U S S Tinosa finally got the better of a Bob Baffert trainee in Friday's $78,650 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita.
U S S Tinosa had previously finished second and third to Bob Baffert-trained Danthebluegrassman in his two most recent starts prior to Friday, those coming in a pair of stakes races at Golden Gate Fields. In the Sham, U S S Tinosa sat just off an early speed duel between Shah Jehan and Cottonwood Cowboy, then opened up in the stretch to win the 1 1/8-mile test for 3-year-olds by 4 1/2 lengths over Baffert-trained Puerto Banus. The winner completed the distance in 1:49.11 on a fast track for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
"Jerry (Hollendorfer) told me to just be patient with him, and come home hard," said winning jockey Kent Desormeaux. "He stalked well, he did everything I asked, and from the quarter pole home, he really strutted his stuff."
Hollendorfer was pleased with the effort of the Ohio-bred son of Foxhound.
"I have a lot of plans for this horse. I nominated him for everything -- the Illinois Derby, the Santa Anita Derby, the Kentucky Derby," the trainer said. "I've liked this horse for a long time. I was hoping he would lay off the pace (today), and come a little bit later. We got lucky that the two speed horses went out, and we were sitting off them. This horse has had a little trouble changing leads in the past, but Kent got him to change real good today."
Puerto Banus finished a length clear of Hot Contest, with Definite Edge fourth, followed by Cottonwood Cowboy and Shah Jehan.
U S S Tinosa paid $9.40, $5, and $3.60 and topped a $1 exacta worth $30.90. Puerto Banus returned $7.20 and $4.60, with Hot Contest paying $5.60 to show.
U S S Tinosa is out of the Wolf Power mare Angel Puss and a half-brother to Jersey Derby (gr. III) winner Lendell Ray.
U S S Tinosa's race record reflects the revolving door nature of his human connections. A $40,000 yearling purchase for Jim Tilton, U S S Tinosa made his first two career starts for trainer Mark Whitton before Larry Richardson took over his conditioning. He then earned his first win in the restricted Juvenile Stakes at Thistledown, one race after finishing third in the restricted Hoover Stakes, won by fellow Ohio-bred Harlan's Holiday. Following his initial win, he won a restricted stakes race at Beulah Park in his final start for Richardson. Hollendorfer entered him in Arlington Park's listed Manila Stakes 12 days later, where the colt finished second in his final start in Tilton's colors. Now owned by Peter Abruzzo and Barry Thiriot, U S S Tinosa capped his juvenile campaign with a runner-up performance in the Gold Rush Stakes prior to running third in the Golden Gate Derby (gr. III). The win in the restricted Sham Stakes, for which he earned $47,190, marks his third career win, all coming in restricted stakes races.