By Dick Downey
The California Breeders Championship Stakes saw an upset of 4-5 favorite Omega Star when Tiz A Minister made one run from tenth and last to win by 1 1/4 length at Santa Anita.
Tiz A Minister, ridden by Garrett Gomez at 9-1 odds, was timed for the mile in 1:36.56. Julien Leparoux was up on Omega Star, who came from a stalking fifth position to grab the lead in the stretch, only to be bypassed by the winner inside the furlong marker.
The race restricted to California-bred 3-year-olds, carried a purse of $300,000, with $165,000 awarded to winning owner S.A.Y. Racing LLC. Paul Aguirre trains Tiz A Minister, who was bred by Dahlberg Farms LLC. The race does not qualify for Kentucky Derby points.
Paul Aguirre, Tiz A Minister: “I told him, ‘All the other jocks have let him creep a little bit; he just wants to make one run.’ I thought he was crazy where he put him, but Garrett, he’s really a genius on the back of a horse. Nobody else can get a horse to run like that. If you hold this horse and make one run, he’ll run every time, and he’d run once a week if you’d let him. Nothing seems to bug him. He’s right back in the feed tub and ready to run again.”
Garrettt Gomez, Tiz A Minister: “It was an exact copy of what happened in the last race. This little horse was running. I cranked him up, he settled in behind them and he traveled well. He was really turned off all the way on the backside and when I had to get him up a little bit, he did so willingly. When I angled him out he really did go to running and I got him to switch leads. He ran down Julien’s horse. Julien’s horse wasn’t lying down, my horse was actually running.”
John Shirreffs, Omega Star, 4-5 Favorite, Second: “I think he ran well. I was hoping to win, obviously. It’s a race, right?”
Julien Leparoux, Omega Star, Second: “We had a good trip. We got out to a good spot on the track, the straight, and he just ran me down. That was it . . . Obviously, we thought we were going to win; we were hoping, anyway. But he ran a good race.”