Tizway, returning to the scene of his most recent triumph, turned in a
dazzling performance in the 118th edition Grade 1, $500,000
Metropolitan Handicap, the Memorial Day feature at Belmont Park.
Seeking his first win since a five-length score in the Grade 2 Kelso
Handicap in October, Tizway broke alertly from the outside in the field of 11,
pressed Tackleberry in second through fractions of 23.17 and 45.57, dispatched
that rival nearing the five-sixteenths marker, and shook away from the field
once put to a drive by Rajiv Maragh to find the finish line 2 ¾ lengths to the
good of 36-1 longshot Rodman.
Tizway’s final time of 1:32.90 was the second-fastest Met Mile in
history, missing Honour and Glory’s stakes record by 0.09 seconds. The Belmont main-track record
for one mile is 1:32.24, set by Najran in 2003.
“I had a good post and my horse broke well,” said Maragh.
“He was always running for me – I really didn’t have to do
much, just get him going at the right time and he held off pretty fine. It was
pretty straight forward – I broke out of the gate, I just ran a straight
line, dropped in a little when I went to the turn, gave my horse the cue and he
was always into the bridle.”
Tizway, fifth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in November
in his 2010 finale, entered the Met Mile off a pair of thirds in the Grade 3
Gulfstream Park Handicap on March 12 and Grade 3 Charles Town Classic over a
sloppy track on April 16.
“He tries every time,” said winning trainer H. James Bond,
who picked up his first Grade 1 win since Buddha prevailed in the 2002 Wood
Memorial at Aqueduct Racetrack. “He couldn’t stand up on that stuff
at Charles Town, and still ran a game third and just missed second. Like I say,
I’m just fortunate enough to have him in my barn.”
Owned by William L. Clifton, Jr., Tizway returned $8.20 for a $2 win
wager as the mild 3-1 favorite and improved his record to 6-1-5 from 19 starts.
The 6-year-old’s triumph was worth $300,000, lifting his career earnings
With his victory in the Met Mile, which is part of the Breeders’
Cup Challenge series, Tizway is now guaranteed a spot in the starting gate and
will have his pre-entry and entry fees waived for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt
Mile at Churchill Downs in November, with his connections to receive a $10,000
travel allowance for the race. Bond, however, is also considering a start in
the Breeders’ Cup Classic at 1 ¼ miles for the 6-year-old.
“I’ll probably look at the Whitney [Grade 1, August 6,
Saratoga Race Course],” said Bond. “It’s our home base.
We’ll back up from the Breeders’ Cup and basically start looking
backwards and try to find the right spots for him. I know this horse will run a
mile-and-a-quarter. It depends on what kind the horses are at the end of the
year. You and I all know what can happen.”
Tizway, a dark bay or brown son of Tiznow and the Dayjur mare Bethany, was bred in Kentucky by Whisper Hill Farm.
Rodman, who entered today’s race off a 3 ½-length victory in the Irish Tower
overnight stakes at Aqueduct on April 14 in what was his second race off a
14-month layoff, pleased trainer Michael Hushion with his effort in the Met
“He looked so good going under the wire,” said Hushion.
“I’m thrilled he ran a pretty brilliant race to be second.”
Caixa Eletronica, winner of the Grade 3 Westchester on opening weekend
finished third, with Aikenite completing the superfecta. Reigning New York-bred
Horse of the Year Haynesfield was fifth, and he was followed home by
Stormy’s Majesty, Soaring Empire, Ibboyee, Tackleberry, Yawanna Twist,