Tiz Flirtatious won the Rodeo Drive Stakes on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Benoit & Associates)
The exhilaration of becoming a winning owner beckons many to this sport. But a victory hits closest to come when an owner is also a breeder - choosing a match for their mare; waiting, watching, and nurturing; managing the foal to adulthood; and then, witnessing the day their horse steps into the starting gate and ultimately crosses the finish line first. There is the pride of a parent.
An impressive filly, Tiz Flirtatious has given her owner-breeder, Pamela Ziebarth, a reason to celebrate. “Flirty” is in the midst of a solid 2013 racing campaign and looks strong heading into the Breeder’s Cup Filly and Mare Turf.
Of her five starts in 2013, the Marty Jones trainee has won four and was runner-up in another. In 2012, she was Grade 1-placed. She has earned $774,800 and never finished worse than third in a career that spans over a dozen outings.
She won her first two starts of 2013. As the second choice in the betting, Tiz Flirtatious won the 1 1/8-mile Santa Ana Stakes by one length over Lady of Shamrock. Next time out, she suffered her only defeat of the year in the Gamely Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park. She crossed the finish line second to Marketing Mix, beaten by a head. Nonetheless, it was a strong performance – Tiz Flirtatious was 4 ¼ lengths ahead of the next best finisher.
In her fourth start of the year, the daughter of Tizbud went off as the hot favorite in the John C. Mabee Stakes. Without the presence of Marketing Mix, she seemed a certain winner. Tiz Flirtatious passed the final post with a 2 ¼-length score over Lady of Shamrock in the 1 1/8-mile race.
Her most recent race was the first Grade 1 win of her career in the 1 ¼-mile Rodeo Drive Stakes. With Julien Leparoux aboard, she completed the race in an impressive 1:58.98. At the finish line, Tiz Flirtatious pushed her head in front of Marketing Mix in the tight three-horse finish. At 28.60-1, Vionnet was only half-length short of the runner-up as the longest shot in the field.
A 5-year-old mare, Tiz Flirtatious may seem superior to Marketing Mix due to a blasting kick and efficient stride. However, in Tiz Flirtatious’ two races against Marketing Mix this year, she carried less weight. In the Gamely, she carried four pounds less, and in the Rodeo Drive, she had a three-pound advantage over Marketing Mix.
With European invader The Fugue expected to challenge males in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, Tiz Flirtatious and Marketing Mix will face their greatest test from horses such as English raider Dank and Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Stephanie’s Kitten, if she returns in time for the race. Dank will probably go off as the favorite for the Filly and Mare Turf. When Dank romped in the Beverly D., she finished nearly six lengths ahead the Tom Proctor-trained Marketing Mix.