12/03/2010 4:58PM

Big Tiz pointing to Hollywood Starlet


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The circumstances surrounding Big Tiz’s third-place finish in the Sharp Cat Stakes at Hollywood Park on Nov. 7 have left trainer Mark Glatt anxious to try the filly in a more difficult race – the $300,000 Hollywood Starlet Stakes next Saturday.

In the Sharp Cat, Big Tiz finished 4 3/4 lengths behind May Day Rose, another candidate for the Grade 1 Starlet Stakes, but Glatt said that Big Tiz had difficulty breathing in the race.

“She displaced really bad that day and got a little overly aggressive early,” he said. “I thought the effort was better than looked.”

For the Grade 1 Starlet, which is run over 1 1/16 miles, Big Tiz will be ridden for the first time by Garrett Gomez. Rafael Bejarano had the mount in the Sharp Cat Stakes.

Aside from May Day Rose, who won her first stakes in the Sharp Cat Stakes, the field may include Tell a Kelly, who won the Grade 1 Darley Debutante at Del Mar in September but is winless in her last two starts – a second in the Grade 1 Oak Leaf Stakes here in October and a seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs last month.

The favorite is expected to be the undefeated Turbulent Descent, who scored an exciting win in the seven-furlong Moccasin Stakes on Nov. 21 and is making her graded stakes debut, and first start around two turns, in the Starlet.

Glatt trains Big Tiz for Allen and Susan Branch and Cory Wagner. The trainer is hoping that Big Tiz can be a patient filly for Gomez in the early part of the race.

“We need to get her back four or five lengths and then hope there is some action up front,” he said. “When she did break her maiden, she was farther back off some good fractions. She’s routed three times and two times she was too close to the pace.”

Mitchell reaches deal on suspension

Trainer Mike Mitchell has reached a stipulated agreement with the California Horse Racing Board on a suspension and fine after one of his starters in October tested in excess of the permitted level of total carbon dioxide.

Mitchell will be suspended 60 days, from Sunday through Feb. 2, but will serve only a 15-day suspension, from Sunday through Dec. 19, with the remaining 45 days stayed if Mitchell has no medication violations in Classes 1, 2, or 3 through Dec. 4, 2011. Violations for excessive total carbon dioxide are classified as Class 3 penalties.

In addition, Mitchell was fined $5,000.

The overage that led to those penalties occurred in a pre-race blood test taken from The Phenom, who finished second in a claiming race for 2-year-olds on Oct. 24. The $4,600 portion of the purse earned by The Phenom was ordered redistributed by Hollywood Park stewards on Thursday.

According to testimony at a brief hearing before the stewards Thursday, a pre-race blood test taken from The Phenom had a total carbon dioxide level of 37.9 millimoles per liter of blood. Horses are not allowed to have more than 37 millimoles per liter of blood.

Total carbon dioxide pre-race tests are taken from blood samples to detect use of alkalinizing agents, which are thought to prevent fatigue.

Mitchell was scheduled to meet with Hollywood Park stewards on Saturday in a hearing to formalize the stipulated agreement. During the time of his suspension, Mitchell’s stable will be directed by his assistant, Philip D’Amato. On Sunday, D’Amato starts Torrey Pines in the seventh race.

$500K yearling purchase debuts

It’s easy to understand the excitement surrounding the first-time starter Grip Hands, who runs in Sunday’s third race, a six-furlong maiden race.

The colt, purchased for a hefty $500,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale of 2-year-olds in training earlier this year, has worked quickly for his debut and has exceptional breeding. He is by top sire Giant’s Causeway and is out of Smok’n Frolic, an eight-time stakes winner and millionaire earlier in this century.

“He’s a nice colt, and it looks like a good spot for us,” trainer Craig Dollase said. “We’re looking to stretch him out, but this is a good place to start.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins,” Dollase said.

Dollase trains Grip Hands for the West Point Thoroughbreds partnership. The colt has worked steadily since late September, including a half-mile in 47 seconds from the gate Wednesday, the fastest of 36 recorded works at the distance.

Grip Hands is part of a field of six that features four first-time starters. Trainer John Sadler starts Seeking Solace who is by Seeking the Gold, Gary Mandella starts the Indian Charlie colt Stock Option, and Bob Baffert starts Tokubetsu, a colt by Congaree who has recorded quick works in recent weeks.

◗ Dollase said that Awesome Gem, who won the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup in July and was sixth in the BC Dirt Marathon on Nov. 5, is turned out and will return to training this winter, with an expected start during the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting. Awesome Gem, 7, has won 7 of 39 starts and $2,279,682.