Black Tide aces Ashley Cole at 28-1 doing what he does best

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

NYRA/Coglianese Photo

By Sarah Mace

There aren’t many horses in training who are more fun to watch than Ivery Sisters Racing’s Black Tide (Hold Me Back). Win, lose or draw, his take-no-prisoners approach to racing is always a thrill. Just ask his trainer Dave Cannizzo. “I think he’s one of the coolest horses I’ve ever trained and one of the best horses I’ve ever trained,” Cannizzo said Sunday afternoon. “The stuff he does is insane. The feelings you get watching him are scary.”

The cause for celebration for Team Cannizzo Sunday was Black Tide’s second career stakes score: a wire-to-wire victory the 43rd running of the Ashley T. Cole for New York-breds going 1 1/8 miles on the inner turf course.

Black Tide had not visited the winner’s circle since last October 21, when he opened up daylight in the Mohawk Stakes on Empire Showcase Day and never looked back, holding on to win by 1 1/4 lengths and post a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 96.

Black Tide’s tactics are no mystery. His best weapon is speed, and his trainer is not shy about telling regular jockey Jose Lezcano to use it. This approach, obviously, can be hit or miss. Once overtaken, the free-wheeling runner can end up out of the money. Cannizzo has spotted the 6-year-old confidently in all four starts this year: a pair of high-priced open allowance/optional claiming races, the Grade 3 Poker and Saratoga’s West Point Stakes. Each time he has challenged the field to catch him if they can, and so far this season they have succeeded, with his best finish being a fourth in his seasonal debut on May 11.

Cannizzo commented on some of the factors at play thus far in Black Tide’s 2018 campaign and the reasons the trainer feels, “He’s finally back to his old self.”

“He got some soft turfs,” Cannizzo said. “At Saratoga, he just wasn’t himself all meet. He was just wild in his stall. He’s finally back to [being] himself. You have to get him so fit to do what he wants to do. I probably gave him too long off; I sent him to Ocala and gave him three months off. To bring him back in these races, he was nowhere near ready. He runs all out the whole race, so he’s finally tight.”

Black Tide broke alertly under regular rider Jose Lezcano, as is his custom, but had to deal with some early company in front in the form of 70-1 Winston’s Chance, who pressed the pace through an opening quarter in 23.92.

After shrugging off that rival for good, Black Tide put four lengths between himself and nearest foe Hit It Once More, who was positioning himself to get first run on the pacesetter as the half and three-quarters ticked by in 47.81 and 1:12.07.

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

Maneuvering out into the five-path at the head of the lane, Black Tide showed no signs of tiring as the cavalry charge closed ranks behind him. In the end, victory was never in doubt, as the dark bay hit the finish line full of run with 1 1/4 lengths to spare.

Offering Plan (5-2) closed from well out of it to finish second. A half-length back the next six horses finished just 1 1/4 lengths apart: Gucci Factor (4-1), Call Provision (2-1), Red Knight and the venerable Kharafa, 9-year-old winner of the West Point in his previous start.

Completing the order of finish were Tapitation, Rapt, Winston’s Chance, Hit It Once More and Leaveematthegate. The final time for the 1 1/8 miles over the “good” inner turf course. was 1:48.09. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Lezcano said, “I liked today that the speed on the grass was kind of holding and I wanted to be there. He broke good and put me there. I got very good fractions and when I asked him, he clearly responded and went on. From the three-eighths to the wire, I felt really confident. I knew I had plenty of horse under me. I just had to ask a little bit and he was gone.”

As to sticking to the same game plan with Black Tide in every start, Cannizzo explained, “I don’t think distance is that big of a problem. It’s just letting him do his own thing. We got to the point where Jose started trying to get him to rate a little bit and try and finish. He’s not going to beat horses doing that because the real closers will outkick him late. He needs to beat them by emptying out. He did that today and it worked.”

The conditioner hopes Black Tide can wrap up the year with a repeat in the $200,000 Mohawk Stakes on October 20, Empire Showcase Day.

Bred by Snow Lantern Thoroughbreds and foaled at the former Highcliff Farm in Delanson, Black Tide is one of four winners from four foals to start out of Turn the Tide, an unraced Theatrical (IRE) mare. Turn the Tide’s second foal Avanzare won a pair of Grade 2 turf stakes on the west coast and earned $536,705. The mare has a juvenile filly by Stormy Atlantic named Tide Storm, who has not yet started and a weanling filly by Triple Crown champion American Pharoah.

Black Tide, whose record stands at eight wins, six seconds and five thirds in 40 starts with $535,220 in earnings, first sold for $30,000 to Thoroughbred Management at the 2013 OBS Yearling sale. He was purchased the following year at the OBS spring 2-year-old sale by McMahon & Hill Bloodstock for $50,000.




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