No Catching Tizdejavu in American Turf

No Catching Tizdejavu  in American Turf
Photo: Jeffrey Snyder
Tizdejavu upsets the Crown Royal American Turf under Garret Gomez.
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Michael Cooper and Pamela Ziebarth’s Kentucky homebred Tizdejavu did his sire, multiple champion Tiznow   proud in posting a gate-to-wire neck victory as heavy rains continued in the $181,950 Crown Royal American Turf (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) May 2 at Churchill Downs.

The 21-1 upsetter Tizdejavu wore the same silks as Tiznow did for Ziebart’s mother, Cecilia Straub-Rubens, and racing manager Cooper during his career, which included unprecedented back-to-back Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) victories. Tizdejavu is out of the Dixie Brass mare Remember When.

In his stakes and grass debut, 3-year-old Tizdejavu proved too much to overcome when holding off a late bid from favored Sailor’s Cap in the final strides, completing the 1 1/16-mile turf contest in 1:46.14. It wasn’t surprising it was the slowest running of the the race, considering the condition of the yielding turf. Nistle's Crunch got up for third, 1 1/4 lengths behind Sailor’s Cap.

Jockey Garret Gomez said after the race he had wanted to get into a rhythm on the lead with Tizdejavu, considering the nature of his tactical speed. Clicking off comfortable early fractions of :24.64, :49.15, and 1:13.96, Tizdejavu maintained at least a one-length lead. He opened up by two lengths mid-stretch and prevailed in a tightening finish as Sailor's Cap came flying under Edgar Prado with a wide late move.

"He was starting to get a little tired," Gomez said. "It’s deep out there. He’s a young horse in first time on the grass, much less first time on the grass with a soft yielding turf the way it was. It was asking a lot of him."

Trained by Gregory Fox, all of Tizdejavu's prior starts had come on Polytrack at Turfway Park or Keeneland. The bay colt came into the American Turf off a third in an allowance contest just three weeks ago at Keeneland and had total earnings of $29,015. The $108,300 winner's share for the victory pushed Tizdejavu's winnings to $137,315 with a record of 2-2-1 from five starts.

“I worked him on the grass at Keeneland (April 22), and it may not look like much in :51-and-four, but it was the cliché -- it was how he did it," Fox said. "He went :29 the first quarter and :22 the last quarter, showing he could really quicken. He seems to be versatile. Today was big. He really stepped up today."

Going off as the longest shot in the race, Tizdejavu returned mutuels of $44.60, $14.40 and $6.80. Sailor’s Cap paid $5 and $4 while Nistle’s Crunch, ridden by Calvin Borel, was $3.80 to show.

It was six lengths to Halo Najib in fourth, followed by Blackberry Road, Boss Lafitte, Cannonball, Processor's Turf and Free Fighter. Prussian, expected to battle on the front end in the American Turf, and Cape of Storms scratched.

(Chart, Equibase)

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