Cal invader It Tiz Well favored in G3 Delaware Oaks

by | Jul 5, 2017 | Breaking, DE Racing, Delaware, Racing, Top Stories


Actress (inside) held off Lights of Medina to win the Black-Eyed Susan. Photo by Laurie Asseo.

From a Delaware Park release

California invader It Tiz Well tops the 66th renewal of the $300,000 Grade III Delaware Oaks at Delaware Park this Saturday. The mile and a sixteenth affair has attracted a field of six. The Delaware Oaks will be televised live on Fox Sports 2 with an approximate post time of 6:35 p.m.

Tommy Town Thoroughbreds’ It Tiz Well has a career record of three wins, a second, and two third from seven starts with earnings of $286,840. In her most recent effort, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Arch encountered trouble and was steadied twice before finishing fifth in the $200,000 Grade II Summertime Oaks at Santa Anita on June 17. Previously, she finished third in the $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks on April 8. She recorded her last victory in the $200,000 Grade III Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 11.

“We did not have much luck in her last race, but she only got beat 2 ½-lengths,” said trainer Jerry Hollendorfer from his barn in southern California. “She has gone on the road and won a stake in Arkansas, we really did not have a dirt race for her here, so we are going to bring her to Delaware. We have had success in the past at Delaware and the purse is nice.”

Hollendorfer, has enjoyed great success shipping from southern California to Delaware. The 71-year-old native of Akron, Ohio, won the Delaware Oaks with the 3-year-old filly champion Blind Luck in 2010. The following year, he shipped her east again and defeated the eventual 2011 Horse of Year Havre de Grace, conditioned by locally-based trainer J. Larry Jones, by a nose in the Delaware Handicap. Hollendorfer also won the Delaware Handicap in 2008 with Hystericalady.

Among the runners It Tiz Well (8-5 morning line) will have to contend with here is Actress (5-2). The Jason Servis trainee scored a 12-1 upset last out in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, rallying from well out of it to get up by a head. It was her first win in three career starts; Nik Juarez will ride.

Brereton Jones’s rapidly developing Proud and Fearless (8-1) will be defending the home field. The daughter of Proud Citizen has won her last three starts at different tracks by a combined a margin 13 ¼-lengths. On March 17, the Kentucky-bred broke her maiden going a mile and seventy yards at the Fair Grounds. She followed with a victory in a mile allowance at Parx on April 10. In her most recent outing, she won a Delaware Park allowance on June 3. She has a career record of three wins and a second from six starts with earnings of $73,250.

“She came to us a little late. We did not get her until we were at Keeneland in the fall,” said trainer J. Larry Jones, who won the Delaware Oaks with Proud Spell in 2008. “She was just a very slow maturing filly. She had a pretty big frame on her, but was just not filling out. We kind of liked the way she traveled, but she was also a little slow mentally. She just did not act like she had a real purpose until after she broke her maiden. After that, it was like all of a sudden the lights came on. In her first few races, it was like she was just running around in the mud. She showed a little a talent, but she just was not staying focused the entire way.”

Proud and Fearless took four tries to break her maiden, finally scoring against maiden claimers at the Fair Grounds. That kicked off what has turned into a three-race winning streak. Most recently, in a second-level allowance at Delaware against older rivals, she won off by nine lengths.

“Things changed after she broke her maiden,” Jones said. “Her next start at Parx was also a little bit of a surprise. She handled those horses fairly handily and it was a pretty good bunch. It showed us, she was really going in the right direction. In her next start, she was the only 3-year-old against older fillies and I was not sure her last race form was going to be good enough. I was a little surprised she was the favorite, but she ran to that favoritism. She really showed those older fillies who was the best that day. I think she may have developed a lot faster in short period of time of what we were realizing. So, this is the next logical spot, we are at home and we are very excited for the opportunity.”

Three C Stables, West Point Thoroughbreds and Robert Masiello’s Berned (9-2) will be seeking her first career stake victory. The Kentucky-bred trained by H. Graham Motion, has a career record of two wins and two seconds from five starts with earnings $125,945. In her only outing in 2017, she posted a 2 1/4-length score in a one mile allowance at Monmouth Park on May 20. Last year, she finished second in the Grade III Tempted Stakes at Aqueduct before concluding her 2017 campaign by finishing unplaced in the Grade I Starlet at Los Alamitos.

“I was impressed with her at Monmouth,” said trainer H. Graham Motion, who won the Delaware Oaks in with Sincerely in 2000 and Fortune Pearl in 2014. “She was coming off a little break and she did very well that day. Since that race, I have had this race in mind for her. This race just seems like a great fit her. It is local and it will give her plenty of time after her first start of the season.”

Since Motion won the Delaware Handicap with Power Play in 1997, he has always made a point of making sure he has starters in the big Delaware Park races. In addition to winning the Delaware Handicap and the Delaware Oaks twice, the 53-year-old native of Cambridge, England, has won the Robert G. Dick Memorial seven times.

“These are races that are partial to me,” Motion said. “They are races that were important in the founding of my career and they are special to us.”


  1. You Know Too (10-1) — Trainer Michael Gorham/jockey Alex Cintron
  2. Proud and Fearless (8-1) — Larry Jones/Brian Pedroza
  3. It Tiz Well (8-5) — Jerry Hollendorfer/Drayden Van Dyke
  4. Modacious (4-1) — John Servis/Frankie Pennington
  5. Berned (9-2) — Graham Motion/Feargal Lynch
  6. Actress (5-2) — Jason Servis/Nik Juarez