03/20/2009 11:00PM

Tizaqueena holds on in Fortin


The start of the $60,000 Fortin Handicap at Fair Grounds was a bit shaky for Tizaqueena, but the finish was perfect as the favorite held all challengers at bay for a half-length win over the late-running Sharbat. It was another three-quarters of a length back in third to Nan's Joy.

Tizaqueena ($6.40) broke through the gate before the start of the about 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares, was reloaded without incident, then got the jump on the field at the start. She led her rivals through an opening quarter-mile in 25.30 seconds, with Pretty Squall tracking in second and Shytoe Lafeet settled behind those two in third. The trio continued on through a half-mile in 51.13 and six furlongs in 1:15.74.

Tizaqueena maintained her advantage into the stretch and had more than enough left in the drive to repel all of her challengers and cover the distance on firm turf in 1:47. She then withstood a lengthy stewards' inquiry into the stretch run of the race, concerning the winner and fourth-place finisher Shytoe Lafeet.

No action was taken, giving trainer Michael Stidham his third winner on the day. Tizaqueena races for Darley Stable. It was the first stakes win for the filly, who is a daughter of Tiznow. She is now 4 for 5.