Tizway swept past Jersey Town at the top of the lane and easily pulled clear of the field en route to a five-length win in the $250,000 Kelso Handicap (gr. II) (VIDEO) Oct. 3 at Belmont Park.
Trained by H. James Bond for William Clifton Jr., Tizway became a stakes winner for the first time in his fifth attempt. The 5-year-old horse was guided to victory by Rajiv Maragh, who also claimed the $250,000 Pilgrim Stakes (gr. IIIT) earlier on the Belmont card aboard Air Support. Tizway covered one mile on the fast main track in 1:34.42. Previously a turf race, the Kelso was scheduled for the Belmont dirt for the first time in its 30-year history.
Maragh gave his mount the perfect stalking trip, sitting just off the pace set by Jersey Town through taxing opening splits of :23.12, :46.03, and 1:09.68. Even-money favorite Regal Ransom was also close to the leaders through a half mile.
Not long after they reached the quarter pole, Tizway swept by Jersey Town from the outside, took a one-length advantage into the final furlong, and began to open up his lead. The son of Tiznow received a brief challenge from Cool Coal Man in upper stretch but was never seriously challenged on his way to victory.
Cool Coal Man was second under Julien Leparoux, one length in front of Jersey Town. Caixa Eletronica was fourth in a field of seven.
“It was definitely a well-deserved win for him,” Maragh said. “He’s always been running against some of the best older horses all over and to finally win like this was very good for him. I definitely wanted to get my horse involved because he seems to run better that way, and when I got to the middle of the turn I felt like still had a lot of horse left. Once I called on him in the stretch he just kicked on and finished up powerfully to the wire.”
As a 4-year-old Tizway won two of six starts, both in allowance company. He was fourth in the Whitney Handicap and third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (both gr. I). The dark bay/brown horse ended his campaign by finishing 12th in the Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I) in December. He won his 2010 debut in April in an optional claimer at Aqueduct and last out was third to Quality Road in the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I).
“All in all, I couldn’t be happier,” Bond said. “He did everything the way he was supposed to. When I get him right, he shows up. If he gets beat, it’s my fault. His last two works at Saratoga have been brilliant; the way he’s been galloping out has been amazing. If everything continues to go well, we’ll look at the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (on Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs). That’s plan A right now. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.”
Tizway improved to 5-1-3 from 15 starts and raised his earnings to $453,274. Bred in Kentucky by Whisper Hill Farm, he is out of the Dayjur mare Bethany.
The winner paid $7.50, $3.90, and $5.20. The exacta (4-1) returned $39.80 and the trifecta (4-1-2) was worth $245.50.