05/27/2013 9:15PM

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

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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.”