Tiz West and jockey Victor Espinoza prevail in the La Puente Stakes at Santa Anita.

Tiz West and jockey Victor Espinoza prevail in the La Puente Stakes at Santa Anita.

Benoit

Tiz West Gets 2nd Turf Win in La Puente

Stakes victory comes in first try versus winners for Richard Mandella.

(from Santa Anita report)

Diamond A Racing’s Tiz West withstood a determined bid by favored Afleet Ruler to prevail by three-quarters of a length in Santa Anita’s $109,900 La Puente Stakes for 3-year-olds on the grass, denying 18-year-old jockey Joe Talamo his fifth victory on the 11-race program.

With Victor Espinoza in the saddle, Tiz West tracked early pacesetter Pistol Pete Afleet in the one-mile turf event for 3-year-olds, gained control mid-stretch and maintained his advantage over the hard-charging runner-up, ridden by Talamo. The final time was 1:34.38.

Ez Dreamer, ridden by Alex Solis, edged Capture the Call for the show, a length behind Afleet Ruler in the field reduced to eight by the late scratches of Nevada Worrier, Lucky Honey and Phantom Strike.

The mutuels on the winner were $9.60, $5.20, and $3. Afleet Ruler paid $4.60 and $3.20 while Ez Dreamer returned $3.20 to show.

The victory was the second in five starts for the homebred son of Gone West--Tizso (by Cee's Tizzy). The wins have come in his only grass tries. While running on synthetic surfaces previously, Tiz West had posted a second and two thirds.

“He’s never run a bad race,” said Richard Mandella, who trains the bay colt for Gerald Ford of Dallas, who races as Diamond A Racing Corp.

“He won nicely on the turf (on March 24), and this race came up, so I thought he’d love it,” added Mandella. “Get while the gettin’s good.”

Commented Espinoza: “This horse is learning race by race.”

The La Puente victory was worth $65,940 to increase Tiz West’s career earnings to $118,220.       

Earlier on the card, Talamo guided Santa Teresita to her third straight victory when the 4-year-old Lemon Drop Kid  filly defeated Model by two lengths in the $78,650 Santa Lucia Handicap for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles.

(Chart, Equibase)