11/25/2006 12:00AM

Tiz Wonderful game winner in KJC


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Displaying the uncommon determination his sire showed six autumns ago at Churchill Downs, Tiz Wonderful fought back to score a dramatic victory Saturday in the Grade 2, $223,800 .

Ridden by John Velazquez, who rode three other winners on the closing-day program, Tiz Wonderful contested all the pace in the KJC Stakes. After briefly taking command in the far turn, he fell narrowly behind Any Given Saturday for much of the stretch run, but then roared back along the rail to prevail by a half-length.

Tiz Wonderful is unbeaten in three starts for his owner, the Stonestreet Stable of Jess Jackson. The win revived memories of the way his sire, Tiznow, battled back to win in the 2000 Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill.

Tiz Wonderful returned $3 as the heavy favorite in a field of nine 2-year-olds and finished 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.84 over a fast track. He had not been seriously challenged when he won a Saratoga maiden race and the Oct. 29 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill.

"He'd been untested so far, and at some point you're going to hook something that makes you run," said trainer Scott Blasi. "He responded with a lot of fight, the way you like them to."

Dominican finished third, another 5 3/4 lengths behind Any Given Saturday, the 9-2 second choice who is owned by WinStar Farm and trained by Todd Pletcher.

Tiz Wonderful will soon head to the Fair Grounds with Blasi's main string to prepare for a Kentucky Derby campaign.

The KJC was the co-feature of a program run under the "Stars of Tomorrow" theme. Every race, including the KJC and its sister race, the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes, was restricted to 2-year-olds.

Lady Joanne stuns Change Up

Carl Nafzger now has a major prospect for the Kentucky Oaks to go along with early Derby favorite Street Sense, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner.

Lady Joanne, owned by Bentley Smith and trained by Nafzger, wore down heavily favored Change Up to post her first stakes victory in the $224,600 Golden Rod. She returned $8 as second choice in a field of nine 2-year-old fillies. She finished 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.12.

With John McKee aboard, Lady Joanne made a sudden move entering the backstretch of the 1 1/16-mile Golden Rod and challenged Change Up for the lead. From the five-eighths pole to inside the furlong pole, the two were inseparable, but Lady Joanne steadily edged clear in the final 100 yards to prevail by 1 1/4 lengths.

High Heels finished third, another two lengths back behind Change Up, the 7-10 favorite under Velazquez.

Lady Joanne, a homebred by Orientate out of the mare Oatsee, now has won twice in four starts. She finished third behind Change Up in her last start, the Oct. 29 Pocahontas. Like Street Sense, the 10-length winner of the BC Juvenile, Lady Joanne will soon head to the Palm Meadows Training Center.

Invaders take overnight turf stakes

Illinois invaders swept both halves of overnight stakes on turf: Corrupt won the $56,110 Grand Canyon at 1 1/16 miles for trainer Chris Block and Ciao won the $66,300 Caressing at one mile for trainer Frank Kirby.

Corrupt ($4.40) got a textbook ride from Robby Albarado, wearing down front-running Loose Leaf to stay unbeaten in two starts. Ciao ($47.80), ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, overtook front-running Bavarian Belle in deep stretch to post a one-length triumph in the Caressing.

The victory aboard Ciao allowed Bridgmohan to gain a tie with Calvin Borel for leading rider at the meet. Both jockeys finished with 23 wins, although Borel, the rider of Street Sense, missed the last 2 1/2 programs with a broken arm.

Blasi was the meet's leading trainer with 17 wins. The leading owner was Richard, Bert, and Elaine Klein with nine wins.

* Teuflesberg ($9.20) rebounded from a 10th-place finish in the BC Juvenile, drawing clear under Albarado to win a $48,240 entry-level allowance at six furlongs.

* Because the meet ended, a mandatory payout in the pick 6 was made Saturday. There were no perfect tickets; each ticket with 5 of 6 returned $583.60.