05/10/2010 11:00PM

Tizdejavu looks rejuvenated in win


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - In his last two starts over the Arlington Park grass course, Tizdejavu was badly beaten as the even-money favorite in the 2009 Sea O'Erin Handicap and as a similarly popular choice in the 2008 Secretariat Stakes. On Sunday, Tizdejavu wasn't even favored to beat five foes in a turf allowance race, but this time he came through, winning for the first time in almost a year.

At 3, Tizdejavu won three straight graded turf stakes before finishing a distant third to Winchester in the Grade 1 Secretariat. Tizdejavu was injured not long after that race, and didn't start again until May 2009, and after winning his comeback race at Churchill, Tizdejavu was shut out in four subsequent starts last season.

"Yeah, it was very gratifying to see," said Kentucky-based trainer Greg Fox. "Since he came back from his rest in November and December, he seemed to be several weeks ahead from a similar point last year, and he seemed to be traveling better on a regular basis this year than he ever did last year. This year, he's traveling like he did as a 3-year-old. He ran, actually, more like he did as a 3-year-old, and that was the goal. It was nice to see."

Tizdejavu led all the way in his Sunday victory, holding off a rally from Recapturetheglory, another 5-year-old who was a graded winner in 2008, when he captured the Illinois Derby.

Fox said Tizdejavu came out of his win in good physical condition, and that he was likely to return to stakes racing in his next start. An overnight race at Arlington is a possible destination, but Fox said he also will consider the Dallas Turf Cup on May 31 at Lone Star Park.

New leaders taking hold

Aboard Tizdejavu on Sunday was Jesus Castanon, who ranks among the top riders at Arlington after two racing weeks. Castanon has notched seven wins, two fewer than leading rider Junior Alvarado. Mike Baze, who had never ridden at Arlington until this meet opened, has eight wins, Tanner Riggs seven wins, and both Quincy Hamilton and Tim Thornton have six wins.

The top of the jockey leaderboard, in fact, has changed entirely in the last two years: None of the riders currently in the top six ranked among the top five leading jockeys during the 2008 Arlington meeting.

Playing field levels

After strongly favoring early speed horses the first six days of the meet, Arlington's Polytrack surface began playing more fairly this past weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday, horses racing on the pace or noses away from it at the first call won just three of 14 main-track races, while during the meet's first six days, horses with that running style won a somewhat remarkable 23 of 41 Polytrack races.

Mother's Day card draws a crowd

Arlington played host to an allowance-filled program on Sunday, and the track had special incentive to put together by far the most appealing program of the meet. Sunday was Mother's Day, and Mother's Day brings about one of the biggest crowds of the racing season: Attendance this year was more than 27,000, according to an Arlington official, though Arlington does not publish attendance or handle figures.

Unsurprisingly, quality on the Thursday card falls off considerably, with a pair of Illinois-bred allowance races the highest-quality fare on a 10-race program. Race 7 is for second-level allowance route horses of the female variety, and looks about impossible to figure. The one to watch in race 8, an entry-level sprint, is lightly raced Seguro, who makes his synthetic-surface debut.