07/31/2013 2:44PM

Del Mar: Tiz a Minister makes rare sprint try in Real Good Deal

Shigeki Kikkawa
Tiz a Minister will use the seven-furlong Real Good Deal as a stepping-stone to the Del Mar Derby.

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DEL MAR, Calif. – After a series of races going two turns, on dirt, synthetic, and turf, Tiz a Minister returns to a sprint on Friday at Del Mar in the featured $200,000 Real Good Deal Stakes, and while he looks like one of the top two contenders in the race, make no mistake that this is a means to an end.

“I’m hoping to run him in the Del Mar Derby at the end of the meet,” said his trainer, Paul Aguirre.

The Del Mar Derby, a Grade 2, $300,000 race on Sept. 1, is the culmination of a series of turf races here for 3-year-olds. Options for 3-year-olds who want to stay on the main track are limited, which is why Aguirre and owner Steve Young also considered the West Virginia Derby this Saturday.

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“But it looked like that race was coming up with no speed to run at,” Aguirre said.

Tiz a Minister has the need for speed – to flatter his late run. He is prone to drop way out of it, but his closing charge carried him to a win in the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park, and, most recently, a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes.

He turns back to seven furlongs and drops in class for the Real Good Deal – it is restricted to California-bred 3-year-olds – and though the distance may be short of ideal, there is plenty of pace to aid him.

“He’s run well down here,” said Aguirre, referring to pair of second-place finishes against maidens last summer. “But this is a decent field. He’s going to have to run a real good race.”

[DEL MAR 2013: Complete meet coverage, schedule, race replays]

Tiz a Minister’s biggest challenger could be Omega Star, who was second to Tiz a Minister in the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 26, and won the Echo Eddie for statebreds on March 30. He has not raced since April 27, and since then was moved to the barn of trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, from that of John Shirreffs, by co-owner Marty Wygod.

“Mr. Wygod gave me a chance when John went to New York,” Hollendorfer said. “He’s been training real well.”

Hollendorfer also sends out U’narack, who comes off a win in a statebred, optional claiming race on turf at Hollywood Park on June 28.

“The horse is in good form,” Hollendorfer said. “This is the race we’ve been pointing for. He’s had a good amount of time between races.”

Follini won the other split of the statebred, optional claiming turf race on June 28, and his time that day mirrors that of U’narack. His trainer, Mark Glatt, also sends out Raised a Secret, who was fifth in the Echo Eddie behind Omega Star but has since finished second in three straight races.

Ambitious Brew and Lucky Cotton both come off wins against statebred maidens.