03/17/2012 6:40PM

Oaklawn: Tiz Miz Sue by three in Azeri


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Tiz Miz Sue put herself under consideration for next month’s Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap when she rolled past the leaders in the stretch to win the local prep, the Grade 3, $150,000 Azeri, before a crowd of 31,882 at Oaklawn Park on Saturday. She won by three lengths over She’s All In, while it was another length back in third to Joyful Victory.

The Azeri was the first of two stakes on the card. The Grade 2, $500,000 Rebel was also part of the program. It serves as a stepping-stone to the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby on April 14. The Apple Blossom will be run on April 13.

Tiz Miz Sue ($19.60) was forced four wide into the first turn of the 1 1/16-mile Azeri, and raced in fourth as Absinthe Minded and She’s All In dueled through fractions of 24.09 seconds for the opening quarter, 47.66 for the half-mile, and 1:11.91 for six furlongs. Tiz Miz Sue angled out four wide into the stretch and closed strongly to cover the distance on a track rated fast in 1:43.58.

“She gave me confidence,” said Joe Rocco Jr., who rode Tiz Miz Sue for trainer Steve Hobby. “I had so much horse through the whole race. She just exploded in the stretch.”

Ran Leonard, president and racing manager for owner Cresran LLC, said the Apple Blossom will be considered for Tiz Miz Sue, a 5-year-old mare by Tiznow. Before a commitment is made, however, her connections will see how she comes out of the race and keep tabs on the plans of the reigning Horse of the Year, Havre de Grace, who won last year’s Apple Blossom.

“We’ll see with Havre de Grace, the elephant in the room,” said Leonard.

The Azeri was the first graded stakes win for Tiz Miz Sue, who last year ran third in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga. She has won three stakes overall in her career. Tiz Miz Sue earned $90,000 for her win in the Azeri, improving her record to 6 for 23 for earnings of $414,709.