It Tiz Well took advantage of the perfect stalking trip under jockey Drayden Van Dyke in Saturday’s $1 million Cotillion Stakes (G1) at Parx Racing, digging in to secure the two-length victory over 4-5 favorite Abel Tasman on the wire.
The sophomore daughter of Arch rushed up at the break and found herself in the middle of a three-horse sandwich that included Lockdown to her left and Thirstforthecup on the right.
They, and the rest of the field, spread out entering the first turn, with Lockdown taking command through splits of :23.26, :47.27, 1:11.37 and 1:37.04. It Tiz Well settled just off her flank to the outside, with Proud and Fearless and Thirstforthecup keeping each other company slightly behind.
Suddenly, Abel Tasman flew along the open rail from the back of the pack in one swift motion to take up residence inside of Lockdown. Those two began battling it out, but Van Dyke didn’t panic, keeping It Tiz Well within striking distance without rushing her.
Lockdown and Abel Tasman continued dueling into the stretch, and It Tiz Well soon joined them after being given her cue. Ranging up on the outside, the filly dug in to be first under the wire, two lengths in front of Abel Tasman, who in turn had three parts of a length to spare on Lockdown in third.
Mopotism followed the top three under the wire, and completing the order of finish were Proud and Fearless, Actress, Salty, Teresa Z, Sine Wave, Thirstforthecup and Stay Fond.
It Tiz Well was sent off the 5-1 second choice and paid $12.60 for finishing 1 1/16 miles over the fast main track in 1:43.67 in the Cotillion. The dark bay miss entered the race off a runner-up effort in the Alabama Stakes (G1) last out on August 19 at Saratoga for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who earned his second straight victory in the Cotillion after Songbird’s 5 3/4-length score last year that followed a seven-length win in the Alabama.
The Cotillion win improved It Tiz Well’s scorecard to 10-5-2-2 and more than doubled her lifetime earnings to $1,186,840. She already boasted scores in the Delaware Oaks (G3) and Honeybee Stakes (G3) from earlier this season, as well as placings in the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) and Santa Ynez Stakes (G2).
Bred in Kentucky by Allen and Susan Branch, It Tiz Well is out of the multiple stakes-winning Tiznow mare It Tiz, who is a half-sister to Canadian champion Solid Appeal.
Dan Ward, assistant trainer It Tiz Well, winner
“Very satisfying. She has been running good races and improving all the time. I thought we had a good chance. I thought we might get that trip. She did a super job.”
Drayden Van Dyke, jockey It Tiz Well, winner
“She ran today like she ran at Delaware Park (in the July 8 Delaware Oaks [G3]). Set off the pace and relaxed, and when I called upon her she responded. She was perfect. When I saw Mike (Smith aboard favorite Abel Tasman) coming up on the inside, and I sat off her and waited and they kind of went away from me for a few seconds and she was there for me the whole time.”
Bob Baffert, trainer Abel Tasman, second
“She got real rank with (Mike Smith), she took off with him it, and it was unfortunate. It was a ridiculous run. We just we might have to take the blinkers off. I guess we just have to turn the page.”
Mike Smith, jockey Abel Tasman, second
“I didn’t want to take it that soon. She has been breaking slow of late than she wants to gather herself up and wants to catch up at one time, too much to do. I could have stayed way wide, but I would have been to wide and she still would have wanted to make that move and I would have been to wide, the inside is wide open and she was pulling me so hard and she just took me there and I thought maybe she could pull it off from here but it was too much to do.
“She’ll be fine for the Breeders’ Cup (Distaff [G1] on November 3 at Del Mar). It wasn’t one of her best but she ran well.”
Luis Saez, jockey Lockdown, third
“She was trying really hard. She gave me everything she had. She was pretty comfortable early and she put herself in a pretty good spot. When she went to the front I thought this is good, this is perfect. I didn’t want to fight with her so I let her do her thing.”