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Barn Notes: Saturday, June 8
In Today’s Notes: La Tia Heads Lincoln Heritage Nominees; The Pizza Man, Coalport and Suntracer Top Superb Black Tie Affair Possibles
LA TIA HEADS LINCOLN HERITAGE NOMINEES
Arlington Oaks winner La Tia, fresh off a superbly impressive allowance victory to kick off her 2013 season, is nominated to next Saturday’s Lincoln Heritage Stakes. Owned by Hernandez Racing Stable, the Armando de la Cerda-trained filly ran a formidable allowance field off their hooves on May 11 under jockey Constantino Roman’s pace-savvy handling.
La Tia was victorious in the 2012 Grade III Arlington Oaks and Purple Violet – both at Arlington International Racecourse – and Woodbine Racecourse’s La Lorgnette Stakes in Canada. Her victory in the May 11 allowance was her first on grass, in only her second attempt (the first being a respectable fourth – beaten a length – in the Million Day Hatoof Stakes).
Last year’s first and second-place trainers for the meet, Wayne Catalano and Chris Block, have each nominated two for the race. Always capable in any added money event, Catalano has nominated Bluegrass VII’s Seans Silverdancer and Ramsey Stable’s Tipsy. Seans Silverdancer exits a main track allowance at Churchill Downs where she finished third directly behind Kentucky Oaks runner Seaneen Dancer.
Tipsy, from one of the most powerful stables in the country, recently won a first level allowance on May 17 at the same course and distance of the Lincoln Heritage. A veteran of quality allowance races at Gulfstream Park, Churchill Downs and Arlington, Tipsy would be making her first foray into stakes company.
Chris Block nominated Darrell and Sadie Brommer’s lightly raced With a Twist and Richard Otto’s Mourette. With a Twist has won three of four races, including two victories over the Arlington turf. She began her season with a gritty neck victory in a second level allowance on May 26. Mourette, on the other hand, is a seasoned 6-year-old veteran with 24 starts. In the top three in 10 of her 17 Arlington starts, Mourette comes off a third in a second level turf allowance on May 11 at the course and distance of the Lincoln Heritage.
THE PIZZA MAN, COALPORT AND SUNTRACER TOP SUPERB BLACK TIE AFFAIR POSSIBLES
An Illinois-bred champion, previous Breeders’ Cup competitor and multiple stakes winner co-headline the nominees for the Black Tie Affair Handicap next weekend. From Midwest Thoroughbreds’ vast operation, The Pizza Man exits a horrific trip on Kentucky Derby Day, where he clipped heels in midstretch and retreated to finish last. In 2012, The Pizza Man was voted Illinois’ Champion 3-Year-Old, and has a record of 5-4-0-0 on Arlington’s world-renowned turf course.
The highly regarded Coalport, a Ramsey Stable homebred by their flagship stallion Kitten’s Joy, looks to be returning to peak form in what could be his fourth start of 2013 in the Black Tie Affair. Graded stakes-placed at two on the turf, Coalport entered the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf as a highly regarded and lightly raced charge for trainer Wayne Catalano, but had serious traffic trouble and finished up the track. Coalport, after competing in three subsequent stakes, was given the majority of the rest of his sophomore year off before returning this last series of races. The colt is visibly improving with each race, and could be a serious force with which to reckon in the Black Tie Affair.
Local favorite Suntracer, a Team Block homebred in the care of Chris Block, exits a top level optional claiming allowance in his 2013 debut in which the colt ran well, but was never overly extended when finishing fourth. After what was quite obviously a fitness-building race, the goal seems to be similar to last year for the son of Kitten’s Joy – the Black Tie Affair, followed by either the Grade III Stars and Stripes or Grade III Arlington Handicap (both in July). Second in last year’s Black Tie Affair en route to a third in the Stars and Stripes, Suntracer should be very tough if entered.
Another returning Black Tie Affair alum is Tazz, one of the most reliable stakes performers on the grounds. Second by a nose last out in the same allowance as Suntracer, Christine Janks’ homebred Tazz has been in the top three in six of his last eight, including two stakes. He has also been in the top three in 17 of 24 Arlington attempts and will be, if entered, making his second start off a layoff of six months.