12/06/2014 8:27PM

Tiz Midnight gets up by a head in Bayakoa

Benoit & Associates
Tiz Midnight and Victor Espinoza narrowly prevail over Warren's Veneda and Tyler Baze in the Grade 2 Bayakoa.

CYPRESS, Calif.- Tiz Midnight earned her first career stakes win in Saturday’s $200,250 Bayakoa Stakes at Los Alamitos.

The 4-5 favorite, Tiz Midnight took the lead in the Grade 2 race  with a furlong to go, lost her advantage to the 10-1 chance Warren’s Veneda for a few strides, and rallied to win by a head. Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Tiz Midnight ($3.60) ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.62, setting a track record on a course first used in July after being expanded to nearly a mile in circumference last winter.

The previous mark of 1:41.82 was held by Legacy from the Cypress Stakes here in July. Legacy finished third in the Bayakoa.

Tiz Midnight was always near the front, a style that has been effective in the opening days of the track’s December meeting, which began on Thursday. Tiz Midnight was second to Yahilwa for the first six furlongs, racing within a length of the lead.

Tiz Midnight took the lead early in the long stretch and impressed trainer Bob Baffert with her resilience after Warren’s Veneda reached the front.

“The stretch here is so long,” he said. “Victor did a good job. I was hoping she would get an easy lead. She was all heart, especially down the lane.

“It’s good to get a Grade 2 win with her.”

Warren’s Veneda, the winner of the Cat’s Cradle Handicap at Hollywood Park in November 2013, ran her best race in a graded stakes. Trained by Craig Lewis for owner and breeder Ben Warren, Warren’s Veneda was third in the 2013 Bayakoa Handicap when the race was run at Hollywood Park, which closed last December.

Warren’s Veneda finished 4 1/4 lengths clear of Legacy, who was followed by Valiant Emilia, Oscar Party, and Yahilwa. Yahilwa won the $200,000 Treasure Chest Stakes at Delta Downs on Nov. 22.

Tiz Midnight, 4, has won 4 of 9 starts and $334,720. Owned by breeders Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, in partnership with Mike Pegram, Tiz Midnight is by Midnight Lute and is out of Tough Tiz’s Sis, who won five stakes, including the Grade 1 Lady’s Secret Stakes at Santa Anita in 2007 and the Grade 1 Ruffian Handicap at Belmont Park in 2008.