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DEL MAR, CA – After failing to hold him off in last year’s Tokyo City Cup (G3), Tizamagician put his since-developed class on full display Sunday when he dispatched of Cupid’s Claws at the top of the stretch and drew off to win the $100,000 Cougar II Stakes (G3) at Del Mar.
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Jockey Flavien Prat kept Tizamagician, the heavy 1/5 favorite, just off the right flank of early leader Heywoods Beach for the opening mile before ranging up to contend heading into the far turn for the second time.
Cupid’s Claws soon challenged three-wide and looked as if he might pull the upset, but Tizamagician responded alertly when asked and began clearing away at the 3/16 pole.
Bounding home confidently, the Richard Mandella trainee crossed 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Cupid’s Claws while completing the 1 1/2-mile fast dirt route in 2:31.45.
“He broke well today,” said Prat, who won 4 races on Sunday’s card including the other stakes, the Wickerr. “The thing with him is to get him to relax. He did that pretty well. At the 3/8 (pole), I began to ride him and he responded. It’s always good to win a race for Mr. Mandella. That’s special. He was the man that brought me over here (from France) and it’s good when I can win one for him.”
Cupid’s Claws was 5 1/4 lengths clear of a three-way photo for third that went to Heywoods Beach over the 2019 winner Campaign and Red King by a nose and a neck, respectively.
Contagion took a bad step entering the far turn for the second time and was vanned off.
Tizamagician’s win was his second from his past 3 starts following April’s latest edition of the Tokyo City Cup (G3) and followed a runner-up effort in the Brooklyn Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park. The 4-year-old Tiznow colt improved his record to 18-5-7-0 with $427,851 earned for MyRacehorse.com and Spendthrift Farm.
“He likes to run all day,” said Mandella, who hinted that the 1 1/4-mile Pacific Classic (G1) here August 21 could be in play next. “I think Flavien even had trouble pulling him up after all that. He’s figuring things out and he really likes the long distance.”
Tizamagician returned $2.60 to win, $2.20 to place, and $2.10 to show. Cupid’s Claws brought back $4.40 to place and $2.80 to show. Campaign paid $2.60 to show.
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