05/01/2008 11:00PM

Tizdejavu wires in Crown Royal upset


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A strong closing kick in a recent turf workout was the impetus for the connections of Tizdejavu to run in Friday's Grade 3 Crown Royal American Turf Stakes. But it was the 3-year-old colt's early foot that made the difference in him winning the $181,950 race.

Under Garrett Gomez, Tizdejavu cleared the field and set a modest pace over a yielding turf course and, despite switching to his wrong lead late, he held on for a neck victory over favored Sailor's Cap. It was 1 1/4 lengths back to Nistle's Crunch in third. It was six lengths back to fourth-place finisher Halo Najib, who ran in the Crown Royal after being excluded from the Kentucky Derby due to insufficient earnings in graded stakes.

Tizdejavu had 1 win and 2 seconds from 4 starts over synthetic surfaces. Since so many horses that have run well on synthetics transferred that form to turf, trainer Greg Fox and owners Michael Cooper and Pamela Ziebarth wanted to take a shot in this race. Also, Fox said Tizdejavu finished very fast in a four-furlong work over Keeneland's turf on April 22.

With heavy rains creating a yielding turf course, the front-runner Prussian was scratched. That left the early lead for the taking and Gomez took it.

Tizdejavu set fractions of 24.64 seconds, 49.15, 1:13.96, and 1:39.30 before covering the 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.14. He returned $44.60 as the longest shot in the field of nine.

"I was just trying to get him away and hoping he'd get a hold of it early on enough where I'd be able to make the lead, set the bit up in his mouth, and get him in a nice flowing stride and that's what I was able to do." Gomez said.

Fox said: "Today was big. Not only the grass, but a very soft turf, a tremendous field. He really stepped up today."