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The New England Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick was in search of something inspirational to encourage his losing football team. He showed his team a replay of the 2001 Breeders’ Cup Classic with Tiznow denying that year’s Arc winner, Sakhee, the victory. The Patriots went on to win the 2002 Super Bowl.
This big horse has leapt into my heart with all four hooves for not only his racing career, but also his beauty, unique personality, and greatness as a sire. My admiration for horses who have impacted racing and breeding history, usually have come and gone by my lifetime. However, this time, history is on my side, in the here and now. Although I didn’t get to see him race, Tiznow is currently a force in the breeding shed.
While visiting Kentucky at this time last year, my mother, sister, and I stopped at WinStar Farm for their stallion tour, for one goal in mind…Tiznow.
Standing before Tiznow, I saw a gentle giant. Surrounded by onlookers, the two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner stood statuesque with his dark ears facing forward contentedly, his eyes shaded. I had to wonder if we were the spectacle, with Tiznow the onlooker.
As a three year old in 2000, the Jay Robbins trainee was a relatively late-bloomer, winning the Super Derby in track record time. Born into an impressive crop of three year olds, he proved to be the best when he crossed the wire first in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Ireland’s champion three year old, Giant’s Causeway was a neck behind in second. That year’s Kentucky Derby winner, Fusaichi Pegasus, and Belmont Stakes winner, Lemon Drop Kid also fell victim to the daunting dark bay.
Tiznow’s owner, Cecilia Straub-Rubens, had owned both the superstar colt’s sire and dam since they were yearlings. Preferring to be called Cee, she commonly included this nickname in her horses’ names. Tiznow’s sire was Cee’s Tizzy, and Tiznow’s dam was Cee’s Song.
Eighty-three year old Straub-Rubens was known for her passion for her horses. Tiznow brought joy into his owner’s life that was plagued by cancer. Her boy’s co-owner, Mike Cooper, stated, “Those two minutes it took Tiznow to run that race (2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic) were the best she had felt in a long time." He said, “I think it was Tiznow that kept her going.”
Straub-Rubens went against her doctor’s orders when she watched Tiznow cross the wire first in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in person. That nail-biting victory earned her pride and joy Horse of the Year, Champion Three Year Old Male, and NTRA’s Moment of the Year award.
Only three days after her boy’s legendary win, Straub-Rubens went in for surgery. At six-fifteen in the morning during the operation, she died of a heart attack. Her last words were, “You tell Jay (Robbins) to take care of my boy .”
Tiznow came into his four year old career a winner, crossing the wire first in the San Fernando Breeders’ Cup Stakes by 1 ¼ lengths.
The behemoth colt had lost the spark he had from his three year old career according to the people close to the horse. Tiznow was reluctant to train, and his regular jockey, Chris McCarron thought the Breeders’ Cup champion was “bored”.
After a two length loss in the Strub Stakes, Tiznow came back to his three year old form in the Santa Anita Handicap by easily running away from opposition to win by six lengths. However, his following two starts in the Woodward and Goodwood Breeders’ Cup displayed a lackluster Tiznow crossing the wire third.
In the 2001 Breeders’ Cup, Tiznow would have to overtake a large field of twelve other horses who had exhibited dominance throughout the year. Orientate was coming off a victory in the Indiana Derby, and Include had won that year’s Pimlico Special, defeating the successful Albert The Great by a head. Albert The Great, who had won the previous year’s Jockey Club Gold Cup as a three year old, had continued to perform consistently. Galileo (IRE) was a factor to take into consideration, winning the Epsom Derby, Irish Derby, and showing older horses his heels when he won the King George IV and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Sakhee was the defending champion’s largest opponent, running away with that year’s Arc by many lengths. However, it was Aptitude who was made the 2-1 favorite with Tiznow at odds of 6-1.
Breaking from gate ten in the Classic, Tiznow came out cleanly, and raced in a relaxed third one length behind a speed duel with fractions of :23 1/5 for the quarter and :47 for the half. After the half mile, Tiznow, running on the outside, had dropped back to fourth, loping along with ease.
With three furlongs to go, Tiznow had moved into second, but Sakhee was ready to strike, hanging on Tiznow’s waist. McCarron aboard Tiznow was only hand riding when Sakhee and Frankie Dettori made a strong bid for the lead out of the final turn.
It appeared that both Albert The Great and the Arc winner had the defending champion beat midway down the stretch. However, Tiznow came on with a valiant rush in the final strides, claiming his title as the only two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic victor in those triumphant closing yards. What determined the win was a head bob at the wire that allowed track announcer, Tom Durkin, to exclaim, “And Tiznow wins it for America!”
Not only did he complete that daunting task that which no other horse has succeeded, but also, the time it took this tremendous horse to run this 1 ¼ mile contest was 2:00.62. Tiznow went out of his racing career a champion, receiving honors for Older Male Horse, and yet another NTRA Moment of the Year award.
Because of his outstanding accomplishments, there are two races named after Tiznow, the first California-bred horse to ever win a Breeders’ Cup race. Out of his fifteen starts, he won eight, placing in four, and showing in two races. Tiznow earned $6,427,830 from his racing career.
Tiznow, beginning his stallion career as a WinStar/Taylor Made venture, had an impressive pedigree presenting abundant potential in the breeding shed.
Cee’s Tizzy was a consistent sire in the Breeders’ Cup Classic-Budroyale, a full-brother of Tiznow placed in the race as a six year old. Cee’s Tizzy’s other successful offspring that contributed to his progeny’s total earnings of $32,311,112 include Champion Older Female, Gourmet Girl; and Cee’s Elegance who was California’s Champion Older Female.
The white stallion is by Relaunch, whose broodmare sire, The Axe, is by Mahmoud- also the sire of Almahmoud. Cee’s Tizzy’s broodmare sire is Lyphard, by Northern Dancer whose second dam is Almahmoud. Three more crosses of Mahmoud can be found in Cee’s Song’s heritage.
The Axe’s broodmare sire is Shut Out who won the 1942 Kentucky Derby. By racing star Equipoise (aka “The Chocolate Soldier), Shut Out has an interesting pedigree. His second dam, Oval was a product of the breeding of Fair Play-Olympia, by Rock Sand. It is intriguing that the breeding of Fair Play to a Rock Sand mare also produced Man O’ War.
Relaunch is by In Reality with his desirable bloodlines. In Reality has two crosses of War Relic in his pedigree. War Relic’s sire, Man O’ War, was not only brilliant as a racehorse, but also passed on some of his greatness to his progeny.
Cee’s Song, by Seattle Song, is the dam of four stakes winners, all by Cee’s Tizzy. Her dam, Lonely Dancer, traces back to Northern Dancer. This alone makes Cee’s Song a strong match for Cee’s Tizzy.
Straub-Rubens’ decision to breed Cee’s Song to Cee’s Tizzy impresses me greatly. Seattle Song’s fourth dam is by Man O’ War, who, as mentioned above, has played an important role in Cee’s Tizzy’s pedigree. Seattle Song’s sire is Seattle Slew who won the Triple Crown in 1977. Seattle Slew’s fourth dam is Crepe Myrtle. This mare is by Equipoise who took part in producing Cee’s Tizzy. Both Peter Pan and Broomstick appear twice in Cee’s Song’s pedigree. Cee’s Tizzy is also a descendant of these two horses.
Seattle Song’s broodmare sire is Prince Blessed, by Princequillo. This is one of the two times where the champion broodmare sire (Princequillo) appears in Seattle Song’s pedigree. Cee’s Song is inbred to Blue Larkspur because Crepe Myrtle is out of champion broodmare Myrtlewood, who is by Blue Larkspur who is also the sire of Prince Blessed’s second dam.
Cee’s Song’s fourth dam, Blue Canary, is by Buy And Sell, by Bimelech who is from the breeding of Black Toney to La Troienne. Prince Blessed’s broodmare sire is Bull Dog, by Teddy-the sire of La Troienne.
While researching Tiznow’s bloodlines, I discovered eight crosses of the Darley Arabian and Byerley Turk, as well as three crosses of the Godolphin Arabian in his fifteenth dam’s pedigree. He is one of the few modern Thoroughbreds whose sire line does not end at the Darley Arabian-instead ending at the Godolphin Arabian.
Tiznow has had great success as a sire, producing 2008 wire to wire Belmont Stakes winner, Da’Tara; 2008 Travers Stakes winner, Colonel John; 2009 2- length Dubai World Cup winner, Well Armed; Bullsbay, Tough Tiz’s Sis, Slew’s Tizzy, Informed, Tizqueena, Tizdejavu, and Tizway who is aiming for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. In his first year at stud, he sired Folklore, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
He was the leading first crop covering sire, as well as the leading first crop weanling sire. Out of the stallions standing stud in 2009, horsemen ranked Tiznow seventh behind A.P Indy (pensioned), Distorted Humor, Smart Strike, Dynaformer, Awesome Again, and Dixieland Band (deceased).
Having seen Tiznow, standing squarely, in person, I could clearly see that he was the ideal racehorse. Obviously, the first quality of Tiznow I observed was his enormous stature. A great appeal of Tiznow is his proportionality. Unlike many horses with such height, his legs are substantial and correct.
One of Tiznow’s greatest quality is his strong topline, from his withers to his tail. Coming out of his withers, Tiznow’s back is straight to his prominent and powerful loins which are nearly convex. He does not fall short in his rump that has outstanding angulation which allows Tiznow to reach and push farther and harder with those hind legs. Even after stepping off the track nearly ten years ago, I was amazed by how the strength of his back had maintained that power over time, displaying longevity.
The impact of Cecilia Straub-Ruben’s decision to cross Cee’s Tizzy and Cee’s Song has left thoroughbred horseracing with a legacy that will impact the industry in a profoundly magnificent way far into the future. Justifiably, the horse demands our primary focus in this sport, but without these passionate people making smart decisions, none of us would have the opportunity to admire these great athletes.
Thank you Cee.