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Battle of Hastings Ends Streak in River City
by Jack Shinar
November 4, 2010

Battle of Hastings ended a 10-race drought when he found clear sailing on the outside through the stretch to win the $111,200 River City Handicap (gr. IIIT) over a firm Churchill Downs turf course Nov. 4.

Ridden for the first time by Joel Rosario, the winning British-bred 4-year-old gelding tallied by 2 1/2 lengths for owner Michael House and new trainer Greg Fox. Formerly based in Southern California with trainer Jeff Mullins, Battle of Hastings recorded his first victory since taking the Virginia Derby (gr. IIT) by a head in July 2009.

Battle of Hastings was traveling comfortably between horses in fifth before advancing through a gap on the final turn and shifting out four wide at the top of the lane. Closing smartly, he grabbed the lead by a head over Allie's Event at the eighth pole. The second choice in the field of eight then kicked clear in the final furlong to win as much the best while completing the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:48.90.

“I had to be really patient," said Rosario. "That’s what you have to do, because if you’re not patient, it’s not going to happen. He really kicked on after we got clear. I just kind of waited to see how the horse wanted to go and waited for the right time.”

Midnight Mischief, steadied along the inside with three furlongs to run, also shifted to the outside for his finish and came on well for Julien Leparoux to get the place spot by a half-length. Boots Ahead, ridden by Rajiv Maragh, finished a nose in front of Allie's Event for third.

Rahystrada, who won last year's River City at 56-1 odds, weakened to fifth after fighting traffic along the inside as the 8-5 favorite. Expansion, Schramsberg and pacesetter Wise River, who carved even fractions of :23.70, :47.40 and 1:11.67 before giving way, completed the order.

Though he had not won in quite some time, Battle of Hastings had four seconds and two third-place finishes  during his losing streak. Training at Keeneland with Fox, the son of Royal Applause--Subya, by Night Shift, had not been out since finishing fourth in the $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) Aug. 28 when he was 2 1/2 lengths behind the victorious Richard's Kid over the Polytrack at Del Mar.

Battle of Hastings had run entirely on turf before this summer. His highlights include a victory in the Colonial Turf Cup (gr. IIT) immediately before the Virginia Derby. Both of those races were at Colonial Downs. The bay's career mark stands at 7-5-2 in 22 starts with earnings of $1,344,216.

"This horse has demonstrated in his previous races that he will make a move in the stretch," Fox said. "For whatever reason the timing didn’t seem to be right for him today. Joel had to be really patient. I have been watching Joel ride a lot and he has an amazing feel for the field as it changes in a race.”

Myriad Communications and New England Stud bred the winner, who collected $66,876 for the River City win, his fifth black-type victory.

Carrying top weight of 121 pounds, Battle of Hastings paid $5.80, $4 and $2.80 while topping a $48.20 exacta. Midnight Mischief, from the Bill Mott barn, returned $7.20 and $5. Boots Ahead paid $5.60.

Tizdejavu Notches Explosive Firecracker Win
by Deirdre B. Biles Reed Palmer Photo
Tizdejavu ended Churchill Downs’ spring meet with a bang, exploding out of the starting gate and never looking back en route to his 1 ½-length triumph in the $205,625 Firecracker Handicap (gr. IIT) July 4.

“He really threw the gauntlet down to a good group of horses,” said the 5-year-old bay horse’s trainer, Greg Fox.

Mine That Bird, meanwhile, fizzled in his first race since his unplaced effort in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) last November and his first start since moving to the Churchill barn of Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

Carrying the Firecracker’s top weight of 122 pounds and favored even though he was making his debut on grass, the 2009 Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner was last in the Firecracker’s field of 14 runners through the first half-mile and had only one horse beat turning for home. Mine That Bird passed several rivals in the stretch to finish eighth, but the Canadian champion didn’t appear to enjoy running over grass.

“He was struggling so much,” said Mine That Bird’s rider, Calvin Borel. “He kept moving back and forth, back and forth, switching leads. We will see a different horse after this, a totally different horse. He came back real good; (he was) jogging good. I’m telling you, get him on the dirt and you’ll see a different horse.”

According to Lukas, the Firecracker effort “put us in a position to do something better,” and Mine That Bird will be pointed for the Aug. 7 Whitney Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga.

Tizdejavu, a grass veteran, was the second betting choice in the Firecracker, and the son of Tiznow   is undefeated in his three races in 2010 after closing out his 2009 campaign with a last-place finish in the Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (gr. IT) at Keeneland in October. He came into the Firecracker off a three-quarter length victory over Recapturetheglory in an allowance/optional claiming event at a mile May 9 at Arlington Park and a half-length win over Public Speaker in the 1 1/16-mile Opening Verse Stakes June 11 at Churchill.

“We ended his season last year on a down note, but the beautiful thing is this is a very, very special horse,” Fox said. “Giving him a break and bringing him back steadily, you saw what he did today.”

Tizdejavu, who carried 119 pounds, set Firecracker fractions of :23.20 and :45.94 while leading Inca King by 1 ½ lengths. He stretched out his advantage to 2 ½ lengths by the time he completed six furlongs in 1:09.73, and he was three lengths in front at the stretch call.

Inca King’s jockey, Victor Lebron, lost his whip late, and the 6-year-old gelding finished third, beaten out for the runner-up spot by Public Speaker by only a nose. Public Speaker rallied three wide and was able to reduce some of Tizdejavu’s advantage, but he never really threatened the front-runner.

Tizedejavu, who was ridden by Jesus Lopez Castenon, completed a mile over a firm course in 1:35.98 while earning his eighth victory in 16 career races. He has won five stakes, four of which were graded and four of which were run at Churchill.

“I made him run his own race,” said Castanon of Tizdejavu’s Firecracker effort. “I knew there was going to be a lot of pace at the beginning. He was running the race pretty easily. When I asked him to pick it up, he just drew away. I knew my horse has a lot of speed, so I just let him break and tried to get the lead and be clear through the first turn.”

Tizdejavu, who returned $10.20, $5, and $3.60 to his backers, is a homebred racing for Michael Cooper and Pamela Ziebarth. His $116,016 winner’s share of the Firecracker purse boosted his career earnings to $693,153.

Public Speaker paid $4.60 and $3.60, and Inca King returned $4.20. The exacta (4-7) paid $44.

Veiled Prophet finished fourth and Unbridle's Dream was fifth.

Tizdejavu was bred in Kentucky, and he is out of the Dixie Brass mare Remember When.

Tizdejavu spectacular in Firecracker, Mine That Bird fizzles by Myra Lewyn

Tizdejavu provided the spark on closing day of the Churchill Downs’ spring meeting on Sunday as he led all the way to win $205,625 Firecracker Handicap (G2), while classic winner Mine That Bird fizzled in his first start of the season and turf debut.

A five-year-old Tiznow horse, Tizdejavu cruised across the finish line under Jesus Castanon, 1¼ lengths in front of fast-closing Public Speaker, a stakes-winning Distorted Humor colt, in a one-two finish by offspring of WinStar Farm stallions.

Sent off as the 4.10-to-1 second wagering choice, Tizdejavu led from the start and maintained a clear advantage throughout the one-mile turf race, finishing in 1:35.98, the fastest time of the meet at the distance. Chased from second by Grade 2 winner Inca King, he set fractions of :23.20 for the opening quarter, :45.94 through a half-mile, and 1:09.73 for six furlongs. Tizdejavu extended his lead to three lengths at the eighth pole and held on gamely as Public Speaker and Inca King battled for second in the 14-horse field.

“I made him run his own race,” Castanon said of Tizdejavu, who has won five of six starts on the turf at the Louisville track, including four stakes. “I knew there was going to be a lot of pace at the beginning. He was running the race pretty easily. When I asked him to pick it up he just drew away.”

Inca King finished a nose behind runner-up Public Speaker after his jockey, Victor Lebron, lost his whip in the final sixteenth.

After winning only once in five starts last year, Tizdejavu scored his third victory in as many starts this season, all in front-running fashion. He won an optional claiming race by three-quarters of length on May 9 at Arlington Park in his first start this season after a seven-month layoff, then captured the Opening Verse Stakes by a half-length on June 11 at Churchill.

 “This race has been our goal, I mean hypothetically,” winning trainer Greg Fox said. “We ended his season last year on a down note, but the beautiful thing is this is a very, very special horse. Giving him a break and bringing him back steadily, you saw what he did today. He really threw the gauntlet down on a good group of horses.

“This was a key race for the [Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) on November 6 at Churchill].  We had a great post position. Some of the other speed horses seemed hurt by the big field. Jesus is an incredibly astute rider and took advantage of our post position and of course the horse did the rest.”

Michael Cooper’s and Pam Ziebarth’s homebred Tizdejavu improved to eight wins from 16 career starts and $693,153 in earnings. He is out of the winning Dixie Brass mare Remember When.

Making his first start for Racing Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, 2009 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) winner Mine That Bird, the 2.80-to-1 favorite, trailed early and was never a factor in an eighth-place finish under Calvin Borel in his first start since finishing ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

“We will see a different horse after this; a totally different horse,” Borel said. “I’m telling you, get him on the dirt and you’ll see a different horse.”

No Catching Tizdejavu in American Turf

Courtesy of the Blood-Horse

Tizdejavu front-running winner of Jefferson Cup

Photo by Z/Jonathan Roberts
Thoroughbredtimes.comPosted: Saturday, June 14, 2008 7:30 PM by Jeff Apel

Tizdejavu set a determined pace near the inside hedge and drew off to a four-length win in the $222,600 Jefferson Cup Stakes (G2) on Saturday at Churchill Downs.

Pressed by Wicked Style through six furlongs in 1:12.31, Tizdejavu, who remained unbeaten in two career turf starts with the Jefferson Cup win, opened a half-length lead through a quarter in :24.48 and led by five lengths through a half-mile in :48.06. Kicking clear on the turn, the Tiznow colt and jockey Garrett Gomez took a seven-length lead in early stretch and easily earned the colt's second consecutive graded stakes win.

Time for 1 1/8 miles was 1:49.15 on turf rated as firm.
Golden Yank finished second, a half-length in front of Old Man Buck, the 2.20-to-1 favorite.

Trained by Greg Fox for owners-breeders Michael Cooper and Pam Ziebarth, Tizdejavu entered off a win in his turf debut in the Crown Royal American Turf Stakes (G3) on May 2 at Churchill.

Tizdejavu earned his third win in six starts and increased his earnings to $271,187. Bred in Kentucky, the bay colt is out of the Dixie Brass mare Remember When.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Section: Sports
Edition: Tarrant
Page: C16

Rain, dark and winner leave Derby in a surprising Tizzy
GARY WEST Star-Telegram Staff Writer 

GRAND PRAIRIE — Skies darkened, rain fell and mud flew. Some horses had more adventurous trips than Lewis and Clark. And just as the adverse conditions threatened to obscure all meaning and significance, through it all, something shone brightly: the potential of a long, lean giant of a horse named Slew's Tizzy. After splashing and sloshing though 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.49, he won Saturday's $300,000 Lone Star Derby by nearly two lengths over Moyer's Pond. Forty Grams and Mr. Nightlinger finished three-quarters of a length farther back in a dead heat for third.

Saturday's 11th edition of the race won't be filed away in memory as the best Lone Star Derby, or even one of the best, alongside those of Anet, Dynever and Wiseman's Ferry. But few Lone Star Derby winners have shown the potential of Slew's Tizzy, who left the impression that he just now has figured out the meaning of all this running in circles, which could move him on to other challenges.

His trainer, Greg Fox, indicated that the Belmont Stakes in New York, the final event in the Triple Crown series, is a strong possibility for the colt's next start.

"I would love to go to New York and be competitive and win," Fox said. "He's suited to longer distances, and I think he showed today that he has the potential to run with the best."

Perhaps he does, especially around Belmont Park's 1 1/2 -mile oval, where the gently bending turns generally invite long-striding horses to succeed. Perhaps he'll be ready to take on rivals such as Street Sense, Hard Spun and Curlin after they've knocked each other about in the first two rounds of the Triple Crown, especially since Slew's Tizzy is improving and displaying with each start a new dimension to his talent.

Slew's Tizzy never had won without grabbing an immediate advantage out of the gate. But Robby Albarado, who rode the Lone Star Derby winner, said the horse rated willingly. The colt was content to cruise along in third and watch Mr. Nightlinger and Taksent compromise each other with an opening half-mile in 46.77 seconds.

In the second turn, Slew's Tizzy advanced four-wide to move alongside Mr. Nightlinger, who proved to be tenacious. But the race winner just kept coming, and in the final furlong drew clear for his third victory in seven outings, pushing his earnings to $385,252.

"I was just a pilot," Albarado said. "There was more in the tank."

Slew's Tizzy had not won on anything but a synthetic surface. But Fox said the colt had trained well on all surfaces, and so he wasn't worried when the track became "sloppy" with a midday shower.

Some of the horses that perhaps could have challenged Slew's Tizzy had challenges of their own. Forty Grams, for example, broke slowly, raced wide in the first turn, got blocked behind horses in the second turn, and then swung to the outside, only to get blocked again. When Luis Quinonez angled Forty Grams back to the inside and found running room, the jockey lost his whip. Reata's Rocket, who finished seventh, also had a rough journey, hopping out of the gate, getting pinched back and then racing wide.

Slew's Tizzy will find some challenges down the road, perhaps in four weeks at Belmont Park, where in 2001 his sire, Tiznow, won the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Leading rider suspended
Cliff Berry, the all-time leading jockey at Lone Star, has been suspended a week, starting May 20, for his part in a bumping incident Thursday night. With Berry riding, Income bumped Belligerence just as the two horses approached the finish. The photo revealed Income's nose on the wire first, but the stewards disqualified him and placed him second, making Belligerence the winner. Through Saturday, Berry was second in the jockeys' standings to Ramsey Zimmerman, 25-23.
Gary West, 817-390-7760

Fort Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Section: Sports
Edition: Tarrant
Page: D10

Trainer's admiration tied to the resilience of Slew's Tizzy
GARY WEST Star-Telegram Staff Writer 

GRAND PRAIRIE — Slew's Tizzy is big and fast and talented, but many horses have such attributes, and they're not what make him special. If you ask Greg Fox what's special about Slew's Tizzy, who'll be one of the favorites in Saturday's $300,000 Lone Star Derby, the trainer won't even mention the colt's conspicuous qualities. Fox probably won't even point out Slew's Tizzy won the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland. No, Fox will tell you the colt's most admirable virtues are his resilience and professionalism. And when he talks about Slew's Tizzy, Fox's voice reverberates with genuine admiration.

"For a horse to go through what he's been through and then accomplish what he's accomplished... well, he's just a marvelous horse," Fox said.
In the fourth race of his career, the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, Slew's Tizzy nearly went down. Only his athleticism kept him on his feet. At the top the stretch, where he was running about a length off the lead, full of eagerness and searching for an opening along the inside, he clipped the heels of Makeithapencaptain, the early leader who was retreating. Slew's Tizzy took a momentary nosedive, as if stumbling down a slippery flight of stairs, and unseated his rider, James Graham. And then Circular Quay, who was rallying, or trying to, slammed into the riderless horse.

It was the sort of experience that can ruin a young horse's appreciation of the game. But two races later, Slew's Tizzy won the Lexington as a 40-1 long shot.

"He was like a big kid with all the potential in the world who just couldn't get a break but kept trying, and then he put it all together and ran super," Fox said. "When he walked into the paddock that day at Keeneland, he acted as if he had been there a hundred times. How can you not love a horse like that?"

A former track athlete at Boston University, Fox was a practicing racetrack veterinarian for 16 years before becoming a trainer. When his wife, trainer Jamie Fox, gave birth to their second son, Tyler, nearly two years ago, they purchased a small farm/training center in Kentucky. And she turned the training responsibilities over to her husband.

At the training center, Fox specializes in "projects," horses who might need a little extra attention or a more serene atmosphere, to bring forth their talents.

"At the track, it can be hard to unravel complications," he said. "But when you have time to look at all the little things, the details, and spend all day with your horses, you can unravel the mysteries."

Fox has been around, first as a vet and then a trainer, most of the 24 horses he trains for most of their lives. That relationship and his experience as a track athlete enable him, he said, "to identify" with the horses and empathize with them.

If Slew's Tizzy wins Saturday, he could make his next start, Fox said, in the Belmont Stakes, the final event in the famed Triple Crown series. And if he doesn't win, he'll still have his trainer's admiration.
Curlin in the Preakness

Curlin, who finished third in the Kentucky Derby, will make his next start in the Preakness Stakes on May 19 at Pimlico in Baltimore, his trainer, Steve Asmussen, said Thursday.

Before committing to the Preakness, Asmussen said he wanted to see where Curlin "was mentally" after losing for the first time in his career. The big chestnut colt came out of the Derby in good shape, both mentally and physically, Asmussen said.

Rain on the grass
On May 3 the eighth race at Lone Star, originally scheduled for the turf course, was moved to the main track because of wet conditions. That resulted in seven late scratches, leaving a four-horse field. And Thursday night, when the seventh race was moved to the main track because of wet conditions, four scratches left a three-horse field.

Three-horse races are neither inviting to bettors nor interesting to fans. So what's to be done? Clearly Lone Star should start accepting main track entries for those turf races that might be moved to the dirt.
Gary West, 817-390-7760

Slew's Tizzy has impressed trainer Greg Fox: "For a horse to go through what he's been through and then accomplish what he's accomplished... well, he's just a marvelous horse."

2007 Lexington S. recap video link
Greg Fox interview - April. 21, 2007 video link

Thoroughbred Times Today April 22, 2007
Slew’s Tizzy springs upset in Coolmore Lexington Stakes

Slew’s Tizzy, the longest shot in the field of nine at 40.50-to-1 odds, left trainer Greg Fox downplaying Kentucky Derby (G1) talk after earning a front-running 31/2-length win in the $325,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (G2) on Saturday at Keeneland Race Course.

The Tiznow colt drew clear approaching the stretch and earned his first career stakes win in the 11/16-mile race before a track-record crowd of 33,821. Setting a determined pace, Slew’s Tizzy increased his advantage in the closing strides under left-handed urging from jockey Robby Albarado and gamely prevailed in the three-year-old prep for the opening leg of
the Triple Crown on May 5 at Churchill Downs.

“He was content being up there on the lead,” Albarado said. “I just tried to keep him as quiet as possible.

“Ideally, we didn’t want to be on the lead, but we found ourselves there. He exploded when I called on him.”

The winner’s share of $201,500 moved Slew’s Tizzy up to 14th on the graded stakes earnings list for Kentucky Derby hopefuls—the criteria used if more than 20 horses are entered. Fox indicated he had no Kentucky Derby plans for Slew’s Tizzy, a Joseph LaCombe Stables homebred.

“Our philosophy is we don’t run horses back in two weeks,” Fox said.

Slew’s Tizzy opened a 11/2-length lead through a quarter-mile in :23.89 and led by a half-length through four furlongs in :48.17. The colt was challenged by Soaring By on the turn, but quickly opened a two-length lead in early stretch and gamely prevailed in 1:43.20 on the all-weather track.

Slew’s Tizzy earned his second win in six starts in two seasons and increased his earnings to $220,252. Bred in Kentucky, he is out of Hepatica, by Slewpy.—Jeff Apel

Keeneland Race Course, April 21, $325,000, 3yo, 8.5f all weather, fast, 1:43.20.  
SLEW’S TIZZY, 117, Dk b. or br. c. 3, Tiznow—Hepatica, by Slewpy. Owner, Joseph LaCombe Stable Inc.; breeder, Joseph LaCombe Stables Inc. (Ky.); trainer, Gregory Fox; jockey, Robby Albarado. $201,500. Lifetime: 6-2-0-0, $220,252.  

Starbase 117, B. c. 3, Tale of the Cat—Starship Lillian, by Iam the Iceman. Owner, Baker, Robert C. and Mack, WIlliam L.; breeder, Starship Stables (Fl.); trainer, D. Wayne Lukas. $65,000.  

Forty Grams 117, Ch. c. 3, Distorted Humor—Belle South, by Phone Trick. Owner, Alan Pesch, George Bolton, and Fog City Stables David Shimmon; breeder, 4M Ranch (Ky.); trainer, Steven M. Asmussen.  

Margins: 3 1/2, 3/4, 1/2; Odds: 40.50, 36.00, 5.40.  
Also ran: Trust Your Luck 117 ($16,250), Joe Got Even 117 ($9,750), Sacrifice Bunt 117, Soaring By 117, Boogiemanball 117, Belgravia 117.

Photo by Reed Palmer Photography-Churchill Downs
Battle of Hastings wins in debut for new trainer
By Marty McGee
November 4, 2010
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Battle of Hastings, with Joel Rosario aboard, surged to victory Thursday when making his first start for trainer Greg Fox in the 33rd running of the Grade 3, $111,200 River City Handicap at Churchill Downs.

Tucked in behind the early leaders for much of the 1 1/8-mile journey over a firm turf course, Battle of Hastings wheeled out for the drive and proved clearly best, winning by 2 1/2 lengths over Midnight Mischief. Boots Ahead was another half-length back in third, while Rahystrada, the defending champion and 8-5 favorite, had no real mishap when finishing fifth in a field of eight older horses.

Battle of Hastings was winning for the first time since he captured the Virginia Derby in June 2009, snapping a 10-race losing streak. He returned $5.80 as second choice after finishing in 1:48.90 as the 121-pound highweight.

“The horse ran a beautiful race, and Joel gave him a beautiful ride,” said Fox, the Lexington-based trainer who assumed the care of Battle of Hastings shortly after the gelding finished fourth in the Aug. 28 Pacific Classic. “I’m thrilled, absolutely.”

Easily the leading earner going into the race, Battle of Hastings earned another $66,876 to lift his career bankroll to $1,344,216. The 4-year-old British-bred gelding is owned by Michael House.

Tizdejavu wins Firecracker

Tizdejavu Reed Palmer Photo
Tizdejavu wins Firecracker; Mine That Bird 8th

| Posted 7/5/2010, 4:13 pm
By Marty McGee
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Tizdejavu prevailed in wire-to-wire fashion Sunday in the Grade 2 Firecracker Handicap, a one-mile turf race perhaps more notable for the return of 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird. Making his first start on grass and first for D. Wayne Lukas, Mine That Bird never reached contention and finished eighth in his 4-year-old debut.

Tizdejavu, with Jesus Castanon aboard, broke sharply from post 4 and took immediate control down the stretch the first time in a race that - on paper, anyway - seemed full of speed and perhaps made to order for the late kick of Mine That Bird. But Tizdejavu just kept going while repulsing several pursuers, winning by 1 1/2 lengths over Public Speaker, who got second by a nose over Inca King in a field of 14 older turf runners.

Mine That Bird, with regular rider Calvin Borel aboard, was making his first start in nearly eight months and his first since owners Mark Allen and Leonard Blach took him from Chip Woolley and turned him over to Lukas. Trailing for much of the trip, Mine That Bird, the 5-2 favorite, began passing rivals far too late, getting past a handful of opponents down the stretch to finish 7 3/4 lengths behind the winner.

"I don't think he looked comfortable until the far turn," said Lukas. "But we got the out. That's it."

Mine That Bird had not raced since finishing ninth in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita last fall, when still under the care of Woolley. Lukas has repeatedly said since he assumed the gelding's training on May 20 that his main immediate goal is the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap, and the Hall of Fame trainer strongly hinted beforehand that the Firecracker might be more a warm-up than anything toward that Aug. 7 race at Saratoga. A main-track allowance failed to fill on the Saturday card at Churchill, after which Lukas, who is scheduled to ship his stable to Saratoga on July 12, reluctantly settled on the Firecracker as an alternative prep.

Mine That Bird now has lost six straight races since he won the 135th Derby by 6 3/4 lengths, the largest winning Derby margin in more than 60 years.

Tizdejavu, a 5-year-old Tiznow horse, was bred and is owned by Michael Cooper and Pam Ziebarth and based at the Thoroughbred Training Center in Lexington, Ky., with trainer Greg Fox. He paid $10.20 as second choice after finishing in 1:35.98 over a firm course.

The purse for the Firecracker was $205,625, with Tizdejavu earning $116,016, lifting his career bankroll to $693,153.

Fox, who was thrilled with the victory, said he "might skip the next race cycle" with Tizdejavu while pointing to several rich fall races at the horse's optimum distance of about a mile on turf.

"All we've been thinking about is clearing this hurdle," said Fox. "I might freshen him up and look toward the fall."

The Firecracker anchored the final program of the 42-day meet at Churchill. Mandatory end-of-meet payouts were $34,592 (for 5 of 6) for the $2 pick six and $7,944 for the $1 super high five.

Live action on the Kentucky circuit now moves to Ellis Park, where a 27-day meet starts Saturday. Churchill Downs | Posted 5/11/2010, 4:13 pm
Tizdejavu looks rejuvenated in win
By Marcus Hersh
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - In his last two starts over the Arlington Park grass course, Tizdejavu was badly beaten as the even-money favorite in the 2009 Sea O'Erin Handicap and as a similarly popular choice in the 2008 Secretariat Stakes. On Sunday, Tizdejavu wasn't even favored to beat five foes in a turf allowance race, but this time he came through, winning for the first time in almost a year.

At 3, Tizdejavu won three straight graded turf stakes before finishing a distant third to Winchester in the Grade 1 Secretariat. Tizdejavu was injured not long after that race, and didn't start again until May 2009, and after winning his comeback race at Churchill, Tizdejavu was shut out in four subsequent starts last season.

"Yeah, it was very gratifying to see," said Kentucky-based trainer Greg Fox. "Since he came back from his rest in November and December, he seemed to be several weeks ahead from a similar point last year, and he seemed to be traveling better on a regular basis this year than he ever did last year. This year, he's traveling like he did as a 3-year-old. He ran, actually, more like he did as a 3-year-old, and that was the goal. It was nice to see."

Tizdejavu led all the way in his Sunday victory, holding off a rally from Recapturetheglory, another 5-year-old who was a graded winner in 2008, when he captured the Illinois Derby.

Fox said Tizdejavu came out of his win in good physical condition, and that he was likely to return to stakes racing in his next start. An overnight race at Arlington is a possible destination, but Fox said he also will consider the Dallas Turf Cup on May 31 at Lone Star Park. Churchill Downs | Posted 5/19/2009, 4:13 pm 
Tizdejavu makes successful return
By Marty McGee
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Everyone should have their plans come together so well. After nine months of waiting, hoping, and plotting, trainer Greg Fox watched with delight Sunday at Churchill Downs as Tizdejavu made his first start since surgery a successful one by capturing a $57,780 turf allowance under Julien Leparoux.

"I'm thrilled," Fox, a former practicing equine veterinarian who turned to training four years ago, said Tuesday. "The colt came out of the race in perfect shape."

Bred and owned by Michael Cooper and Pamela Ziebarth, Tizdejavu will run next in the Grade 2, $150,000 Firecracker Handicap, a one-mile turf race July 4 at Churchill, Fox said.

"We're not thinking about anything like the Arlington Million," which is run at 1 1/4 miles, Fox said. "We'll try to keep him at a mile, maybe a tad farther. The Firecracker had been our goal all through his rehabilitation and training. The race Sunday was an ideal prep for him."

Tizdejavu showed a willingness to rate in his Sunday victory, tracking the pace in the 1 1/16-mile race before going on to win by three-quarters of a length over Jazz In the Park. Tizdejavu, a front-running winner of three graded turf stakes last year at 3, was making his first start since being injured in a workout leading up to the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland last October. The 4-year-old Tiznow colt underwent surgery for a non-displaced fracture in a front ankle at the Rood and Riddle equine clinic shortly afterward.

The Firecracker, like five other post-Kentucky Derby stakes at the spring meet, has had its purse reduced. The purse originally was to be $200,000.

Mambo Meister, a 4 3/4-length winner of the Big Bubble Stakes last weekend at Calder for trainer Phil Gleaves, is another recent winner likely to run back in the Firecracker. Churchill Downs | Posted 5/2/2008, 6:24 pm
Tizdejavu wires in Crown Royal upset
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A strong closing kick in a recent turf workout was the impetus for the connections of Tizdejavu to run in Friday's Grade 3 Crown Royal American Turf Stakes. But it was the 3-year-old colt's early foot that made the difference in him winning the $181,950 race.

Under Garrett Gomez, Tizdejavu cleared the field and set a modest pace over a yielding turf course and, despite switching to his wrong lead late, he held on for a neck victory over favored Sailor's Cap. It was 1 1/4 lengths back to Nistle's Crunch in third. It was six lengths back to fourth-place finisher Halo Najib, who ran in the Crown Royal after being excluded from the Kentucky Derby due to insufficient earnings in graded stakes.

Tizdejavu had 1 win and 2 seconds from 4 starts over synthetic surfaces. Since so many horses that have run well on synthetics transferred that form to turf, trainer Greg Fox and owners Michael Cooper and Pamela Ziebarth wanted to take a shot in this race. Also, Fox said Tizdejavu finished very fast in a four-furlong work over Keeneland's turf on April 22.

With heavy rains creating a yielding turf course, the front-runner Prussian was scratched. That left the early lead for the taking and Gomez took it.

Tizdejavu set fractions of 24.64 seconds, 49.15, 1:13.96, and 1:39.30 before covering the 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.14. He returned $44.60 as the longest shot in the field of nine.

"I was just trying to get him away and hoping he'd get a hold of it early on enough where I'd be able to make the lead, set the bit up in his mouth, and get him in a nice flowing stride and that's what I was able to do." Gomez said.

Fox said: "Today was big. Not only the grass, but a very soft turf, a tremendous field. He really stepped up today." Arlington | Posted 7/9/2008, 6:03 pm 
Unconventional methods led Tizdejavu to turf
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - There's no doubt that trainer Greg Fox comes from a slightly different position than most horse trainers. Fox spent most of his working life as an equine veterinarian, and it's the rare vet who makes the jump to training. Moreover, Fox - who has been a head trainer three years now - brings an outsider's perspective to the training game.

He utilizes tools like E-Trakka, an Australian-made device that can be attached to a horse and monitors its heart rate while tracking the animal's running speed at various points during a workout by means of a global positioning system. Fox trains off a farm situated next to the Thoroughbred Training Center outside Lexington, Ky., and on the farm there is a smallish field through which Fox has cut out and manicured a 4 1/2-furlong loop over which the occasional horse will train.

It was onto this turf loop that Fox sent a 3-year-old named Tizdejavu for several training sessions this past spring. The colt had raced only on Polytrack, and as a son of Tiznow was not obviously bred to relish the lawn.

"He trained out there a few times, and what he was doing was really impressive," Fox said. "He was very comfortable and his stride seemed to be longer."

So, Fox took the next step and breezed Tizdejavu over the Keeneland turf course: The E-Trakka system lit up.
"He came home his final quarter in 23" seconds, Fox said. "I'd never seen a horse do that working with the dogs up."

Then, Tizdejavu went out and confirmed what he'd been showing his connections in the morning, scoring a 21-1 upset on Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill in the American Turf Stakes. That race was run on a boggy course, but Tizdejavu came back on firmer going June 14 with a dominant four-length victory in the Grade 2 Jefferson Cup, also at Churchill. Those two races figure to make Tizdejavu a solid favorite Saturday at Arlington in the American Derby, a prep for the Grade 1 Secretariat, and the best of three graded grass stakes on a 12-race card.

Tizdejavu was one of eight 3-year-olds entered Wednesday in the Grade 2 American Derby. The race includes Irish invader Great War Eagle and French shipper Blue Exit, as well as Boss Laffite, Ablaze With Spirit, and the locally based pair of Prime Realestate and Sr. Henry.

Tizdejavu will try to cement a spot in next month's Secretariat and should be difficult to beat even on a turf course of greater dimensions than the Churchill oval over which he has recently thrived.

Tizdejavu is co-owned by Michael Cooper, who campaigned Tiznow himself. Tiznow was one of the top racehorses of recent generations and has been a success at stud, too, but Tiznow progeny are better known for dirt and synthetic-track racing. Fox believes, however, that "the best Tiznows haven't even gotten a chance on turf, and that kind of skews his stats." Fox had another Tiznow colt, Slew's Tizzy, who also demonstrated grass ability at age 3.

Tizdejavu raced over the winter at Turfway and showed talent all along, but Fox felt there was more to the horse than he was showing in his races. Garrett Gomez suggested as much after Tizdejavu finished second in a Keeneland Polytrack race.

Gomez "said that he didn't like the surface that much," Fox said. "I was a little surprised."

Even more surprising - the surface Tizdejavu really needed was grass.

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