Tough Tiz's Sis never let the front-running Hystericalady out of her sight, running down the prohibitive favorite in the final couple of strides to win Oak Tree's $196,500 Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup (gr. I) (VIDEO) by a head at Santa Anita Park Oct. 7.
The Lady's Secret carries an automatic slot in the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I). But Tough Tiz's Sis, who was making her first start against older fillies and mares, is not nominated. Owners Karl Watson and Paul Weitman of Tucson, Ariz., would have to come up with a reported $180,000 to make the field with the Kentucky-bred daughter of Tiznow --Leaseholder (by Taylor's Falls).
"Right now we’ll just have to wait a week and think about it," trainer Bob Baffert said of a possible trip to Monmouth Park Oct. 27. "We have some bragging rights for a while. It’s exciting for the owners to get a big grade I win like this, especially since she’s only 3 years old. Hopefully, she’ll be around for a while.”
Tough Tiz's Sis, who was ridden by Victor Espinoza, is perfect in two starts on Cushion Track. She won the Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. II) at Hollywood Park in June.
"I think she’s finally coming around right now," Baffert said. "She’s blooming and her hair looks much better. She’s a big filly, so two turns are much better for her, and she was keeping some pretty good company. But I think today was her breakout race."
Hystericalady had everything her own way, setting even fractions under David Flores of :24.26, :48.54, and 1:12.11 while on an uncontested lead in the 1 1/16-mile test. On the turn for home, the favorite picked up the pace but Tough Tiz's Sis, who had parked on her outside, refused to go away.
Through the stretch run, Hystericalady continued to cling to the lead but in the final sixteenth Tough Tiz's Sis began to get to her. Tough Tiz's Sis got up under strong urging in the shadow of the wire while clocking 1:41.64.
“She was pretty comfortable early, but we had to put pressure on the favorite from the three-eighths pole," said Espinoza, who last rode Tough Tiz's Sis to a seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). "From the sixteenth pole, I had to really get after my filly.
"She’s older and much more focused now than the last time I rode her. She was a little green then. She’s such a big filly, I think the older she gets, the better she’s going to be.”
Tough Tiz's Sis was coming off a third-place finish in Belmont Park's 1 1/8-mile Gazelle (gr. I) Sept. 15. She won for the fifth time in 11 starts. Since she is not nominated to the Breeders' Cup, the winning share did not include $50,000 in Breeders' Cup funds, so she earned $105,000. The bay filly has banked $389,872 in her career.
The Jerry Hollenforfer trained Hystericalady is expected to return to Monmouth Park for the Distaff Oct. 27 where she won the Molly Pitcher Handicap (gr. II) Aug. 25 by more than six lengths. She is now winless in three starts on Cushion Track.
"I tried to take advantage and be in front and just keep going, "Flores said. "She gave me a good effort. I don’t know, it’s just one of those things – she just got beat. One of those fast Baffert horses got me.”
Bai and Bai, ridden by Aaron Gryder, finished third, four lengths behind the winner.
Gary Tussey bred the winner.
Sent off as the second choice, Tough Tiz's Sis paid $8.40, $3.20 and $2.40. Hystericalady, winner of the Humana Distaff (gr. I) at Churchill Downs in May, returned $2.20 and $2.10. Bai and Bai was $2.60 to show in her grade I debut.
Spenditallbaby, Fun Logic, and She's an Eleven completed the order.