Race of the Week 2017

Point - Counterpoint: Stay Thirsty vs Tizway

stay thirsty vs tizway
Horse Racing Nation blogger Laura Pugh, of Dead Heat Debates, and Managing Editor, Brian Zipse of Zipse At The Track, spar over who is the horse to beat in the Jockey Club Gold Cup!

Dead Heat Debates

Laura Pugh:

It took a little longer than expected, but Stay Thirsty is finally starting to fulfill the great potential he showed as a juvenile. During the spring of this year Stay Thirsty ran with only one win to his credit and that was the Gotham Stakes, over what many believe to be a weaker field. He then ran dismally in the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby. Because of those performances he was overlooked in the Belmont Stakes and even after a strong second in that race, many still refused to give him even a slight chance in the Jim Dandy. Well, not only did he prove his doubters wrong, he left them with their jaws hanging open, as he moved away to win by a commanding four lengths.


Since then he won the prestigious Travers Stakes and is now being pointed the Jockey Club Gold Cup, where he will get to dance in the ring with leading older male Tizway. From my point of view Stay Thirsty has the advantage coming into the race. His sire Bernardini is one of the hottest commodities around and is one of the many sires who carries the blood of the great AP Indy. With that kind of breeding Stay Thirsty is bred run as far as the day is long. He has already competed successfully over the 10 furlong distance, where Tizway has not.


Another point to consider is Stay Thirst is bred to get better as he gets older. In the past few months he has grown and blossomed into quite the handsome stud. He’s put on muscle and matured a great deal mentally. Ever since the Belmont Stakes he has been on the improve and he does not seem like he is going to regress any time soon.


Stay Thirsty also may have a fitness edge over his older rival. Two of his last three races were over nine furlongs, one was 12! He has run twice over the deep and tiring Saratoga oval, once in the Jim Dandy and again in the Travers. The Travers he was quite close to the lead through the entire race and still had enough to hold off Rattlesnake Bridge. Tizway, in his last two races, has run a mile and nine furlongs. His time for the Whitney Stakes was a sloth-like 1.52 and change. This would not only raise the question of if he is fit enough to run 10 furlongs, but if he even wants it at all.


Lastly one only needs to glance Stay Thirsty’s record in New York to see just how much he thrives there. Out of seven starts in the state of New York Stay Thirsty has a record of four wins and three seconds. In seven starts he has never finished worse than second that says something. Tizway, while a reliable New York horse as well, has finished lower than the top two, and has even run worse than the top three.


As you can see, while Tizway is a very formidable opponent, his younger counterpart seems to have all of the advantages here. He will be getting weight, he is on the improve, relishes the track and the distance, and is one dead fit horse. In the Gold Cup it will be Stay Thirsty all the way.

Brian Zipse:

Stay Thirsty has progressed as well as you can hope any promising young horse to progress in the summer of his sophomore season. He was always good, but with his two races at Saratoga, he has taken things up a notch to the point where I have no trouble in calling him the most accomplished horse of his age. Therein lies the catch, he may now well be the best of his age, but he has a whole new challenge in front of him when he faces older horses for the first time. Tizway is six-years-old and has been around the block more than a few times. Under the patient care of trainer James Bond, he has improved every single year, and now he is a physically mature horse who has never been better.


Stay Thirsty is just fine at ten furlongs. I will agree with you there, but I have no reason to believe Tizway won’t handle America’s classic distance either. Let’s take a look at the facts, first of all horses generally can handle the extended distances better as they mature. Tizway has that in his favor. Next, in looking at his form, the only time he ever attempted the distance was in the JCGC two years ago. That day he finished a solid 3rd as a 23-1 shot. It seems like he took to 10 furlongs that day, and now he is a much better horse than he was 24 months ago. And since you mentioned breeding … a son of Tiznow going 1 ¼ miles? Yes, please!


Stay Thirsty is on the improve, no doubt, but have you seen Tizway run lately? He turned solid fields in the Grade 1 Met Mile, and the Grade 1 Whitney, into non-competitive strolls in the park. By the way those were solid fields of older horses he was dismantling.


Do you really want to bring up the time of the Whitney? The track was ridiculously slow that day … the time means nothing. What is important is that while Stay Thirsty was keeping Rattlesnake Bridge at bay in the Travers, Tizway was doing the same to Flat Out. I’m sorry, but I think Flat Out would eat Rattlesnake for lunch if those two meet anytime soon. Keep in mind that Tizway is the same horse that scorched the Belmont earth this year to the tune of a 1:32 and change mile. Clearly, he is no stranger to running very fast. I’m not sure that Stay Thirsty can say the same.


Stay Thirsty has a good record in New York for sure, but this race is not at Saratoga, nor Yankee Stadium for that matter, it is at Belmont Park. While Stay Thirsty has run well at Big Sandy, he is winless in two starts. Meanwhile, this is the favorite track of Tizway. He has never finished out of the money at Belmont, and it is the site of three of his most impressive wins.


Sorry Laura, I know you have liked Stay Thirsty for a long time, but he is in for a rude awakening if he thinks he can do to the older boys what he has been doing against this weak three-year-old crop. Year in and year out, older horse have the advantage against their younger foes, just ask Lookin At Lucky. Tizway will teach Stay Thirsty a few things when they meet up on Super Saturday, and much like this debate, it will be age before beauty.



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Older Comments about Point - Counterpoint: Stay Thirsty vs Tizway...

just keep believeing in stay thirsy icyhotboo, you will be just givin your money away!!!!
I like Stay Thirsy he is ON right now and I believe he will win this race.
"pace makes the race" a fast pace favors Stay Thirsty, slow Tizway. I'm wondering where the speed is coming from? All stalkers
Tizway will give you a fistful of dollars....... it's going to be a armed robbery!!!!!
Flat Out will be rolling!!!
Thirsty or Tizway...I'm still going to take Giant Oak in an Upset if He Runs!
Tizway by 2 lengths.
I definitely want to see what horses will be running in the race..THAS...would be my dark horse for now.
I think I'm siding with Tizway at the moment, I'd like to see both their final works before making a final decision, but I also wouldn't count Flat Out as a non-serious contender.
Perfect questions to ask, footlick ... that performance, 3rd by 5 lengths, may be good enough in 2011, and obviously he is a better horse now than he was then.
  • xMystix · Another good point to add is that the JCGC that he ran in was two years ago. That was 2009 and this 2011. He has definitely improved in that amount of time. Also, the Bond did say that he struggled in the slop that day of JCGC 2009; Bond said he gave all his heart out even when he was 23-1 and didn't like the slop. Since keeping an eye on him, Tizway has impressed me with his improvement. And let's not forget, if we are talking about maturing over time in age, Tizway is by Tiznow, who became even better over time. · 2261 days ago
  • KyOaksRunner · The 2009 field with Summer Bird and Quality Road was also much stronger than the current 2011 race is shaping up to be in my opinion. · 2259 days ago
If he is in shape, Rail Trip at Belmont could be dangerous
Flat Out is pointing to the race and we never know if Rail Trip could run in there if he puts in a good run tomorrow and his connections feel he just didn't enjoy Saratoga.
I got them both at 12-1 for BCC futures....bad bets taking them both?
I will have to see who else is in the JCGC, but right now I would give Tizway the advantage. He was beaten by two classy horses in 2009 when he was third. (Summer Bird and Quality Road) Stay Thirsty will run a very good race though, I bet.
A tough call here. As Laura knows, I have said age before beauty many times in this discussion. But here is one thing to keep in mind. In the last 11 runnings of the JCGC, only 3 and 4 year olds have won. If this were a 1m 1/8, I would Tizway. But at 1m 1/4, I think the younger Stay Thirsty prevails. They just don't make horses to run 1m 1/4 anymore, and the older they get, the harder it is to cover that at Big Sandy. Make it 12 years in a row a 3 or 4 year old wins.
To Honor And Serve ran the day before the Travers. He ran the fastest 1 1/8 at Saratoga for the meet, including Stay Thirsty in the Jim Dandy. His first effort off of the shelf. The next day, they ran the Travers. He ran 14 1/2 seconds faster than Stay Thirsty did at a 1 1/4. For all of you that are on Stay Thirsty's bandwagon(and they're are many of you), I think THAS will take him down in a heart beat. It's so simple. He can't run outside of NY, and THAS is aiming for the big dance. Take note, and understand.
Deadheat.... you right thirsty..... has run 12f 9f 10f but all them race's came against 3year old boy's now he will have 2 fight with men and that is alway's dangerous that's the difference
Thing is there is no arguing that Thirsty is the fitter horse. 12f, 9f, and 10f in his last three. Tizway has gone 9f, 8f, 9f. Belmont can be lightning fast, and Tizways best race this year was that and at 1 mile. I don't question his breeding, but his fitness compared to Thirsty may be the decider. Both horses will be relitively close to one another all through the race, so it should be interesting who will be able to outrun or outgut the other.

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