01/12/2013 7:15PM

Turf Paradise: Class drop to Cotton Fitzsimmons Handicap pays off for Tiz Gianni

Tiz Gianni (left), ridden by Jake Barton, ships in from Southern California to win the Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile Handicap.

PHOENIX,  – Tiz Gianni found Grade 2 waters far too deep when seventh in the Hollywood Turf Cup on Dec. 15 but a change of venue and change of class altitude did the trick as he captured Saturday’s $75,000 Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile Handicap at Turf Paradise.

Owned by Desert Sun Stables and making his first start for trainer Mike Chambers, the 5-year-old Tiz Gianni bided his time early in the mile grass test under Jake Barton. He commenced his run into the lane and doggedly kept to his task to reel in pacesetting favorite Green Secret and win by a neck. Green Secret, the 3-2 choice going for his fourth straight win, used his speed from the rail to set the pace, opened up a big lead into the lane to look like a certain winner only to get nailed in the final strides by Tiz Gianni while much the best of the rest, finishing 5 1/2 lengths clear of third-finisher Why Frank. Why Not Be Perfect, the second favorite off two straight big wins, stalked the pace but never flattened out, finishing sixth in the field of 10.

Tiz Gianni paid $10.80 and ran the distance in 1:36.85. The winner’s share of $44,175 gives him earnings of $162,925 from 4 wins in 14 starts. The $35,000 Turf Paradise Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on this course Feb. 16 may be next. A number of his rivals here may show up for that as well.