02/27/2010 12:00AM

Tizaqueena does it again


Tizaqueena made her graded stakes mark racing on turf during 2009, but this mare also gets over dirt - Fair Grounds dirt, at least - just fine. No turf Saturday in New Orleans, and no problem for Tizaqueena, who won the $59,400 Allen Lacombe Memorial Handicap by three-quarters of a length in her 2010 debut.

"Her first three races were on dirt," winning trainer Mike Stidham said. "We weren't too worried."

Stidham had a strong late Saturday afternoon. Shortly after the Lacombe, Comedero won the Mountain Valley Stakes at Oaklawn Park, and in the following race at Fair Grounds, the Stidham-trained Tybalt was impressive winning an off-the-turf allowance race.

Tizaqueena, a 5-year-old by Tiznow owned by the Darley Stable, won three times in 2009, when she captured a Grade 2 and placed in a Grade 1 while racing exclusively on grass. Making her first start Saturday since Nov. 6, when she finished 10th in the Las Palmas Stakes at Santa Anita, her worst performance of the season, Tizaqueena broke decently but was gently taken back off the pace by Shaun Bridgmohan, who rode her for the first time. More of the Best set the tempo, cutting out moderate splits of 24.25 seconds for the first quarter-mile, and 48.57 to the half. Pace-pressing No Use Denying took over the lead on the far turn, but Bridgmohan and Tizaqueena had moved into contention by the three-eighths pole, and attacked at the top of the stretch. No Use Denying fought on gamely, and it took Tizaqueena most of the stretch to push past, but she was clearly going best at the finish, while stopping the timer in 1:45.99 for 1 1/16 miles on a good track after the Lacombe was taken off the turf.

Tizaqueena, the heavy favorite, paid $3.20 to win. No Use Denying was clearly second-best, with another Stidham charge, A She's Adorable, rallying mildly for third.