10/10/2008 12:00AM

Tiz Now Tiz Then may head to Oklahoma Derby


Tiz Now Tiz Then, the winner of the Iowa Derby, could be headed to Oklahoma. Trainer Eoin Harty on Friday said he was looking into travel arrangements for the horse who is a candidate for the $350,000 Oklahoma Derby next Sunday at Remington Park.

“It’s a pretty good possibility, for sure,” said Harty, who characterized Tiz Now Tiz Then as a 75 percent go for the race as of Friday.

Tiz Now Tiz Then, who is now based at Keeneland, was effective on the road this summer. He was third in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga on July 27, and won the $270,000 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows on June 27.

“He’s made a lot of money hitting spots like this one, so that makes the race attractive,” said Harty.

Tiz Now Tiz Then would start as one of the top choices in the Oklahoma Derby, which could also draw Golden Yank, the winner of the $100,000 MEC Mile last year at Remington, and Acting Zippy, a recent optional claiming winner with a Beyer Speed Figure of 96.

The Oklahoma Derby will be supported by three other stakes Oct. 19. As a lead-in to the meet’s richest card, there will be three stakes run next Saturday night. Among them is the Remington Park Oaks, a race for which Dubai Majesty, the third-place finisher last out in the Grade 2 Indiana Oaks, is being considered, said her trainer, Bret Calhoun.

Valenzuela readies for Fair Grounds

Jockey Pat Valenzuela, who won the 4,000th race of his career Thursday at Louisiana Downs, will head to Fair Grounds with the support of some strong stables following the close of the Bossier City, La., meet next Saturday. He has been riding on a regular basis for high-percentage trainers Morris Nicks and Pat Mouton, who are headed to New Orleans, and could also be riding for Southern California regular Doug O’Neill.

O’Neill on Friday said he was hoping to send a division of 12 to 20 horses to Fair Grounds, provided a handful of details come together. If he sets up shop in New Orleans, it will be the first time he has had a string at Fair Grounds. O’Neill said he would like to use Valenzuela, who has ridden for him in Southern California.

“We’ve got a great rapport,” said O’Neill.

The milestone Valenzuela hit Thursday came aboard Burst of Light for trainer Gregg Pickerell. It was one of several significant mounts Valenzuela has had in 30 years in the saddle. He won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Super Derby in 1989 with the Charlie Whittingham-trained Sunday Silence. Valenzuela recalls working him between races at Del Mar in preparation for the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs.

“He worked a mile in 1:33.20, which was the track record at the time at Del Mar,” said Valenzuela. “Charlie said whatever you do, make sure he finishes. I could not believe we went around there in 1:33.20. It was one heck of a work.”

Another significant mount was Arazi. Valenzuela guided the horse to a five-length win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in 1991, one of seven wins the rider has in Breeders’ Cup races.

“The most exciting horse I think I’ve ever ridden in a race was probably Arazi in the Breeders’ Cup,” he said. “That day was unbelievable. I’ve never been on a horse that moved for five-eighths of a mile so quick and just did it under wraps. I was very fortunate to have the mount that day.”

Legends hits Lone Star, Sam Houston

Hall of Fame riders Angel Cordero Jr., Pat Day, and Laffit Pincay Jr. will be in Texas on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of the coast-to-coast Breeders’ Cup Legends Tour. They hit Lone Star near Dallas first. The riders will participate in a free autograph session at the track’s simulcast pavilion from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

Sam Houston will host the riders on Wednesday for an autograph session on the paddock level of the grandstand. It begins at 2:30 p.m. The tour includes a historic photograph display and other racing memorabilia, according to officials with Sam Houston.

Cordero and Day are scheduled to ride against six other retired Hall of Fame jockeys in the Living Legends Race at Santa Anita on Oct. 18. The field will also include Jerry Bailey, Sandy Hawley, Julie Krone, Chris McCarron, Gary Stevens, and Jacinto Vasquez.

* Jockey Eddie Martin Jr., who rode five winners last Saturday night at Remington, came back with a triple Thursday night to move to the lead in the standings.