05/04/2008 11:00PM

Tough Tiz's Sis continues to rise in division

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Wins from Tough Tiz's Sis in races such as Sunday's $108,500 Hawthorne Handicap make trainer Bob Baffert think that the filly can play an important role in graded stakes for fillies and mares.

At least as long as those races do not include Zenyatta, the winner of the Apple Blossom Handicap and the division's leader.

"We'll keep her away from Zenyatta," Baffert said.

In the Grade 3 Hawthorne Handicap, Tough Tiz's Sis, carrying top weight of 121 pounds, beat six rivals for her fifth stakes win.

Ridden by Aaron Gryder, Tough Tiz's Sis ($6) ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.84, finishing three-quarters of a length in front of Santa Teresita. Dawn After Dawn, whose saddle slipped on the backstretch, held third in the field of seven fillies and mares.

Tough Tiz's Sis had the early lead but yielded to Dawn After Dawn, who took the lead when jockey Victor Espinoza lost full control of his mount. Tough Tiz's Sis regained the lead in the final furlong.

The Hawthorne was the first start for Tough Tiz's Sis since a win in the Harry Henson Handicap at Sunland Park in March.

Owned by a partnership, Tough Tiz's Sis, 4, has won 7 of 17 starts and $627,792. She won the Grade 1 Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Stakes at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting last fall.