Tiz Wonderful Turns In Terrific Iroquois

(from Churchill Downs)
Odds-on choice Tiz Wonderful, ridden by Garrett Gomez in his second start, emerged from a speed duel to romp to a 6 ¾-length victory in the $110,900 Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs Sunday.

The margin of victory was the second largest in the history of the race, eclipsed only by the 7 ¾-length win by The Cliff's Edge in the 2003 Iroquois. Owned by Jess Jackson's Stonestreet Stable and trained by Scott Blasi, the ridgling Tiz Wonderful earned $67,384 for his second win from as many starts. He had scored a 12 ½-length win over maidens in his racing debut at Saratoga on Sept. 2. He has earned $95,584.

"He's been very impressive from the beginning," said Blasi, who recorded his first stakes victory at Churchill Downs. "I think it's going to be us being patient with him and giving him a chance to grow up that will be how he'll be able to reach his full potential."

Tiz Wonderful, a strapping Kentucky-bred son of 2000 and 2001 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Tiznow , was steadied in tight quarters in the early going, but when in the clear he quickly moved up to challenge the pacesetting Incriminate. That pair led the field through sharp early fractions of :23.20 for the first quarter and :46 for a half-mile.

Starbase joined that pair on the turn for home, but Tiz Wonderful shook off both rivals in upper stretch and drew away to his easy win under a vigorous hand ride by Gomez. What A Tale launched a wide rally in the stretch to grab second.

"He's got a tremendous stride, and he did things the right way in this race," said Gomez. "He looks so much like his dad; he's very big just like him. This horse is only two, though, and he's still learning. He should get better and better."

Dale Kalmar bred Tiz Wonderful, who is out of Evil, by Hennessy, and sold for $475,000 at Fasig-Tipton in February.

Officer Rocket, the morning line favorite, offered nothing in the stretch and saw a three-race winning streak end when he finished fifth under Mark Guidry.

Tiz Wonderful covered a mile over a "fast" track in 1:35.92 and paid $3.80, $2.60 and $2.80 as the 9-10 favorite over six rivals. What a Tale, with Julien Leparoux in the irons returned $6.80 and $4.60. Starbase, a 26-1 shot ridden by Calvin Borel, finished well clear of the rest of the field in third and paid $6.40.

Incriminate faded to fourth after sparring for the early lead. Officer Rocket was followed by Passport and Shore.

(Chart, Equibase)