05/27/2013 9:15PM

Hollywood Park: Marketing Mix a head better than Tiz Flirtatious in Gamely

Benoit & Associates
Marketing Mix (No. 7) and jockey Gary Stevens win the Grade 1 Gamely over Tiz Flirtatious.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens revised his career total of classic wins to nine with an upset victory on Oxbow in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 18. On Monday, Stevens, 50, won his first Grade 1 at Betfair Hollywood Park since 2004, as Marketing Mix prevailed by a head in a thrilling edition of the $250,500 Gamely Stakes for fillies and mares on turf.

The experience of a Hall of Fame jockey was useful in guiding Marketing Mix ($5) to a win over Tiz Flirtatious in the 1 1/8-mile race. Tiz Flirtatious led by a head with a furlong remaining, but Marketing Mix was better in the final sixteenth to reach the front with a narrow advantage.

For Stevens, who returned from a seven-year retirement in January, and Julien Leparoux, who rode Tiz Flirtatious, the outcome initially was a mystery.

“I wasn’t sure,” Stevens said. “Julien asked me, ‘What do you think?’ I said, ‘What do you think?’ When he stood up, he was about a head in front of me.”

Marketing Mix, making her first start since a second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita last November, won the second Grade 1 stakes of her career in the Gamely. She won the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive Stakes at Santa Anita last fall.

The favored Marketing Mix was in third for the first six furlongs, following pacesetter Miss Ellany, who set a modest pace of 24.41 and 48.39 seconds.

On the final turn, Miss Ellany was challenged by three leading contenders – Halo Dolly, who won the Grade 3 Wilshire Handicap here April 28; Marketing Mix, who was three wide; and Tiz Flirtatious, the winner of the Grade 2 Santa Ana Stakes at Santa Anita in March who made a flashy move while four wide.

Stevens said he urged Marketing Mix a little earlier than expected to keep her in contention while running at less than her ideal distance.

“It was a perfect trip, and it was probably a furlong too short for her,” Stevens said. “I tried to get her wound up going into the stretch. [Leparoux] actually put a half-length or a neck on me, but my mare was getting wound up in the end.”

Marketing Mix, who races for Glen Hill Farm and trainer Tom Proctor, was timed in 1:47.24. A 5-year-old mare by Medaglia d’Oro, Marketing Mix has won 9 of 17 starts and $1,809,518.

Tiz Flirtatious, who races for owner and breeder Pamela Ziebarth, finished 4 1/4 lengths clear of Lady of Shamrock, who closed from last in the field of seven to be third. Lady of Shamrock was followed by Halo Dolly, My GiGi, Miss Ellany, and Private Affair.

Tiz Flirtatious has finished second in two Grade 1 stakes for fillies and mares here in the last six months. She was beaten a length by Better Lucky in the Matriarch Stakes here last November.

“She ran her heart out,” trainer Marty Jones said of Tiz Flirtatious. “She had a chance to get by that filly, and that other filly wouldn’t let her by.”

Joel Winicki More than 1 year ago
Pepe Lepeaux should've taken the rail after MM got the jump on him.
Jason Hart More than 1 year ago
Is that Gary Stevens (the one who is constantly bashed on this site for being too old) winning another Grade 1? That's odd!!!
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Tiz Flirtatious drfits out and Leparoux goes to the left handed whip. Tiz Flirtatious continues to drift out, and Leparoux gives a couple more left handers. I never did see Leparoux go to the right hand, the elementary response to a horse drifting to the outside. Compare Leparoux's ride to Rosario's ride on Sahara Sky. Rosario had been given orders to whip Sahara Sky left handed, and Rosario did through most of the stretch. But when Sahara Sky continued to drift, Rosario was able to identify the problem, formulate a strategy to address it, and implement the strategy by going to the right hand whip, even over pre-race instructions. Leparoux responds to the problem by taking actions that just compound the problem. Rosario wins by a nose, Leparoux loses by a nose. Rides matter! And this is taking nothing away from Marketing Mix, a wonder first-rate female turfer, and what was a wonderful edition of the Gamely.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Awesome race today. Congrats to MM, Gary and all the connections. Great comeback, Gary, and now you're on a roll!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stevens clearly out rode Leparoux. Great job Gary! Julien, you are overrated!
John More than 1 year ago
What was the jockey doing on Miss Ellany. Thought the idea was a strong pace - something quicker than 48.39. Sadler had to be upset.
Peter Northcott More than 1 year ago
That's what John wanted." The Rabbit"
MD23 More than 1 year ago
And on top of that the filly was a little rank as well. She wanted to go and she was tugging but Pedroza took a hold of her. In my opinion, I don't think Lady of Shamrock would have won anyway but it was must have been frustrating for the connections.