Ioya Bigtime Pays Off in Stars & Stripes
by Claire Novak
Date Posted: 7/14/2012 8:33:50 PM
Last Updated: 7/17/2012 1:46:09 PM

Ioya Bigtime upsets the Stars and Stripes at Arlington Park.
Photo: Four Footed Fotos

Although the pedigree of Ioya Bigtime may scream "turf," his past performances weren't as encouraging leading into the $150,000 Stars & Stripes Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Arlington Park (VIDEO). Nevertheless, backers who saw past a winless record in 2012 were rewarded by the 5-year-old Illinois-bred son of Dynaformer, who shocked in open company July 14 when he rolled to victory for Team Block at odds of 41-1.

Coming off a fifth-place finish in the Black Tie Affair Handicap, a race restricted to state-breds, and trying the 1 1/2-mile distance for the first time, Ioya Bigtime, ridden by Jeffrey Sanchez, held off a late-run from 2-1 favorite Musketier. The 10-year-old Singspiel Stakes (gr. IIIT) winner mounted a furious stretch rally but wound up 1 1/2 lengths back in second.

"He ran good," Joel Rosario said of his trip aboard the beaten favorite. "I wanted to be a little bit closer, but I didn't want to force him too much out of his game. My horse came running at the end but I think the winner was probably the best horse in the race today."

With Sanchez in the irons, Ioya Bigtime sat in second while Workin for Hops went a quarter in :25.27 and a half in :49.58. Prompted to edge past that foe entering the third turn, the bay runner poked a head in front while getting a mile in 1:38.87. He had the advantage by a length after 1 1/4 miles in 2:03.94, shook clear to lead by six lengths through upper stretch, and held sway to the end under firm handling.

Final time for the test was a strong 2:28.44 over "good" turf. Trainer Chris Block also saddled third-place finisher Suntracer.

"Both of my horses trained well up to the race," Block said. "I knew Suntracer could get the mile and a half but I didn't know about Ioya Bigtime. I have to give Jeffrey Sanchez a lot of credit. He can be a tough horse to ride, but Jeffrey seems to have his number. He got him to relax nicely."

"I let him be," Sanchez added. "He relaxed into the bit. Everything was perfect today."

Ioya Bigtime rewarded his backers with prices of $84, $25.60 and $12.40. Musketier paid $4 and $2.80 while Suntracer returned $6 to round out a $1 trifecta worth $1,663.70. Joinem, Eagle Poise, Harrods Creek, Mystic, 2011 Stars & Stripes winner Free Fighter, Final Count and Workin for Hops completed the order of finish.

Bred by Team Block out of the Lord At War mare Ioya Two, Ioya Bigtime won for the first time in six starts in 2012. His last victory came in a 1 1/8-mile allowance optional claimer worth $56,000 on Polytrack at Keeneland Oct. 8. It was his first graded stakes score in 15 starts; his record now stands at 5-1-3 with earnings of $245,625.
 



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