Chiefswood Stable's homebred Tiz a Slam exacted revenge over Holy Helena with a 3 1/4-length victory in Woodbine's $125,000 Ontario Derby (G3) Oct. 15, after finishing second to the filly in the Queen's Plate earlier in the summer.
Trained by Roger Attfield, Tiz a Slam had not won in six starts this year, but picked up his first graded stakes score in the 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds over the all weather track. The Tiznow colt had finished 3 1/2 lengths behind Holy Helena in the Queen's Plate three starts back.
Ridden by Eurico Rosa da Silva and off at odds of 9-1, Tiz a Slam took a bit to settle in third behind slow fractions of :25.13 and :49.20, set by Gorgeous Kitten and Undulated who took turns on the lead. The field was facing a strong headwind as they turned for home with high winds, showers, and cooler temperatures in the area Sunday.
The 4-5 favorite Holy Helena was last early and remained near the rear of the field with Senior Investment and Cool Catomine through much of the backstretch run. The Ghostzapper filly committed to a drive at the top of the final turn, but Tiz a Slam had the jump on her and came off the turn with the lead. He was able to open up on the hard-charging Holy Helena, who had been tracked by Guy Caballero for third.
Tiz a Slam stopped the clock in 1:51.57 over the fast track.
"I have a lot of faith in this horse. Really, the heat ... I don't think he handled the heat very well," da Silva said. "In the last couple of months Roger has told me 'Eurico this horse—we are going to turn him around.' And I believed this man when he said that."
"(The trip) was not easy because when he broke there he was very, very sharp," he said. "It took me a long time to (get him to relax). ... At the quarter pole I wanted to wait a little bit more because the wind is very, very hard to run against, but he took off and I said 'you know boy, you are the boss and let's do it.'"
The winner paid $20.00, $6.00, and $4.20 across the board, while Holy Helena returned $3.30 and $2.80. Guy Caballero paid $9.80 for the show.
Bred in Ontario, Tiz a Slam is out of Chiefswood Stable's Grand Slam mare Flaming Rose.
"I really thought that I could probably win the Plate and then got beat, and then we went to the Prince of Wales (Stakes, July 25 at Fort Erie) and he really doesn't like the dirt," Attfield said. "That turned into a bit of a disaster for us and I sort of knew ... that might happen going in there... He's just been training so well that there was no way this horse shouldn't have been able to win a race like this."