Race of the Week 2017

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Past the Grandstand

The Legacy of Tiznow

Tiznow 615 X 400
Photo: WinStar Farm


“Tiznow wins it for America!”

How appropriate Tom Durkin’s words were as the magnificent Tiznow crossed the wire in front in the 2001 Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) at Belmont Park. The courageous Thoroughbred had captured the same prestigious race in a comparable manner the previous year at Churchill Downs and under both circumstances, the impressive Tiznow had denied international superstars victories in his nation.

As spine-tingling as his first victory in the Classic was, it was his second triumph that truly touched the hearts of Americans. Tiznow defended his title in New York, the state in which less than two months earlier, a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center had left our country in mourning. Belmont Park was just miles from Ground Zero and reminders of what had happened on September were everywhere, including heightened security – such as snipers on the grandstand’s roof, police dogs, armed soldiers – and a special opening ceremony honoring those lost in the attacks. America needed the presence of a true American champion 
– an American Thoroughbred that could prove to be a hero on that autumn day in New York.

The American horses started off strong on the Breeders’ Cup card, but as the feature race – the Classic – neared, success began to tumble for the U.S.-based horses. European-based Thoroughbreds had garnered victories in the three races that preceded the Classic. It seemed it would be the same in the Classic, as the Europeans had an assembly of three brilliant horses, including not only the menacing group one winner Galileo, but also the winner of that year’s Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (gr. I) – one of the most renowned races in the world – in Sakhee. It seemed as if Tiznow, entering the Classic of off two losses, had lost his edge. But Tiznow, the reigning champion of the Classic, was the fitting horse to play the role of an American hero.

Breaking from the tenth gate of thirteen on the far side of the expansive track, Tiznow inched closer to the lead under Chris McCarron as the field raced through the opening stages of the prestigious event. Towering over his rivals, the large, dark Thoroughbred settled in third as the field entered the backstretch, galloping approximately two lengths behind the leader. Another two lengths back was Sakhee. Tiznow remained just off the leaders, comfortable in his position on the outside. As Albert the Great led through the far turn, Tiznow edged closer to him, seizing second as the bend began to give way to the homestretch. To his outside, Sakhee began to creep closer, threatening to outrun Tiznow.

And he did. As the field turned for home, Sakhee held an advantage over Tiznow, who was in between horses as they arrived at the top of the stretch. Tiznow appeared doomed; surely he would not carry the blanket of flowers into the winner’s circle. That honor seemed to belong to Sakhee, the European. It appeared as if America would be kept from the most important victory of the day.

But the valiant Tiznow dug in, finding more and displaying his utter determination as he strove to take the lead. Suddenly, he was alongside the Arc winner, stretching out his neck in tenacity. Against all odds, he surged until his nose was in front, crossing the wire with a nose advantage to become the sole horse to ever win the Classic twice. To the roar of the crowd, Tiznow had become an American hero. The imposing horse had denied the foreign horses another Breeders’ Cup victory and had shown America that with perseverance, you can overcome all odds.

The end of Tiznow’s career was not the end of his reign. The effect of the magnificent horse can still be felt in the Thoroughbred racing industry, as Tiznow is one of the top sires in the nation, having sired twelve grade/group one winners to date: Bullsbay, Colonel John, Da’ Tara, Folklore, Gemologist, Morning Line, Strong Mandate, Tiz Miz Sue, Tizway, Tough Tiz’s Sis, and Well Armed, as well as the grade one-winning steeplechaser Mr. Hot Stuff. He has ranked among the top thirty sires in North America for the past six years, standing among the top five sires in 2008 and 2009.

Since entering stud in 2002 at WinStar Farm in Kentucky, the Hall of Famer has also found early success as a sire of sires, yielding the young, successful stallions Colonel John and Tiz Wonderful. This comes as a slight surprise, as – aside from Tiznow – Cee’s Tizzy (Tiznow’s sire) has only produced one other notable sire in the established California stallion Tizbud – a full brother to Tiznow whose progeny include the grade one winner Tiz Flirtatious. However, Tiznow likely does gain an advantage from his paternal grandsire, Relaunch, who begat the prosperous sires Honour and Glory and Skywalker. Tiznow is a rather rare sire line descendant of the great Man O’ War and is the leading sire from this line.

Tiznow’s dam, Cee’s Song, was an incredibly successful broodmare, producing not only Tiznow, but also the graded stakes winners Budroyale and Tizdubai, the stakes-winning sire Tizbud, and the stakes-placed C’mon Tiger. But not only was the daughter of Seattle Song outstanding at producing talented racehorses, but she also foaled a multitude of notable producers. Those producers include not only Tiznow and Tizbud, but also Tizso – the dam of the grade one-winning Paynter, the graded stakes-winning Tiz West, and the stakes-winning Tizakitty – and Tizamazing – the dam of Preakness Stakes (gr. I) victor Oxbow and the stakes-winning Awesome Patriot.

In addition to proving to be a terrific sire of talented athletes, Tiznow has also established himself as a top commercial sire, a title that was further confirmed with his recent success at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Finishing the world’s largest yearling auction as the seventh-leading sire by average and third by total, Tiznow sired the third highest-priced yearling of the sale: hip 446, a half-sister to the champion sprinter and leading sire Speightstown that brought $1,750,000. His other seven-figure youngster – who sold for $1,700,000 – was hip 855, a half-sister to 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace.

Before Tiznow began his excellent stud career, his pedigree was off the map. His success on the racetrack had far outshone his genealogy. As a result of his understated lineage, much doubt was placed upon his likelihood of becoming a top-notch sire. But again, Tiznow proved the odds wrong. Regardless of how his progeny maintain his legacy, between his inspiring racing endeavors and successful stud career, the striking stallion will forever be fondly remembered by racing fans as a true American inspiration, champion, and hero.


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Older Comments about The Legacy of Tiznow...

I think On turf Galileo would have laid the wood to Sakhee. Such a shame his last race was on dirt, and for him to go out that way.
? Must have been on the wrong thread.
Thank you Mary Cage. I did a portrait of Tizdejavu for his owner (of both) and might get up to Spendthrift this summer to see Tiz Wonderful. It is interesting to see how influential is to the breed yet he and especially his sire don't seem to receive the attention. It is amazing how much Cee's Tizzy and his offspring have done with comparably less opportunities.
Kaitlin, Is this like Saratoga Snacks?
Will produce good runners because of his superb conformation. But his weak maternal sires and weak female family No.26, I wonder if he will be a Sire of Sires.
Conformation is what correlates.
This writing gives me chills. Tiznow has a commanding presence. He steps out of his stall and immediately fills your eye, his confidence still exudes.
  • grandstand · Thank you so much! He is a truly magnificent horse, especially in person. I saw your pastel of Tiznow recently and was amazed by how beautiful and detailed it was. Congratulations on it being chosen to the American Artists Professional League 85th Grand National Exhibition! - Mary Cage · 1514 days ago
and Silky Sullivan was leading sire of quarter horses for many a season....Little correlation there as well.
Two of my favorite current juveniles are a son (Strong Mandate) and a grandson (Give No Quarter) of Tiznow.

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About Mary Cage


Mary with champion Classic Empire

Mary Cage, a 21-year-old avid fan of horse racing, has been around horses all her life, having owned, shown, and judged them for as long as she can remember. She began writing her own horse racing blog, Past the Grandstand, in August 2011 and has since been published in America's Horse, American Racehorse and the Appaloosa Journal, as well as with the websites of The Blood-Horse and The Equine Chronicle. She has also had photos published with Paulick Report and Thoroughbred Daily News. In addition, she works as one of the social media coordinators for the Texas Thoroughbred Association and has interned at WinStar Farm with a marketing focus - with projects involving photography, videography, giving tours, data entry, etc. 

In her personal horse experience, Mary has been around horses all her life and has won several Appaloosa National Champion and Reserve World Champion titles in the show ring. She has also worked as a hotwalker and groom.

Mary has always aspired to have a career with horses and since her love for horse racing began, she has dreamed of pursuing a career in the Thoroughbred racing industry, possibly as a writer/photographer and marketing/communications specialist. She is currently attending the University of North Texas, where she is a journalism major with a concentration in advertising and a minor in marketing. With this blog, she hopes to show readers horse racing through the eyes of a young fan and transport you to some of racing's biggest events through her photos and words.

University of Louisville College of Business Equine Program

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