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Tiago returns to the land of past success

Times Staff Writer

Tiago, who finished third in a Belmont Stakes dominated by Rags To Riches and Preakness winner Curlin on June 9, will face much softer opposition in his return to California in the $350,000-added Swaps Breeders’ Cup Stakes on Saturday at Hollywood Park.

Trained by John Shirreffs for owners Jerry and Ann Moss, Tiago will be making his first local appearance since his upset win in the Santa Anita Derby three months ago. If he is able to win the Swaps, a Grade II at 1 1/8 miles, the half brother to 2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo will become only the fourth horse to win the Santa Anita Derby and Swaps. Came Home (2002), Free House (1997) and Temperate Sil (1987) have completed the parlay.

The only other 3-year-olds scheduled to run in the Swaps are Desert Code, Albertus Maximus, Awesome Gambler and Souvenir Slew.

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Making his first start since finishing fifth in the 2006 Stephen Foster Handicap nearly 13 months ago, Brass Hat won a $61,000 optional claimer on the closing-day program at Churchill Downs.

The win was the sixth in 16 starts for the 6-year-old Prized gelding, who is owned by Fred Bradley, the father of trainer Buff Bradley. Willie Martinez rode Brass Hat, who won the New Orleans and Donn handicaps in 2006.

In the final graded stakes of the season, the jockey-trainer combo of Julien Leparoux and Patrick Biancone struck for the second time in three days with a late-running female when Mauralakana won the $150,000 Locust Grove Handicap. Leparoux and Biancone won the $1-million CashCall Mile with Lady of Venice on Friday night at Hollywood Park.

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Favorites won both the stakes races at Belmont Park on Sunday. Distorted Reality, at 2-5, took the $106,000 Lexington, and 3-5 choice Ginger Punch won the $147,000 First Flight Handicap.

bob.mieszerski@latimes.com


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