It Tiz, trying the Santa Anita turf for the first time, took advantage of a fast pace to record a late-running upset victory in the inaugural running of the $79,150 Megahertz Stakes Jan. 23 (VIDEO).
With regular rider David Flores aboard, It Tiz, a 4-year-old daughter of Tiznow trained by Mark Glatt for Allen and Susan Branch, tallied by a half-length over Lily Fa Pootz. At odds of 8-1, she won for the third time in five races on grass at the one-mile distance while completing the journey in 1:34.83 over firm going.
Even-money favorite Eclair de Lune, winner of the Beverly D (gr. IT) at Arlington Park last summer for trainer Ron McAnally, flattened out after making a brief move on the outside rounding the far turn and finished a disappointing fourth, four lengths behind the winner.
Glatt returned It Tiz to the turf from the main track at Santa Anita, where she was a distant fifth behind the victorious Switch in the La Brea Stakes (gr. I) in her last start Dec. 26.
It Tiz sat well off the early pace as Southern Fireball, leaving from the rail for Martin Pedroza, zoomed to the front and opened up by 4 1/2 lengths over Burg Berg on the clubhouse turn while completing the opening quarter mile in a sizzling :22.98. The early leader slowed things down on the backstretch but was still in control after a half mile in :46.83. The race tightened up rounding the final turn after six furlongs in 1:10.27.
Southern Fireball came under pressure from Burg Berg and Lilly Fa Pootz in upper stretch with Lilly Fa Pootz and Joel Rosario, emerging from between her rivals, soon taking over. But It Tiz, charging from fourth on the far outside, challenged Lilly Fa Pootz inside the final furlong and prevailed under urging from Flores.
Flores said he expected Southern Fireball and Burg Berg to provide a solid pace.
"I was hoping my filly would relax because she runs better when she’s relaxed in the first part of the race," he said. "She was able to finish like she did at Hollywood Park when I rode her the first couple times. I was afraid of the favorite (Éclair de Lune) because I was following her, and I didn’t know how much horse he (Rafael Bejarano) had left. At the end I was hoping I had a better horse than him, and she came through.”
Lilly Fa Pootz finished 2 1/4 lengths in front of Burg Berg, ridden by Mike Smith. Then came the German-bred Éclair de Lune, making her first start since finishing a close sixth in the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & MareTurf (gr. IT) Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs. She was followed by Sandi's Ready and Southern Fireball in the compact field.
It Tiz, a $170,000 Keeneland yearling sale purchase in September 2008, won for the first time since taking the Le Cle Stakes on the grass at Hollywood Park at the Megahertz distance July 1. She had lost five races in a row. The victory, her fifth in 14 lifetime starts, was worth $47,490 and boosted her overall earnings to $259,295.
Glatt credited Flores with getting It Tiz to relax in the early part of the race.
"She’s had a very tough summer," Glatt said. "She had a lot of bad luck with post position draws, so a lot of her races weren’t as bad as they looked on paper. We got a nice short field today and got a good trip, and hopefully a confidence builder onto bigger and better things.”
Select Bloodstock bred It Tiz in Kentucky. The dark bay or brown filly is out of Star of the Woods, by Woodman.
It Tiz carried 123 pounds and paid $18, $6.40, and $4.60 and topped a $47 exacta. Lilly Fa Pootz returned $3.40 and $2.80 in a game effort for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Bur Berg was $3.40 to show in her first start since winning Oak Tree's Swingtime Stakes on the Hollywood grass Oct. 10.