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La Tia and Coalport take Lincoln Heritage and Black Tie Affair Handicaps
Hernandez Racing Club's Grade III winner La Tia broke sharply and led at every call en route to a facile 3 ½ length score for trainer Armando De la cerda in Saturday's co-featured $83,400 Lincoln Heritage Handicap for Illinois-bred fillies and mares.
Ridden by Constantino Roman, the daughter of City Place traveled the 1 1/16 mile distance in 1:44.15 over yielding ground on Arlington International's turf course after setting earlier fractions of 24.24, 48.72, 1:12.91, and 1:38.32. Well-backed throughout the wagering, La Tia returned $3.20, $2.40, and $2.10 as the public's wagering choice, earning $49,539 to boost her career bankroll to $364,140.
“I'm really happy,” said Roman, “she's a really nice filly and I feel really comfortable on her. She definitely feels bigger and stronger, and I think we can win bigger races with her.”
Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey's Tipsy tracked the the early pace from midpack, proving second-best for trainer Wayne Catalano and jockey Florent Geroux, returning $3.80 and $3.20. Darrell and Sadie Brommer's With a Twist, ridden by Eduardo Perez for trainer Chris Block, loomed a threat at the top of the stretch before crossing the wire third, returning $3.00 to show, beaten 4 ¾ lengths.
“It was a very good trip,” offered Geroux, “I expected to be where I was. My filly ran very hard, but we got beat by a very good horse. La Tia is a very nice filly.” Perez echoed the sentiment when asked about his trip aboard With a Twist. “Perfect trip. She tried, but that's just a good horse.” Goldway, Mourette, and Diva's Diamond completed the full official order of finish.
In the male counterpart to the Lincoln Heritage, the $87,850 Black Tie Affair Handicap, meet leading trainer Wayne Catalano saddled Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Coalport to an impressive 2 ¾-length victory over Midwest Thoroughbreds’ multiple stakes winner and betting favorite The Pizza Man.
After a rough start, Coalport stalked the pace set by Mr. Mischief, under E.T. Baird, and Tazz, under Kent Desormeaux, before quickly putting them away at the 3/16-pole. Rallying on the far outside, The Pizza Man, Princeville Condo and Suntracer chased the easy winner home to complete the Superfecta.
“I found out (I was riding Coalport) late this morning. My agent called and said we were going to ride Wayne’s horse, instead. I said ‘okay’ and it worked out great for us, today. I actually didn’t break very well, but got into a great position early. Turning for home I picked him up and he sprinted home and did a pretty good job today,” reported winning jockey James Graham, who was replacing the injured Channing Hill.
The tight squeeze at the start negatively affected the chances of Team Block’s Mavericking. “We had a terrible trip. We got pinched leaving the gate and we were in deep from there on out. He made a little bit of a run, but he has a quarter-mile kick. Once he was shuffled back at the gate, he just had too much to do when it came time to run at the end,” said a disappointed Seth Martinez. Team Block’s other entrant, Suntracer, finished fourth. "He was running hard, but the speed never stopped. My horse ran great," reported a pleased Eduardo Perez.
Florent Geroux, on beaten favorite and runner-up The Pizza Man, gave little excuse. “I was exactly where I wanted to be; got the exact trip I wanted. I was on the fence with him the whole way and switched him out. He ran well, ran his race, but the winner was so far ahead we couldn't catch him.” Eddie Castro, on third-placed Princeville Condo, echoed such sentiments. “I had a good race and a good trip, but just got beat by the other horse.”
The son of Kitten’s Joy traveled the 1 1/16 mile distance in 1:43.18 over yielding ground on Arlington International's turf course as the 3-1 second choice. The colt returned $7.80, $4.20, and $3.40. The Pizza Man returned $3.40 and $3.00 as the 2-1 favorite in second. Princeville Condo, a 15-1 longshot, returned $6.40 to show. Coalport added the winner’s share of $50,602 to push his career earnings to $186,625.