INGLEWOOD, Calif. (June 2, 2013)—Taking advantage of a quick pace, Tiz a Minister rallied from last to win the Grade III, $100,750 Affirmed Handicap Sunday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Victimized by slow fractions when third as the 11-10 favorite against fellow California breds in the Snow Chief Stakes April 27, Tiz a Minister received a favorable set up and earned his first graded victory by one length.
The win was the third in 13 starts for the 3-year-old son of Ministers Wild Cat and the Cee’s Tizzy mare Tiz a Mistress. He increased his earnings to $420,780.
All of his wins have come in 11 starts since he was claimed for $40,000 by trainer Paul Aguirre for S.A.Y. Racing, LLC last Aug. 2 at Del Mar.
Still trailing with about three-eighths of a mile to run, Tiz a Minister finished strongly along the inside under jockey Corey Nakatani and was going away at the finish as the 5-1 fourth choice in the field of eight.
The victory was the first in a graded stakes at Hollywood Park for Aguirre since Coconut Girl won the Desert Stormer Handicap – then a Grade III – in 2004. Nakatani earned his third Affirmed win, having scored previously with Mr. Purple (1995) and Deputy Commander (1997).
Successful for the second time in five appearances over Cushion Track – he had earned his maiden victory locally last Nov. 11 – Tiz a Minister completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.79. He paid $12.40, $5.40 and $3.
“If they give him an opportunity, he’ll take it,’’ said Aguirre. “When he was turning for home, I thought he could hit the board. And then at the sixteenth, I was thinking he might get there.
“I told (Nakatani) that was a great Calvin Borel imitation. That ride was definitely the difference between winning and losing. I’ve always had the opinion that he’s a middle distance horse, but we’ll absolutely consider the (Grade II, $150,000) Swaps (Stakes July 4) if everything goes right.’’
Third behind Violence and Fury Kapcori in the Grade I CashCall Futurity last Dec. 15 in his most recent appearance for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert at Betfair Hollywood Park, Den’s Legacy got the lead from tiring stablemate Manando in the stretch, but couldn’t match the onrushing Tiz a Minister in the closing yards.
Seeking his third win in four starts over Cushion Track, Manando was hustled from his outside post to gain the early lead from Broadway Empire, who was stretching out for the first time, but had to go fast to do so. The opening quarter was run in 23.36 seconds and the half-mile in 46.74.
A winner of his previous two starts at Betfair Hollywood Park by a combined 12 ½ lengths, Manando, the 19-10 favorite, had little to give late and wound up three-quarters of a length behind Den’s Legacy. Dice Flavor was 1 ½ lengths back in fourth. Just Win Baby, Broadway Empire, Dirty Swagg and Counting Days completed the order of finish.
Remaining winless in five starts in 2013, Den’s Legacy returned $3.80 and $2.80 while the show price on Manando was $2.80.
Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens was off his mounts Sunday due to some soreness after being unseated in Saturday’s seventh race. Stevens was thrown when favored Two Blue Hens ducked out on the first turn of the turf race for maiden fillies.
Stevens will be at Belmont Park this week. He has the return call on Preakness upsetter Oxbow in the Belmont Stakes, a race he’s won three times – Thunder Gulch (1995), Victory Gallop (1998) and Point Given (2001).
Royal Tiger, one of the horses Stevens was supposed to ride Sunday, won the sixth race – a $54,250 optional claimer – by 14 lengths under jockey Tyler Baze.
Racing resumes Thursday. Post time is 1 p.m.
The Hollywood Park Casino will be open for dark day simulcasts Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Admission is free. Simulcasts begin at 10:10 a.m.
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