Josh’s Z Tam, sent off at 22-1 odds, pulled off a surprise in the first of two $15,000 Illinois Standardbred Owners and Breeders Association stakes Monday night at Maywood Park with the help of some racing luck, a heady move by his driver Tim Tetrick, and a show of determination by the smallish two-year-old pacer.
Josh’s Z Tam ($45.00) was seventh, some 10 and 1/2 lengths behind when Joe Somebody (Andy Miller) sped to a :27.1 first quarter with the 3-5 favorite I Believe Its True (Sam Widger) in the pocket in the seventh race first ISOBA stake. At the :55.5 half the Dave McCaffrey trainee remained next to the pylons in seventh, with three horses ahead on the inside and three more ahead on his outside, and still some 7 and 1/2 lengths behind.
Tetrick was able to get Josh’s Z Tam off the inside path on the backside when Fox Valley Cruiser (Mike Oosting) made a three-wide move to go past a tiring Fox Valley Piston (Dale Hiteman). Right before the 1:24.2 three-quarters Widger took I Believe Its True out of the two-hole, keeping Fox Valley Cruiser three-wide. Those moves enabled Tetrick to maneuver Josh’s Z Tam around Forever Mack (Ross Leonard) and then duck the winner to the inside spot vacated by the public’s choice.
Josh’s Z Tam came up the open stretch, dug in, and powered his way past a game Joe Somebody, notching his third first season win in 11 starts for McCaffrey and MJGB Racing Stables Inc (Nanuet, NY) with a 1:54 flat clocking. Joe Somebody was only a head short of the winner, while Fox Valley Cruiser took third, beaten almost two lengths.
“It just worked out perfectly for this little horse,” said winning driver Tim Tetrick. “It seemed when we needed someone to pull or duck, they did. And when I saw daylight on the inside when Sammy (Widger) took his horse off the rail, I was able to get there and this little horse did the rest.”
The ninth race second ISOBA stake went very much as expected when the heavy 3-5 favorite Thisbigdogwillfight ($3.20) drew off with Pat Berry in the bike in a very impressive winning time of 1:53.1.
Latte Tom (Lavern Hostetler), who was shuffled back by a tiring horse, came on to be a far back second, while Fox Valley Appeal (Andy Miller) was a non-threatening third.
Latte Tom and Instant Classic left from the 7 and 8 slots, respectively and battled through much of the first quarter with the latter on the lead at the :27.3 first panel. Instant Classic went to a :28 flat second quarter as Berry took Thisbigdogwillfight out of third and after the pacesetter.
Thisbigdogwillfight had no trouble zipping past before the 1:24.1 three-quarter pole and heading into the final turn it was just a question of how much would be his winning margin, and how fast would he go. The answer to the first part of the question was seven and three-quarters lengths, while the answer to the second was a final time only two-fifths of a second off the track and world record (1:52.4) set by My Boy David at Maywood Park last month.
“He felt like he had something left but I wasn’t going to ask him for it,” said driver Pat Berry. “We had the race wrapped up. He’s a strong young horse who is a lot better than is record. He was always taking on the best in the division and he was little sick for a while, too.”
Trained by Jim Eaton and owned by Rebud Stable (Frankfort, IL) and Michael McNeely (Normal, IL), Thisbigdogwillfight had won once (1:55.4 at Balmoral) in 11 first season starts going into his ISOBA stake.
Mike Paradise, director of publicity