01/26/2013 6:52PM

Santa Anita: Tiz a Minister gobbles up ground late in California Breeders' Champion

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Benoit & Associates
Tiz a Minister, under Garrett Gomez, goes from last to first in the California Breeders' Champion Stakes.

ARCADIA, Calif. - A $40,000 summertime claim turned into a $300,000 stakes winner on Saturday.

Tiz a Minister, claimed at Del Mar last summer, pulled an upset win in Saturday’s $300,000 California Breeders’ Champion Stakes for California-breds at Santa Anita.

Tiz a Minister closed from last in a field of 10 under jockey Garrett Gomez to catch 4-5 favorite Omega Star in the final sixteenth of the one-mile race. For Gomez, Tiz a Minister was his second consecutive win in a $300,000 race with a horse who closed from well off the pace. In the preceding race, he won the fillies’ division of the stakes with the23-1 shot Qiaona.

Tiz a Minister ($21.40) was the fifth choice in a field of 11.

“It was essentially a carbon copy of the last race,” Gomez said.

Tiz a Minister was timed in 1:36.56, earning $165,000 for owner Stephen Young and trainer Paul Aguirre.

“The little horse was running,” Gomez said. “When I asked him to pick it up, he did so willingly.”

Tiz a Minister was eighth with a quarter-mile remaining, trailing pacesetter Surfcup by nine lengths. Omega Star, who was fifth on the backstretch, took the lead from Surfcup with a furlong remaining, and looked like a winner under jockey Julien Leparoux before Tiz a Minister took the lead.

“He ran down Julien’s horse,” Gomez said of Tiz a Minister. “He was really running.”

Tiz a Minister won by 1 1/4 lengths over Omega Star, who finished 2 1-2 lengths clear of Surfcup.

Young and Aguirre claimed Tiz a Minister with the hope of a win in a maiden special weight and a stakes appearance in the autumn.

 “We thought he could break his maiden straight,” Young said.

Tiz a Minister did win a maiden special weight, at Betfair Hollywood Park in November, in his sixth start. Tiz a Minister was fourth in the King Glorious Stakes at Hollywood Park on Dec. 16 before finishing second as the 1-2 favorite in a starter allowance on turf here on Jan. 10.

By Ministers Wild Cat, Tiz a Minister has won 2 of 9 starts and $246,780.