Published Saturday, November 27th, 2021   ( 6 months ago )

Tezzaray Up in Last Stride to Take Jimmy Durante at Del Mar

Tezzaray | Benoit Photo

Tezzaray © Benoit Photo

Slam Dunk Racing and Roger Newman’s Tezzaray split horses in the stretch, then lunged forward at the wire to capture a nose victory in the $103,000 Jimmy Durante Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at Del Mar Saturday afternoon.

The British-bred daughter of the Dansili sire Bated Breath was ridden to a T by top eastern rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. and covered the mile on turf in 1:37.56. She picked up a winner’s prize of $60,000 in the Grade III feature pushing her earnings to $104,997. She now is two-for-two stateside after a pair of third-place finishes earlier this year in her home country.

Perter Miller conditions the chestnut stretch runner who bested Reddam Racing’s Awake At Midnyte in the photo. Running third a half-length back was Team Valor International or Barber’s Toeris.

Tezzaray paid $8.20, $5.00 and $3.60 across the board. Awake At Midnyte returned $8.80 and $7.00, while Toeris paid $13.80.

The Jimmy Durante was one of three stakes presented Saturday at Del Mar. The other two were the Grade II, $251,000 Seabiscuit Handicap and the Grade I, $400,000 Hollywood Derby.


IRAD ORTIZ, JR. (Tezzaray, winner) – “I had a good trip. I was in a little tight at the three-eighth pole, but that wasn’t anything big. She’s a very European filly; she likes to run covered up. When it came time to run – boom – she went.” 

PETER MILLER, (Tezzaray, winner) – “I had confidence in her. She’s one of those fillies that are very classy and does everything right. I thought we won, then I thought we didn’t, but luckily we got the head bob. I thought all three of my fillies ran very well and all got great rides. Irad (Ortiz, Jr.) had a really clean trip and once he got her in the clear she really kicked home.”


FRACTIONS:  :23.41  :48.52  1:13.32  1:25.48  1:37.56

The stakes win was the fifth stakes win of the meeting for rider Ortiz, Jr. and his second straight (Fluffy Socks, 2020) in the Jimmy Durante. He now has nine stakes wins at Del Mar.

The stakes win was the first of the current meet for trainer Miller and his first in the Jimmy Durante. He now has 44 stakes wins at Del Mar.

The winning owners are Slam Dunk Racing (Nick Casato of Sierra Madre, CA) and Roger Newman of San Diego, CA.