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Tizdejavu Shoots for Fourth in a Row in Grade I Secretariat Stakes
Michael Cooper & Pamela Ziebarth’s Tizdejavu, undefeated on turf, will be after his fourth consecutive victory over the surface in Saturday’s Grade I, $400,000 Secretariat Stakes. Tizdejavu, trained by Gregory Fox, was installed as the 6-5 morning line favorite and will break from post six in the field of nine 3-year-olds.
The mile and a quarter turf test for international-caliber sophomores is one of three Grade I stakes races on the card that comprises Arlington’s International Festival of Racing. The others are the $1 million Arlington Million for older turf stars and its sister race, the $750,000 Beverly D., for grass distaffers.
The Secretariat Stakes is the third leg of Arlington’s Mid-America Triple which began with the $150,000 Arlington Classic on May 24 won by Meal Penalty, and continued with the Grade II $250,000 American Derby on July 12, which was the latest of Tizdejavu’s conquests.
A son of Tiznow, Tizdejavu has been a new horse since being introduced to the turf for the Grade III Crown Royal American Turf on the May 3 Kentucky Derby undercard at Churchill Downs. He won that race wire-to-wire at 21-1 odds under Garrett Gomez, then went on to capture the Jefferson Turf Cup at Churchill and the aforementioned American Derby in similar front-running fashion. Gomez will be back in the saddle on Saturday.
Tizdejavu’s biggest challenge figures to come from 5-2 morning line second choice Plan. The American-bred, Ireland-based son of Storm Cat is being sent to the Secretariat by famed Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien off a solid one-length victory in the Group III Keeneland International Stakes at The Curragh. John Murtagh has been given the riding assignment by O’Brien, who won the 2000 Secretariat Stakes with Ciro.
An interesting Secretariat entrant is the Michael Stidham-trained Secret Getaway, currently in the midst of a two-race winning streak. Though based at Arlington, Secret Getaway has been a road warrior, having twice shipped to Woodbine for scores in the June 8 Victoria Park Stakes, run over Polytrack, and the grassy Toronto Cup Stakes on July 12. Canadian jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson, the winning pilot in those two events, will journey down to Arlington to retain the mount.
Another European invader is Winchester, who won a maiden event in Ireland to begin his 2008 campaign for trainer Dermot Weld, but has gone winless since, while stepping up to top stakes company. Most recently, Winchester ran seventh behind Frozen Fire in the Group I Irish Derby at The Curragh. Winchester will be escorted around the Arlington turf course by leading Arlington rider Rene Douglas.
Completing the field are the Wayne Catalano-trained Prime Realestate, who was a close second in the Arlington Classic before flopping over the soft turf in the American Derby; Sr. Henry, runner-up behind Tizdejavu in the American Derby; Your Round, fourth last time out behind the well-regarded Gio Ponti in the Grade II Virginia Derby on July 19 at Colonial Downs; and Snoose Goose and Strait of Mewsina (IRE), second and fourth, respectively, in the July 5 Come Summer Stakes at Canterbury Park.