05/25/2013 1:10PM

Hollywood Park: Gamely lineup poses difficult test for Tiz Flirtatious

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Benoit & Associates
Tiz Flirtatious will seek her first Grade 1 victory against a rugged group of female turf runners in the Gamely.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – In racing and training, Tiz Flirtatious is rather predictable.

In her races, she stalks the pace, rallies wide, and wins more often than not. In the mornings, Tiz Flirtatious is not likely to display too much pizazz, with routine gallops and workouts on the slow side.

It may all sound boring, but it works and is why Tiz Flirtatious is capable of winning her first Grade 1 race in Monday’s $250,000 Gamely Stakes for fillies and mares at Betfair Hollywood Park.

The Gamely, run over 1 1/8 miles on turf, has been a goal for Tiz Flirtatious since she won the Grade 2 Santa Ana Stakes at Santa Anita in March. Owned by breeder Pamela Ziebarth and trained by Marty Jones, Tiz Flirtatious has won 6 of 9 starts and $424,800.

The Gamely will provide Tiz Flirtatious with her toughest test. The race has drawn Grade 1 winners in Marketing Mix, who won the Rodeo Drive Stakes at Santa Anita last September and was second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf there in November; and Lady of Shamrock, who won the American Oaks and Del Mar Oaks last summer.

:: GAMELY STAKES: Complete coverage

The stakes winners Halo Dolly, My Gi Gi, and Private Affair are part of the field. Miss Ellany is entered as a pacemaker for Lady of Shamrock.

“It’s a little tougher this year than the last year or two,” Jones said of the field.

Tiz Flirtatious and Lady of Shamrock were one-two in the Santa Ana Stakes. Lady of Shamrock later finished second in the Grade 2 Santa Barbara Handicap but was promoted to first when Viva Carina was ruled to have caused interference in the stretch.

Jones did not consider Tiz Flirtatious for the Santa Barbara, preferring to wait for the Gamely.

“She trains like she always has,” Jones said.

Julien Leparoux rode Tiz Flirtatious for the first time in the Santa Ana and has the mount in the Gamely. He will have her running from off the pace through the final half-mile.

“We’re trying to get her to settle and move when Julien is comfortable,” Jones said. “We’ll get her to relax.”

The Gamely will be the first start for Marketing Mix since the BC Filly and Mare Turf, in which she was beaten three-quarters of a length by eventual division champion Zagora. Trained by Tom Proctor, Marketing Mix has won three of her last five starts.

Lady of Shamrock will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano, who had the mount in the Santa Barbara. Bejarano was aboard Lady of Shamrock when she worked seven furlongs on the main track in 1:25.20 last Monday.

“She had a lovely work the other day,” trainer John Sadler said. “I can’t wait to run her, but I respect the competition. Marketing Mix is good. Tiz Flirtatious is good. My mare is good.”

A 4-year-old filly, Lady of Shamrock has a similar style as Tiz Flirtatious, racing from off the pace.

Lady of Shamrock is owned by Hronis Racing, which also owns Miss Ellany. The Gamely is the stakes debut for Miss Ellany, a two-time winner in England who has been well-beaten in two starts in this country in recent months.

“We did put her in there to make sure the pace is legit,” Sadler said.

The Gamely will be the first start of 2013 for My Gi Gi, who was fifth in the Rodeo Drive and won the Grade 2 Honeymoon Handicap over 1 1/8 miles here last June. My Gi Gi will be a longshot, but trainer Peter Eurton said there are signs the filly is ready.

“The last couple of days, the way she has jumped into her feed tub, has made me feel good,” he said.