INGLEWOOD, Calif. (December 11, 2011)—Jockey Joel Rosario made it three consecutive victories in the Cat’s Cradle Handicap (video) when he helped favored Tiz Flirtatious remain undefeated Sunday at Hollywood Park.
Rosario, who had won with U R All That I Am in 2009 and Ultra Blend last year, became the second rider to win the race restricted to California bred fillies and mares three times in a row. Victor Espinoza had the hat trick with Favorite Funtime (2001), Cee’s Elegance (2002) and Valentine Dancer (2003).
Trained by Marty Jones for owner-breeder Pamela Ziebarth, Tiz Flirtatious collared pacesetter California Nectar inside the final eighth of a mile, then held off the surge of 11-1 shot Chokecherymary to win by 1 ½ lengths. The final time for the 7 ½ furlongs over Cushion Track was 1:29.33.
With the winner’s share ($53,800) of the $85,800 purse, Tiz Flirtatious, who had initiated her career with come-from-behind victories Oct. 2 and Oct. 29 at Santa Anita, pushed her earnings to $116,800.
“She had a good trip, but she makes her own luck,’’ said Jones. “She’s professional in everything she does. You could see today she was more focused.
“She is a big filly and it took her a long time to come into herself. We had to stop and go with her because she was so big. Once she finally seemed to mature, you could see coming into her first race she was something nice.’’
Jones indicated Tiz Flirtatious, who paid $5.60, $3.80 and $3 as the 9-5 choice, will make her next start at Santa Anita. She could step into a Grade I in the $300,000 La Brea Stakes at seven furlongs Dec. 31 or stretch out to a mile and a sixteenth in the $150,000 La Canada Stakes Jan. 22.
Chokecherymary, who finished one length in front of California Nectar, returned $8.80 and $5. The show price on California Nectar was $5.80.
In the race immediately in front of the Cat’s Cradle, Comma to the Top returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since his victory in the Grade I CashCall Futurity last Dec. 18.
The Horse of the Meet during the 2010 Autumn season at Hollywood Park, Comma to the Top easily defeated 9-10 favorite Indian Firewater and three others in the $56,000 allowance.
Winner of the Real Quiet and Generous prior to his CashCall success, the 3-year-old Bwana Charlie gelding out of the Stormy Atlantic mare Maggies Storm is now 7-for-16 with earnings of $812,200.
The Florida bred, who ended a five race losing streak, is trained by Peter Miller for a partnership that includes Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum and Kevin Tsujihara.
Ridden by Joe Talamo, Comma to the Top ran the seven furlongs over Cushion Track in 1:21.63. He paid $9, $3.40 and $2.40 as the 7-2 third choice.
Indian Firewater returned $2.60 and $2.10 while finishing 3 1/.2 lengths behind the winner. Canonize, who rallied to gain third, a head in front of Skipshot and 3 ¼ lengths back of Indian Firewater, paid $2.40 to show.
The final week of the Autumn meet begins Wednesday. Post time is 12:30 p.m.
The Hollywood Park Casino will be open for dark day simulcasts Monday and Tuesday. Admission is free.
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