05/15/2009 11:00PM

Fox confident Tizdejavu can do it


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Just because he worked for 15 years as an equine veterinarian, Greg Fox doesn't necessarily have a major advantage over his fellow trainers.

But Fox, 47, speaks from experience when speculating on how the most accomplished horse in his medium-sized stable, Tizdejavu, will perform Sunday at Churchill Downs when returning from a nine-month layoff.

Tizdejavu, a winner of three straight graded turf stakes last year at 3, suffered a non-displaced fracture in a front ankle during a workout last September when he was being pointed to the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland. Dr. Rolf Embertson performed surgery to repair the injury at the Rood and Riddle clinic in Lexington, Ky.

"Of all the injuries a horse can have that require surgery," said Fox, "this is the one that, if the surgery goes well, the horse can return to racing on a consistent basis to the same level before they got hurt. Dr. Embertson did a masterful job, and the colt's rehabilitation and subsequent training have gone just perfectly. We're very excited about him coming back."

Tizdejavu is one of eight older horses, including one main-track-only designee, entered in the ninth of 10 Sunday races, a $58,800 classified allowance with a $100,000 claiming option. Julien Leparoux will be aboard when Tizdejavu breaks from post 4 in the 1 1/16-mile turf race. Jazz in the Park, a winner on the May 2 Kentucky Derby undercard, looks like the primary opposition, along with Hyracotherium and Boss Lafitte.

Using a terrific turn of foot, Tizdejavu reeled off victories in the Grade 3 American Turf, the Grade 2 Jefferson Cup, and the Grade 2 American Derby before finishing third in the Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington Park. Fox is confident the colt will return to his old self when his 4-year-old campaign gets under way Sunday.

"He's impressed me a lot recently," said Fox, who began training in 2005 and is based at a private farm adjacent to the Thoroughbred Training Center in Lexington, Ky. "I actually had him over at Keeneland for six weeks, and he posted some very sharp works, aside from a lot of strong galloping. Hopefully he'll be able to pick up right where he left off."

First post is 12:45 p.m. Eastern. Live action resumes here Thursday, as Churchill begins its four-day weeks following a reduction in dates at the spring meet.