02/19/2007 1:00AM

Turf Paradise: Tie Rod looks sharp


Tie Rod firmly established himself atop the local 3-year-old pecking order with a demonstrative victory in the $100,000 Turf Paradise Derby.

Trained by Joe Johnson, Tie Rod dueled with R Big Stuff in the 1 1/16-mile event, got the better of that rival going to the far turn, spurted clear into the lane, and had no trouble keeping favored Gregorian Bay safe through the final furlongs, coming home 2 3/4 lengths clear. Tie Rod ($6.60) covered the distance in 1:43.91 under Juan Rivera.

* Staten Island kept the day's other big prize at home, as the locally trained daughter of In Excess took the $75,000 Arizona Oaks for 3-year-old fillies. Trained by Kevin Lewis, Staten Island ($12.80) swooped to the lead into the lane with a strong wide run and drew away from there, ending up 2 3/4 lengths clear at the wire under Sandi Gann. She covered the mile in 1:37.54 on a fast track.

Slew o' Platinum rallied smartly to be second in the field of 10, finishing 3 1/4 lengths clear of Torrance in third. Summertime, the 3-2 favorite, could manage only fifth.