Horse Racing
Jim Dunleavy | Daily Racing Form 79d

It Tiz Well relaxes to Cotillion win

Horse Racing

BENSALEM, Pa. -- It Tiz Well relaxed nicely for jockey Drayden Van Dyke in winning the Grade 1 Cotillion at Parx Racing on Saturday as 4-5 favorite Abel Tasman gave her jockey, Mike Smith, a much harder time and had to settle for second in the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies.

It Tiz Well was not as controllable for Van Dyke in her last start, the Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga, where she went to the lead. She held on for second in that race over Salty -- whom she faced again Saturday -- while finishing 5 1/2 lengths behind Elate.

In the Cotillion, It Tiz Well settled just off the early leaders while under a snug hold. She challenged outside horses in the stretch and pulled away to win by two lengths.

"She relaxed much better for me today," Van Dyke said. "At Saratoga, she was on a dead rail. She ran today the same way she did for me at Delaware."

In her start prior to the Alabama, It Tiz Well won the $300,000 Delaware Oaks by a half-length over Proud and Fearless and Actress, who also ran in the Cotillion.

As the third choice in the betting, It Tiz well paid $12.60 in Saturday's 11-horse field. She was timed in 1:43.67 after the leaders set solid fractions of 47.27 and 1:11.37.

Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer and owned by the California-based Tommy Town Thoroughbreds of Tom and Debi Stull, It Tiz Well is now 5 for 10. The Cotillion is her third graded stakes win this year and her first Grade 1.

"She just kind of got away from Drayden at Saratoga.," Tom Stull said. "He didn't want to fight her."

Stull was non-commital about It Tiz Well's status for the Breeders' Cup Distaff, where she would have to face older fillies and mares, but said he and Hollendorfer would dicuss the race. He pointed out It Tiz Well is "a young 3-year-old, an April 30 foal" and that he wanted "to do what's right for her."

Abel Tasman broke slowly from post 10. Smith angled her to the rail on the clubhouse turn, but said she wouldn't settle. Abel Tasman stormed up inside horses on the backstretch, going from ninth position to second like a freight train to engage Lockdown for the lead from the inside.

She was no match for It Tiz Well in the stretch, but fought off Lockdown for second by three-quarters of a length.

"She broke slow away from there and dropped so far back and then she just wants to go," Smith said. "I tried to put her behind another horse but she just put her head up in the air. She pretty much ran off with me. I didn't ask her to go. It was her idea."

Abel Tasman's backstretch move was similar to the one she made in the Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga. In that race, she was able to outfinish Elate for a head victory.

Trainer Bob Baffert wants Abel Tasman to settle better.

"She's starting to do the same thing every time," Baffert said. "She drops back and then gets rank. We'll have to do something with her. Maybe take the blinkers off. She got away with it last time but not today."

Abel Tasman came into the Cotillion as the leader of the 3-year-old filly division following consecutive wins in the CCA Oaks, Acorn, and Kentucky Oaks.

Lockdown ran well for third in the Cotillion. She raced on an open lead before being hooked by Abel Tasman and fought hard to the finish.

Mopotism closed well to be fourth, a half-length behind Lockdown.

Proud and Fearless, Actress, and Salty finished fifth, sixth and seventh. Salty, 5-1, raced wide after breaking from post 11.

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