ARCADIA , Calif. (Jan. 26, 2013)—For the second race in a row, Garrett Gomez employed his best Bill Shoemaker/Silky Sullivan imitation, as he roused 9-1 shot Tiz a Minister from last in a 10-horse field to win Saturday’s $300,000 California Breeders Champion Stakes (3-year-old males) by 1 ¼ lengths while covering one mile on a wet fast surface in 1:36.56.
“It was an exact copy of what happened in the last race,” said Gomez. “This little horse was running. I cranked him up, he settled in behind them and he traveled well. He was really turned off all the way on the backside and when I had to get him up a little bit, he did so willingly.
“When I angled him out (at the top of the stretch) he really did go to running and I got him to switch leads. He ran down Julien’s (Leparoux) horse (second place finisher, 4-5 favorite Omega Star) and Julien’s horse wasn’t lying down. My horse was actually running.”
Well off fractions of 23.12, 46.39, 1:10.88 and 1:23.59, Tiz a Minister, by Ministers Wild Cat, unleashed a stretch rally that led Trevor Denman to proclaim: “And just like the last race, it’s Tiz a Minister and Garrett Gomez from THE CLOUDS!!”
Owned by Steve Young’s S.A.Y. Racing and trained by Paul Aguirre, Tiz a Minister paid $21.40, $6.20 and $4.60. With the winner’s stake of $165,000, Tiz a Minister now has lifetime earnings of $246,780 from a record of 9-2-4-1.
“I thought he was crazy where he put him, but Garrett, he’s really a genius on the back of a horse,” said Aguirre. “Nobody else can get a horse to run like that.”
Omega Star finished 2 ½ lengths clear of third-place finisher Surfcup and Martin Garcia. Omega Star had a perfect stalking trip and made the lead in midstretch, only to be collared late by the winner. Trained by John Shirreffs, Omega Star paid $2.60 and $2.20.
“We had a good trip,” said Leparoux. “…He just ran me down. That was it…Obviously, we thought we were going to win; we were hoping anyway. But he ran a good race.”
Surfcup finished 5 1`/4 lengths in front of 61-1 longshot Alydidit and paid $4.80 to show.