10/17/2008 12:00AM

Tiz Now Tiz Then eyes Oklahoma Derby


The Midwest has been good to Tiz Now Tiz Then.

In June, he picked up the biggest win of his career in the $270,000 Iowa Derby. On Sunday, he returns to this part of the country after racing on the East Coast to start as the probable favorite in the $350,000 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park.

A full field of 12 will start in the 1 1/8-mile race, one of four stakes on the card. The races are worth a cumulative $675,000, and they form an all-stakes pick four that runs from the seventh to 10th race. The program is the richest of the meet.

Tiz Now Tiz Then won his maiden and an allowance this spring in Kentucky before closing with authority to win the Iowa Derby. He then ventured to the East Coast and ran third in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga in July and sixth in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby at Philadelphia Park in his last start Sept. 1.

"He was just a little too keen in that last race," said Eoin Harty, who trains Tiz Now Tiz Then for Zabeel Racing International. "He didn't rate like he usually does, and he was a little closer to the pace. He just didn't settle, and I think that's probably what cost him in the long run."

Harty is hopeful Tiz Now Tiz Then will get a good setup in the Oklahoma Derby.

"There seems to be plenty of speed in the race," he said. "It ought to set up for a horse coming from off the pace, and hopefully he'll be that horse."

Miguel Mena has the mount.

Atlantic Paws should be closer to the pace than he was in his last start, when he rallied from 12 lengths back to finish third to the Breeders' Cup-bound Smooth Air in the $100,000 Needles at a 1 1/16 miles on turf at Calder on Sept. 27.

"He got in trouble right off the bat, in the first turn," said Jim Chapman, who trains Atlantic Paws. "He was carried pretty wide around the turn, and then he got clear back behind the field, and then he had trouble coming through the lane."

Atlantic Paws is returning to dirt, and the last time he ran on the main track he won the $55,000 Puck at Calder with a career-best Beyer Figure of 94. Eddie Martin Jr. has the mount on Atlantic Paws, who arrived last weekend from Ocala, Fla.

Acting Zippy is based at Remington. He earned a career-best Beyer of 96 in his last start, when he won a $20,000 optional claiming race against older horses Sept. 20. He darted from the whip a couple of times in the late stages of the one mile and 70-yard race, which he won by three-quarters of a length in 1:40.40.

"He ran so close to the track record last time, if he hadn't had fooled around in the stretch he probably would have gotten it done," said Don Bennett, who co-owns and trains Acting Zippy. "It was enough to make the difference. We'll make adjustments for that."

Bennett said Acting Zippy will add blinkers. Justin Shepherd has the mount in the Oklahoma Derby.

Golden Yank is the field's highest earner with a bankroll of $383,516, while trainer Todd Pletcher will have a rare Remington starter in Kentucky allowance winner Crimson Comic.