Michael Cooper and Pamela Ziebarth’s Tizdejavu, the 2-1 morning-line choice for Saturday’s Grade II American Derby at Arlington, arrived late Wednesday by van from Louisville and was settled in nicely Thursday morning at his temporary home in Arlington’s Stakes Barn.
“We had no issues during our trip,” said groom Chrissy Atkins, who travels with the majority of trainer Greg Fox’s horses, as she set up a hay rack adjacent to Tizdejavu’s stall Thursday morning. “He always ships great. He’s an even-tempered sort, but he is a 3-year-old colt and sometimes he gets a little rambunctious when he feels as good as he does.
Tizdejavu comes into Saturday’s middle leg of Arlington’s Mid-America Triple off of two straight speed-oriented stakes victories at Churchill Downs. The son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow won the Grade III Crown Royal American Turf on Kentucky Oaks Day May 2 in front-running fashion, and came back to take down the Grade II Jefferson Cup at the Twin Spires oval June 14 using those same tactics.
“We’re losing our regular rider (Garrett Gomez) this time because he had other commitments, and then we thought we’d have Robby Albarado, but when Curlin went to New York we lost Robby, too,” said Atkins. “But I guess we can’t do too much better than having Rene Douglas to ride him. That’s just as good.”
‘I AM CURIOUS’: ‘BLUE’
European invaders being considered for Arlington’s International Festival of Racing on Aug. 9 have sent an advance scout in time for Saturday’s Million Preview Day in the form of Joseph Allen et al.’s Blue Exit.
Although a Kentucky homebred, Blue Exit has been campaigned exclusively in France as a juvenile and sophomore, but arrived back in the United States earlier this week to make his first American start.
That will come in Saturday’s Grade II American Derby – Chicago’s oldest stakes race and one that celebrates its 93rd renewal this weekend.
Accompanying Blue Exit from France, where he won Maison-Lafitte’s listed Prix Matchem Stakes in his last start June 9, was his groom Bertrand LaCroix, who reported no problems with his colt during their Atlantic crossing by air.
“He shipped very well,” said LaCroix, “but because we just cleared quarantine, all he’s done so far is walk around the barn. Now, we’ll take him to the training track, but just to jog.”
Dawn Federowicz, the shipping agent for Horse America who greeted Blue Exit’s flight, said the son of Pulpit has seemed to enjoy his return to the land of his birth.
“He’s been a curious sort since we picked him up,” said Federowicz. “He’s been very relaxed but he likes to glance around and check everything out here since it’s all new to him.”
BIRTHDAY BOY BRANDON BAGS TWO WINS WEDNESDAY
Increasingly accomplished apprentice jockey Brandon Meier, currently tied for eighth in the Arlington jockey standings, celebrated a riding double Wednesday on the occasion of his 20th birthday.
As the only rider to ride two winners on the day, Meier visited Arlington winner’s circle after the third race astride Frank Calabrese’s Brave Ulysses and returned after the sixth aboard Charles Middleton III and Dave Kassen’s Boffo.
Meier, born in nearby Elk Grove Village and a graduate of St. Francis High School, is the son of the veteran jockey Randy Meier, all-time leading rider at Hawthorne Race Course and Sportsman’s Park on Chicago’s Southside.
HANDICAPPING SEMINAR SLATED SATURDAY
One of the additional highlights of Arlington’s Million Preview Day this Saturday will be the next event in Arlington’s Handicapping Seminar Series – featuring Daily Racing Form publisher Steven Crist and DRF handicapper Mike Watchmaker.
The seminar, hosted by DRF’s Chicago handicapper and columnist Marcus Hersh, will begin at 11 a.m. in Arlington’s Starting Gate Theatre.
On Friday, Arlington’s Miller Lite Party In The Park will feature the classic rock sounds of “Hatbacks,” and Friday evening’s Party On The Patio at Trackside Arlington Park will feature live rock by “A Kangaroo Court.”