01/26/2013 5:42PM

Santa Anita: Tiz Flirtatious kicks clear in Valentine Dancer

Benoit & Associates
Heavily favored Tiz Flirtatious, with Rafael Bejarano aboard, wins the Valentine Dancer by 1 3/4 lengths.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Tiz Flirtatious did not need her best effort to win the $100,000 Valentine Dancer Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday.

On the backstretch of the one-mile turf race for California-bred fillies and mares, Tiz Flirtatious was in fifth place and red-hot jockey Rafael Bejarano was ultra-confident about his mount’s chances.

“I was in the perfect place,” he said. “When I found my position at the three-eighths pole, I knew she’d have a big kick in the stretch.”

Racing off the rail, Bejarano urged Tiz Flirtatious forward on the turn and she entered the stretch with a four-wide rally. In the final furlong, Tiz Flirtatious ($3.60) ran past early stretch leader Dancingtothestars to reach the front near the sixteenth pole. She pulled away to win by 1 3/4 lengths, finishing a mile on a good turf course in 1:35.17.

For Bejarano, the Valentine Dancer was his second consecutive stakes win. He won the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes earlier in the day on Fiftyshadesofhay.

The Valentine Dancer result confirmed Tiz Flirtatious’s status as the leading older California-bred female.

A 5-year-old mare by Tizbud who races for breeder Pamela Ziebarth and trainer Marty Jones, Tiz Flirtatious has won 5 of 8 starts and $334,800. She won the Cat’s Cradle Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park in December 2011, and a division of the California Cup Distaff here last October.

After the Cal Cup Distaff, Tiz Flirtatious was second in the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes at Hollywood Park in November and second in the Grade3 Robert Frankel Stakes here on Dec. 30. She is unbeaten in five career starts against California-breds.

Dancingtothestars, a 12-1 shot, held second, finishing 1 1/4 lengths in front of Toomanytomatoes, a 22-1 shot who set the early pace of 24.31 and 48.30 seconds. Secret Cove was fourth, followed by Chokecherymary, Halo Dolly, and Best Present Ever.

Best Present Ever had a rough race. Jockey Martin Pedroza lost his irons on the backstretch when his saddle appeared to slip. Best Present Ever was at the back of the field entering the stretch, and crossed under the wire more than 20 lengths behind Halo Dolly.