a major player in the 3-year-old turf ranks with another effortless victory, this time in the July 12 American Derby (gr. IIT) at Arlington Park.
With Rene Douglas riding for the first time, Tizdejavu seized command at the start of the 1 3/16-mile turf event and never had an anxious moment against five challengers. He’s now three-for-three on the turf, with victories in the American Turf (gr. IIIT) at and Jefferson Cup (gr. IIT) Churchill Downs, and the $250,000 American Derby.
Tizdejavu, owned and bred by Michael Cooper and Pamela Ziebarth, is a 3-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Tiznow out of the Dixie Brass mare Remember When. He’s trained by Greg Fox.
Tizdejavu popped the gate in the American Derby, run on turf rated soft, and set easy fractions of :25.39 for the opening quarter-mile, :51.93 for the half-mile, 1:16.83 for six furlongs, and 1:40.80 for a mile. He finished the 1 3/16 miles well within himself in 1:59.88.
Longshot Sir Henry sat in third most of the way and rallied for second, 2 1/4 lengths of Ablaze With Spirit, who had a nose on Boss Laffite. Tizdejavu paid $3.40 to win as the odds-on choice.
Blue Exit and Amazing Results were program scratches, which left a field of six.
“He got a nice, comfortable, relaxed lead,” Fox said after the race. “That’s something he really enjoys. Rene rated him perfectly, so there was plenty (in the tank) for the whole race. I was surprised (he got away with easy fractions). I watched the earlier turf races, and the pace was a lot stronger in both of them. Rene was going to make whatever adjustments were necessary.”
Tizdejavu, who never has finished worse than third in seven career starts, all this year, broke his maiden on Polytrack at Turfway Park in February, then finished second and third, respectively, in entry-level allowance company on the synthetic surface. He made his stakes debut in the American Turf at Churchill.
Earlier on the Arlington program, G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s Communique saved ground early, made a wide rally into the stretch, and drew off to win the $150,000 Modesty Handicap (gr. IIIT) by 3 3/4 lengths under Douglas. The daughter of Smart Strike covered the 1 3/16 miles on soft turf in 1:58.89.
The victory gave trainer George “Rusty” Arnold a graded stakes double on Arlington’s Million Preview day card. Three races earlier, the Kentucky-based trainer saddled Fab Oak Stable, Bobby Hurley, and John Goldthorpe’s Stream Cat to win the Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT).
The Modesty was the second graded stakes win this year for the 4-year-old filly, who previously captured the grade III Bewitch Stakes on the turf at Keeneland in April. Overall it was her fourth win in 15 starts.