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Oct 05, 2007

Tiago holds on to win Goodwood Stakes


Arcadia, CA (Sports Network) - Santa Anita Derby winner Tiago made a successful return to Santa Anita Park to capture Saturday's $500,000 Goodwood Stakes. The win gives the colt automatic entry into the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic as part of the "Win and You're In" program.

The 1 1/8 mile Goodwood lost some of its luster with the absence of defending champ Lava Man. He was scratched in order to run in next Sunday's $250,000 Oak Tree Mile on the grass. "The major factor was that it would give him an extra week," said trainer Doug O'Neill.

The Goodwood, conducted for the first time on the all-weather surface, went off with a field of eight after the scratch of both Lava Man and Porfido. Leading the field around the first turn and into the backstretch was Wanna Runner.

Wanna Runner led the field by two lengths up the backstretch with A.P. Xcellent second. 2-1 co-favorites Lewis Michael and Tiago were running in third and fourth, respectively.

Heading into the far turn Lewis Michael took a short lead with A.P. Xcellent and Awesome Gem to the inside. Tiago was gaining along the rail as the field entered the stretch.

At the top of the stretch Tiago had a short lead over Awesome Gem as the two left the field behind. The two leaders battled down the stretch until Tiago stuck his nose out at the wire.

Awesome Gem was second followed by Big Booster, Lewis Michael, A.P. Xcellent, Hello Sunday, Arson Squad and Wanna Runner. The final time was 1:46.93, just one-fifth of a second off the stakes record.

Owned by Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Moss, Tiago was facing older horses for the first time in the Goodwood. The three-year-old, trained by John Shirreffs, was ridden Mike Smith who was aboard for the Santa Anita Derby victory.

"He's got a lot of heart," said Shifrreffs. "He's a thoroughbred and he'll give it everything he's got, and he did."

Tiago earned $300,000 with the win to bring his career bankroll to more than $1.1 million. The colt has won four times in eight career starts. He was seventh in the Kentucky Derby and third in the Belmont Stakes. Most recently Tiago won the Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park.

"He hadn't run in two and half (months), but whichever way he went, we knew he'd put in a good effort," Jerry Moss noted. "Tiago (and his half-brother, Giacomo) don't look the same, but what they have in common is the same trainer. That's the great equalizer. We try hard to breed horses with stamina. We like the long races; we dream about being in races like this and having a great animal that can run like this. We just got lucky enough to have a good mare and a trainer who knew what to do."

Tiago returned $6.60, $3.40 and $2.80. Awesome Gem paid $3.40 and $2.60, and Big Booster paid $6.00 to show.

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