Joseph Lacombe Stable's Slew's Tizzy used a perfect stalking trip under Robby Albarado to capture the $300,000 Lone Star Derby (gr. III) (VIDEO) for 3-year-olds as a slight favorite on a sloppy track Saturday in Grand Prairie, Texas.
The dark bay Tiznow colt made it back-to-back graded stakes wins after capturing the Coolmore Lexington (gr. II) on the Keeneland Polytrack at odds of 40-1 three weeks ago. Trainer Greg Fox said afterward that he would consider the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) for Slew's Tizzy, who earned his first win on a conventional dirt surface while racing on an off-track for the first time as well.
The track was deluged by an unexpectedly heavy thunderstorm a few hours before the race and attempts to seal it left the course in a boggy, muddy condition.
"I wasn't too worried about the mud because he trained over that kind of surface on a regular basis this winter in Kentucky," said the Lexington-based Fox, who trains Slew's Tizzy for Brooklyn native Lacombe. "He's got a huge stride and tremendous endurance. I would love to go to New York and be very competitive, and win. I think this horse is suited to longer distances. The Belmont Stakes is a real possibility . . . but you have to stay flexible in this game. Another option may be the Ohio Derby (gr. II)."
The 5-2 choice in a field of 10, Slew's Tizzy settled into third for Albarado as Mr. Nightlinger set a solid pace in the slop -- :22 2/5, :46 3/5 and 1:12 1/5 -- with Taksent second. Launching his bid while four wide on the far turn, Slew's Tizzy battled Mr. Nightlinger to the eighth pole while racing in the middle of the track. He inched clear in the final stages under strong urging to win by 1 3/4 lengths.
"As quick as they went out of the gate, circumstances dictated that I needed to be as patient as possible," Albarado said. "Nearing the half-mile pole, I edged him a bit and I wanted to be in command turning for home -- and he was. I was a little concerned when the rain came and how he would handle the surface, but he handled it just fine and showed that he was the best one today."
Outsider Moyer's Pond, with Justin Shepard aboard, rallied wide for second by three-quarters of a length while the mild closer Forty Grams, racing on the inside under Luis Quinonez, reached the wire just in time to gain a dead heat for third with Mr. Nightlinger and Ramsey Zimmerman. The final time for the 1 1/16-mile test was 1:45 2/5.
Shepard said Moyer's Pond "ran awesome."
Slew's Tizzy, who bypassed the Preakness (gr. I) to run here, earned $165,000 for his third win in seven starts while boosting his bankroll to $385,252. All three of his wins have come this year, beginning with a maiden victory at Turfway Park in January. Slew's Tizzy is out of the Slewpy mare Hepatica.
The winner paid $7, $4.40, and $3.40. The deep closer Moyer's Pond, making his stakes debut for trainer Anthony Reinstedler, returned $11.40 and $7 for a $100.20 exacta. Forty Grams paid $2.80 and Mr. Nightlinger was $4.60 to show.
"We scared 'em a little, huh?," said Bret Calhoun, Lone Star Park's leading trainer who conditions Mr. Nightlinger.
Quinonez dropped the whip in the stretch on Forty Grams, who endured a troubled trip on the inside.
Illinois Derby (gr. II) runner-up Reporting for Duty finished fifth, followed by Takedown, Reata's Rocket, Slew by Slew, Taksent, and Harrow Land, who was eased in the final furlong after stopping in the stretch. Harrow Land walked off.