UNDEFEATED TIZ FLIRTATIOUS FACES TESTS IN SUNDAY’S GRADE II LA CANADA STAKES FOR 4-YEAR-OLD FILLIES

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 19, 2012) – Pamela Ziebarth’s unbeaten homebred Tiz Flirtatious gets tested for both distance and class among eight 4-year-old fillies entered in Santa Anita’s 38th running of the Grade II, $150,000 La Canada Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Sunday.

The California-bred daughter of Tizbud has methodically ascended the class ladder for trainer Marty Jones with three impressive victories that have seen her odds drop accordingly. She went from 9-1 (maiden win) to 3-1 (allowance victory) and finally to 9-5 when capturing Hollywood Park’s Cat’s Cradle Handicap by 1 ½ lengths at 7 ½ furlongs on Dec. 11.

Joel Rosario will be back aboard when Tiz Flirtatious attempts to prove she is a graded stakes quality filly of distance proportions while stretching out in a lineup that includes a pair of graded stakes winners.

Among those with whom she will have to contend are Great Hot, winner of Keeneland’s Grade II Raven Run Stakes, and May Day Rose. The latter is a multiple Grade III winner. Included is a wire-to-wire win at 1-20 odds in last January’s Santa Ysabel Stakes over 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita.

With earnings of $391,620 from a 5-2-1 record in 13 starts, May Day Rose is the most accomplished of the La Canada entrants. After winning 5 of her first 9 starts, she has been beaten in her last four including a head loss to Buckleupbuttercup in Churchill Downs’ Grade II Chilukki Stakes on Nov. 5.

The Rockport Harbor filly, trained by Bob Baffert for Kaleem Shah, appears to have an excellent opportunity to return to the winner’s circle. She figures to be in front under jockey Martin Garcia, and could prove difficult to catch in a relatively paceless lineup.

Brazilian-bred Great Hot, coming off three seven-furlong stakes that include a creditable third behind Teddy’s Promise in the Grade I La Brea Stakes on Dec. 31, gave a good account of herself at 1 1/16 miles in last fall’s Grade I Lady’s Secret Stakes at Santa Anita. Great Hot ran third, two lengths behind victorious Zazu. She previously had won Del Mar’s Torrey Pines Stakes at one mile.

“She’s versatile,” says A. C. Avila, who trains Great Hot for Jessica Coudelaria. “She can go (on the pace), she can sit, she can do whatever she wants.” Great Hot has earned $327,265 from 4 wins in 9 races. Chantal Sutherland will be back aboard.

Big Tiz shows but a single victory in nine starts, but the daughter of Tiznow has contended against top competition. She ran second to Turbulent Descent at odds of 37-1 in Hollywood Park’s Grade I Hollywood Starlet Stakes as a 2-year-old. Big Tiz finished 3 ¼ lengths behind May Day Rose in Hollywood Park’s Grade III Railbird Stakes at seven furlongs last May. Corey Nakatani will handle the bay filly trained by Mark Glatt for Allen and Susan Branch and Cory Wagner. Big Tiz has won $169,650 from a 1-3-4 record.

Like Tiz Flirtatious, Include Me Out will be trying two turns for the first time. While sprinting, the daughter of Include, trained by Ron Ellis for Jay Em Ess Stable, has posted a 2-2-0 mark in 6 starts worth $93,600. Joe Talamo rides. The three one-turn wins by undefeated Tiz Flirtatious have netted earnings of $116,800.

With 3 victories in 6 starts for trainer and co-owner Jerry Hollendorfer, Capital Plan is a proven router. In fact, the daughter of Rock Hard Ten has never sprinted while earning $102,500 for Hollendorfer and partner Mark DeDomenico. Capital Plan, to be ridden by Rafael Bejarano, will bring a two-race winning streak into her first stakes try.

The complete field for the La Canada Stakes, with jockeys in post position order (each entrant carries 118 pounds): May Day Rose, Martin Garcia; Love Theway Youare, Alonso Quinonez; Big Tiz, Corey Nakatani; Great Hot, Chantal Sutherland; Miss Radiance, David Flores; Include Me Out, Joseph Talamo; Capital Plan, Rafael Bejarano, and Tiz Flirtatious, Joel Rosario.

Drill, who won the Grade I Del Mar Futurity the last time he sprinted, returns to the sprint game in Sunday’s supporting feature, the 21st running of the $75,000 San Pedro Stakes for 3-year-olds at 6 ½ furlongs. Trained by Bob Baffert for the partnership of Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman and to be ridden by Garcia, Drill figures to be a solid favorite in the field of six.

The Lawyer Ron offspring, who won the Del Mar Futurity by a neck last September, has regressed significantly since being stretched out. After finishing second, 3 ¼ lengths behind Creative Cause, as the 3-5 favorite in Santa Anita’s Grade I Norfolk Stakes last Oct. 1, Drill went downhill in a hurry against topflight competition. He was badly beaten in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, the Grade III Delta Downs Jackpot and the Grade I Hollywood Futurity. He enters the San Pedro with earnings of $248,150 from an overall record of 2-1-0 in 7 starts.

Drill’s opposition includes Got Even, who is fresh off a 4 ¼-length victory for trainer Peter Miller in the $100,000 California Breeders’ Championship Stakes on Dec. 26, and Midnight Transfer, a swift maiden breaker by 4 ¾ lengths on the same day at Santa Anita.

The complete field for the San Pedro Stakes, with jockeys in post position order (each entrant carries 122 pounds): Midnight Transfer, Rosario; Drill, Garcia; Coach Sickle, Quinonez; Let’s Get Crackin, Victor Espinoza; Passing Game, Kevin Krigger, and Got Even, Nakatani.

The La Canada will be contested as the eighth race with the San Pedro going as the fourth on a nine-race program. First post is at 12:30 p.m.

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