Tanzanite Cat opened up his stakes account with a 9-1 upset of Monday's $150,000 Smarty Jones, the first of four major classic preps at Oaklawn Park for three-year-olds.
Away sharply from the gate under Norberto Arroyo Jr., Tanzanite Cat sped out to an early 1 1/2-length lead after a quarter in :23, but relinquished the pace role to Walt down the backside. That rival drove up the rail and led by narrow advantage through a half in :47 1/5 and six furlongs in 1:12 1/5, with Tanzanite Cat comfortably placed in second.
Turning for home in the short stretch of the one-mile race, Tanzanite Cat went for the lead again and steadily wore down his tiring foe. The lead increased to 1 1/4 lengths at the wire with Tanzanite Cat completing the course in 1:38 3/5 over a fast track. He paid $20.20 to win.
The Smarty Jones was the 11th win through the first eight days of racing at Oaklawn for trainer Cody Autrey, who trains the son of Graeme Hall for James and Ywachetta Driver.
Walt held second, 1 1/4 lengths clear of 6-5 favorite Coastline. Son of a Preacher, Fire Starter, A Step Ahead, Unstoppable Colby, Denali Rahy Ruler, D'cajun Cat, and Whyruawesome completed the order of finish.
Tanzanite Cat debuted at Del Mar on August 3 going 5 1/2 furlongs on Polytrack. After dueling for the early lead as the 2-1 favorite, the bay weakened to third, 2 3/4 lengths behind the winning Rum Point. He reappeared at Fair Grounds on December, winning an off-the-turf maiden at the same distance in wire-to-wire fashion by four lengths. Bred in Florida by Charles Deters and Dr. John Peterson, Tanzanite Cat has now earned $123,000.
A $150,000 OBS April purchase last year, Tanzanite Cat is a half-brother to the stakes-winning Hip Four Sixtynine. Both were reared by the Mt. Livermore mare Gentle Wave, a half-sister to Grade 3 winner Recommended List and the stakes winner Soccory.
This is the extended family of Grade 1 winner Crested Wave, Grade 2 queen Wavy Waves, and Grade 3 victor Draw Again.