07/21/2012 5:54PM

Arlington Park: La Tia Takes big step up winning Arlington Oaks

Four-Footed Fotos
La Tia, with Constantino Roman riding, wins the Arlington Oaks.

 ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Since changing barns and moving to Polytrack this year, the 3-year-old filly La Tia has been unbeatable, and on Saturday at Arlington she jumped from statebred-restricted to graded stakes competition and captured the Grade 3, $150,000 Arlington Oaks by three-quarters of a length over Sky Dreamer.

A daughter of City Place bred and owned by Salvador Hernandez, La Tia turned in three middling dirt-sprint performances last year at age 2, but racing for trainer Brian Williamson this season, she won a May 25 Arlington maiden race by nine lengths, then took the Purple Violet Stakes by 8 1/4. Both those Polytrack races were one-turn miles, and on Saturday, La Tia made her first two-turn start in her first test against open competition.

"She was 2 for 2 on Polytrack and won both races easily, so I thought we'd keep her on the Poly and give her a shot," said Williamson.

La Tia went for the early lead and outran Lady Candidate to get it, setting reasonable fractions of 24.81 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 49.37 to the half. Well clear turning for home, La Tia had a 4 1/2-length lead at the stretch call but Sky Dreamer, emerging from mid-pack, ran on decently to make it close at the finish. Sky Dreamer was five lengths clear of third-place Ire, who was followed home by Lady Candidate, Ann of the Dance, 7-5 favorite Treasured Up, and Annie Russell.

Constantino Roman rode the winner, the first victory of his career in four graded-stakes mounts. La Tia, timed in 1:51.46 for the nine furlongs, paid $9.60 to win as the third choice.