05/21/2015 12:11PM

Motown Men seeks biggest payday in Tiznow

Shigeki Kikkawa
Sunday Rules is looking for her fifth win in a row in the Spring Fever Stakes.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Motown Men might turn out to be the claim of the year in Southern California.

The 6-year-old gelding was claimed for $40,000 at Santa Anita on March 8, the day he finished second in an optional claimer on turf. In two subsequent starts for Gulliver Racing and trainer Ted H. West, Motown Men has earned $58,800 by winning an optional claimer in April and finishing third in the Grade 3 Precisionist Stakes on May 2.

On Saturday at Santa Anita, he runs in a race equaling the richest of his career in the $150,000 Tiznow Stakes for California-breds at a mile. Motown Men was last of seven in the $150,000 Zia Park Derby in New Mexico in December 2012.

Motown Men has a strong chance to win the Tiznow, which drew a field of 10.

The Tiznow is one of three stakes for older California-breds on Saturday’s program, with purses ranging from $125,000 to $150,000. The Tiznow drew the largest field of those three stakes.

:: DRF Live: Watch live handicapping analysis of Saturday’s biggest races, starting at 2:00 p.m. Eastern

Tiznow (race 9)

Motown Men was beaten two lengths by Catch a Flight in the Precisionist Stakes at 1 1/16 miles. This will be Motown Men’s third start in six weeks, a schedule that has worked for the gelding, West said.

“We thought after the [Precisionist] that running back three weeks back might be a little tight, but he was fine,” West said. “Last time, what got us beat was we were wide on both turns.”

Motown Men drew the outside post for the Tiznow and will be ridden by Tyler Baze, who was aboard for the April win and the Precisionist Stakes. The field likely will be chasing Spirit Rules, who won the California Cup Sprint at six furlongs in January.

The Tiznow Stakes will be the first start of the year for Soi Phet, who won two one-mile stakes at Los Alamitos last year – the $100,000 Bertrando Stakes for California-breds in July and the $200,000 Los Alamitos Mile against open company in September.

Soi Phet was last of 16 in the $987,700 Tokyo Daishoten Stakes in Ohi, Japan, last December but bled in the race, trainer Leonard Powell said.

“He had a nice break after Japan,” Powell said.

Spring Fever (race 3)

Sunday Rules, undefeated in four career starts, will be a factor from the start in the $150,000 Spring Fever Stakes at six furlongs for fillies and mares.

In her lone start this year, Sunday Rules won an optional claimer against open company, leading throughout six furlongs as the 2-5 favorite.

“She acts like she’ll improve,” trainer Phil D’Amato said. “I’m confident about her chances.”

Baze has the mount on Sunday Rules, who is expected to set the pace.

“I wouldn’t take away her speed,” D’Amato said. “She’s more mature than last year.”

Tribal Gal, a winner of six stakes in the last 25 months, drew the outside. She frequently has shown speed but might be best suited to stalking Sunday Rules.

“She can rate a bit if she has to,” trainer Kory Owens said.

If the pace is too quick, Harlington’s Rose should be well positioned. Trained by Steve Knapp, Harlington’s Rose has not started since winning the Grade 3 Las Flores Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs March 8, the most prestigious win of her 21-race career.

Fran’s Valentine (race 6)

Go West Marie, a winner of three stakes for California-bred fillies and mares in the last year, and Wild in the Saddle, the easy winner of the Dream of Summer Stakes against three rivals in March, will dominate the betting in the $125,000 Fran’s Valentine Stakes for fillies and mares at a mile on turf.

Go West Marie has won three of her last four races, a span that began with a win in an optional claimer against open company at a mile on turf last December. Her last three races were stakes on the hillside turf course, two of which she won.

“I’ve thought all along that her best race will be two turns,” trainer Eddie Truman said. “I was in those sprints because they were for Cal-breds and were easy spots.”

Wild in the Saddle was fifth in the Solana Beach Handicap at a mile on turf at Del Mar last August in her most recent start on the surface. A former $5,000 claimer, Wild in the Saddle has won her last two starts and is in the peak form of her career.