Seemingly headed for an easy front-running victory in the $157,199 La Lorgnette Stakes (VIDEO) at Woodbine Sept. 23, favored La Tia surprised everyone when she jumped into the rail at the eighth pole. But quick action by jockey Justin Stein saved the day as La Tia recovered in time to win anyway.
Though she had lost all momentum after hitting the fence hard in the bizarre mishap, Stein not only stayed aboard but was able to quickly regather the filly as challenger Sky Dreamer drew even in the final furlong. In the ensuing dash for the wire, La Tia regained her stride and proved best under a firm hand ride by three-quarters of a length.
La Tia, based at Arlington Park with trainer Brian Williamson for Illinois owner/breeder Salvador Hernandez, led by four lengths before suddenly losing the advantage.
Stein, riding La Tia for the first time, was impressed with his filly's resilience.
"She just ducked from my stick," he said. "She's a real athletic horse. She leaped up in the air and decided going over the rail probably wasn't a good idea. She landed and persevered."
The veteran rider said he was in awe of La Tia's ability to recover her momentum.
"She was really impressive," he said. "She dug back in and I can't believe she re-rallied like that at that point of the race."
The Arlington Oaks (gr. III) winner at 1 1/8 miles July 21, La Tia won her fourth consecutive start on Polytrack. Sent off as the 2-1 choice in the field of six sophomore fillies, the speedy daughter of City Place completed the 1 1/16-mile test in 1:46.14.
La Tia was coming off a fourth-place finish in the Hatoof Stakes on grass at Arlington Aug. 18 when she weakened late after setting the pace.
A pair Mark Casse-trained fillies racing uncoupled for owner John Oxley, Sky Dreamer and Sky High Lady, occupied the second and third slots in the La Lorgnette. They were separated by three parts of a length.
La Tia was in control from the outset, leading by two lengths early while getting away with soft fractions of :25.16, :49.43, and 1:13.51. She was tracked early by Nikkis Smartypants, who dropped back after the opening quarter mile, supplanted by the stalking Evil Kitten and Appealing Cat.
Still in command coming off the final turn, La Tia lugged in slightly in upper stretch but was increasing her advantage before striking the rail seconds later. Sky Dreamer, trailing the field on the turn, had launched her bid on the far outside for Jermaine Bridgmohan and was suddenly on even terms. But La Tia wasn't done. A cool Stein never went to the stick as she regained control along the inside and held sway in the closing yards.
Winless in three starts sprinting at Hawthorne Race Course as a juvenile, La Tia broke her maiden going a mile in special weight company by nine lengths in her 2012 bow at Arlington May 25. That began a three-race win streak that included the Arlington Oaks. In that race she held on for a three-quarter length victory after opening up by 4 1/2 in the lane.
La Tia's career mark stands at 4-0-1 in eight races with earnings of $278,696.
The winning dark bay or brown filly is out of the Sky Classic mare La Adelita.
La Tia, carrying top weight of 123 pounds, returned $6.50, $3, and $2.90. Sky Dreamer, also second to La Tia in the Arlington Oaks, paid $4.10 and $2.60. They combined for a $161 exacta. Sky High Lady was $4.30 to show. Evil Kitten, Appealing Cat, and Nikkis Smartypants completed the order.