OGDEN PHIPPS H. | PURSE: $400,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS & UP | FILLIES & MARES | GRADE 1 | 1 1/16-MILES
Cresran's homebred Tiz Miz Sue has been mixing it up with Grade 1 company ever since July 2011 and finally got the victory while becoming a millionaire at the same time in Monday's $400,000 Ogden Phipps Handicap at Belmont Park. The six-year-old daughter of Tiznow was sent off the near 9-2 third choice in the six-distaffer field and paid $10.80, $5.30 and $3.80 while stopping the clock in 1:40 4/5 for 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track.
"She deserved (a Grade 1) so bad and I was really going to be upset if she didn't get one before she retired," trainer Steve Hobby said after the race.
"I'm friends with the trainer, and I've ridden this mare long enough that I've gotten to be friends with the owners. (This win) means a lot to everyone," jockey Joe Rocco Jr. agreed.
Authenticity grabbed a short lead out of the gate, but Joyful Victory was fast on her hooves, taking over on the rail through splits of :22 4/5 and :45 2/5. Rocco had Tiz Miz Sue in a ground-saving spot just behind on the rail as Authenticity kept the pressure on Joyful Victory.
The pace began taking its toll on the front runner, who couldn't stop Authenticity from wresting control away through six furlongs in 1:09 2/5. Rocco, by this point, had angled Tiz Miz Sue off the inside and sent her wide rounding the turn, but that didn't stop the dark bay mare from gaining command in the lane. Authenticity put in a game fight down on the rail, but Tiz Miz Sue held her, and the fast-closing Centring, for the half-length win.
"When I saw Rosie (Napravnik) have to lean forward (aboard Joyful Victory) on the turn and I was following Mike (Smith aboard Authenticity), I got pretty confident, but this mare has fooled me a couple of times where I thought I was going to get past them. Once she ran by them, then I was confident," Rocco admitted.
"It's wonderful when it works," Hobby noted. "I was loving the fractions and Joe looked like he had an armful of horse all the way sitting back there. He just waited. He knows her very well. She was within range, that was the big thing. Sometimes she gets too far behind and can't quite make up the distance, but she was within range and they were cooking."
Centring came from last but ran out of real estate and was forced to settle for third, a length behind Authenticity. Disposablepleasure was one-paced throughout but did manage to stick her head in front of even-money favorite Joyful Victory on the wire to fill out the top four. Believe You Can faded to last on the line.
Tiz Miz Sue was making her first appearance at Belmont Park but is no stranger to New York, having finished third in a pair of Grade 1s at Saratoga in 2011 -- the Ruffian Handicap and Personal Ensign. She returned last year to be fourth in the Personal Ensign, and along the way also earned her first graded victory when taking the Azeri at Oaklawn Park last March.
Tiz Miz Sue followed up that Grade 3 score with placings in the Apple Blossom Handicap, Obeah and Delaware Handicap. Thus far this season, she's defended her title in the Azeri, and placed in both the Apple Blossom and Bayakoa. The Kentucky-bred mare improved her career line Monday to read 32-8-10-4, including five stakes wins and 12 black-type placings, and she's banked $1,129,709 lifetime, as the $240,000 winner's share bumped her earnings pass the million mark.
Tiz Miz Sue is the only registered stakes winner so far out of the Grade 3-scoring Woodman mare Sue's Good News, who is a half-sister to multiple Grade 2-placed stakes victor Easyfromthegitgo. The Phipps winner's third dam is multiple Grade 1-placed stakes queen Mochila, who produced Grade 1 heroine Serape, herself the dam of multiple Grade 3 heroine Batique.
Most notably, Tiz Miz Sue's fourth dam is Ride the Trails, who would foal champion turf horse and top sire Cozzene.