Checking in With My Man Tiznow

I just returned from a tour at WinStar Farm, and I can still feel grainy bits of Polytrack from their new training track between my toes. It’s been a good day.

I’m currently working on a piece on WinStar for our Breeders’ Cup magazine, and I realized that I had never ventured out to the gorgeous Versailles, Ky. operation off Pisgah Pike, nor seen the mighty Tiznow in person. Now I can say I’ve done both.

While majority of the facilities at WinStar are just five years old, they all have a historical vibe, with dark wood accents and expansive corridors. The main office also has a twinge of Texas flare in the décor—like its mesquite wood doors--as both the farm’s owners—Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt hail from the Lone Star State.

Not surprisingly, the highlight of my private tour, which was enthusiastically conducted by WinStar’s bloodstock assistant Amy Nave, was meeting Tiznow. Prior to entering the stallion barn, Amy played the videos of Tiznow’s incredible back-to-back Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) victories in 2000 and 2001. Even though I’ve seen replays of the races before, viewing them on the big screen while knowing I was about to see the horse in person was really special.

I got chills watching the son of Cee’s Tizzy loping down the track, a laid back, yet determined gleam in his eye as he won both races in gritty fashion by a neck and a nose, respectively.

Immediately after viewing the races, Amy led me into the barn, and there Tiznow was—standing in all of his massive glory. I really had no idea how huge he was (I’m pretty sure Amy said more than 16.3 hands) until seeing him with my own eyes. 
When I asked Tiznow’s groom what the stallion liked to eat he replied with a laugh, “everything” as Tiznow nibbled on his leather lead rope.

I realize my photo does not do Tiznow justice, but you get the idea!

This one is MUCH better--it was taken at an earlier date by our own Anne Eberhardt Keogh

Amy noted that Tiznow, who is hand walked every day, has a couple of funny quirks. While he’s distinctive and charismatic, he also has some very particular likes and dislikes. For one, Tiznow loves having his photo taken. I know mine isn't the greatest, because it was taken in a dark barn, but the horse poses like he was born to be in the limelight.

One of Tiznow’s major dislikes that I witnessed firsthand was that of concrete. “He doesn’t like the feel of concrete on his feet, so he’ll adjust his steps so he doesn’t have to walk over it,” said Amy as we watched the horse carefully step over the slab of concrete in front of his barn so that his feet didn’t land on it.

Amy, who said she easily picks out Tiznow’s offspring at the sales because of their tall, lanky bodies, added that the stallion also has a hatred for cold weather. “Usually if it’s 30 degrees or below, they don’t put him outside,” she said. “He’s a California horse all the way, and I think in a way it shows how intelligent he is.”

Are any of you big Tiznow fans, and have you had a chance to visit him as well? What did you think?

Here’s a look at some of the other photos I took around WinStar. Enjoy!

Winstar's beautiful office

New training barn

Site of the future outdoor equine swimming pool

New Polytrack training track--I'm standing under the official clocker's station!

52 Comments

Leave a Comment:

John T

I,m sure it was indeed very special for you seeing Tiznow in person.The old boy still looks in great shape and his two wins in the Breeders Cup Classic are the kind of memories that never go away.

01 Sep 2010 5:19 PM
Somethingroyal

Tiznow has developed into a very handsome stallion. Thank you for sharing photos from your visit.

01 Sep 2010 5:29 PM
anna

too bad you didn't get any pictures of the other stallions standing there, like bluegrass cat the leading freshman sire

01 Sep 2010 5:33 PM
Mindy C.

Just gave me ''goosebumps''...  Just love that horse !!! He is just as gorgeous as ever...  Plus, on a day when I saw this... his 2 year colt ''Rush Now'' in his 2nd start blew them away @ Delaware  in the 7th race by 13  and some lengths !!!!

Tiznow has surely proven himself as a great sire...  Love him...

01 Sep 2010 5:48 PM
Primadex

I've been a Tiznow fan since early in his 3-year-old year and track the racing records of his progeny on WinStar Farm's website (under Stallions/Tiznow/Briswatch).  It's unlikely I will ever see him, so thank you so much for the report and the photos!

01 Sep 2010 5:49 PM
Virgil Fox

Thank you Esther.

Big fan of Tiznow and his runners.

- Peace

01 Sep 2010 6:26 PM
Mike S

I love TIZNOW, he's my favorite sire standing at stud, and I always root for his progeny to win and do well at the races. I even keep my own database of all his foals, which I update frequently. In a sense I think he has done extremely well at stud, in that he has sired some top class runners.

However, I do think that he, like MEDAGLIA D'ORO, STREET CRY, GIANT'S CAUSEWAY and CANDY RIDE, needs to improve upon that 5% to 6% stakes winners range. I remember when 10%, or at least something near that, was considered the range for a good sire. Maybe 5% is the new 10%? I don't know. I'm not putting down these sires, I love them all, especially TIZNOW.

Another statistic that I think needs some improvement in our younger and more popular stallions is the number of foals to race. They all seem to be in that 60-70% range. SUNDAY SILENCE got more than 91% foals to the races, so why can't these other stallions?

I hope TIZNOW's statistics continue to improve, and that he really delivers in every way imaginable. He's a beautiful horse who puts out beautiful foals. His book of mares keeps improving with each passing year, so maybe we will see even better foals by him in the future.

Thanks for sharing your experience! I hope to be able to see him again someday! I haven't seen him since I froze half to death during the Breeders Cup of 2001.

01 Sep 2010 6:36 PM
Rachel

Ummm...hate say this ♥ but he definitely wasn't "loping" down the track in either race.

♥ Tiznow ♥

01 Sep 2010 6:38 PM
Wildhorse

Thank you for the pictures.  Tiznow is a handsome guy!

01 Sep 2010 6:45 PM
EQUINE PAPARAZZI

In 2001 my wife and I used to get up before sunrise to get to Santa Anita to watch Tiznow gallop, jog and breeze. He was a ham then and we are not surprised he still loves the camera. It was a wonderful time in our lives. He is so charismatic and photogenic. We have an Ebay store where we sell our Tiznow Chronicles Home Movies of his Fall 2001 Season. our Ebay store:  stores.ebay.com/Equine-Paparazzi

01 Sep 2010 6:50 PM
fb0252

i say nice work. casners deserve all the pub, as does Tiznow!

01 Sep 2010 7:00 PM
MJ

I have visited with him twice in the last year.  He is such a ham.  He would stick his head out of his stall and nod until his groom gave him a peppermint.  All of the stallions there are great to visit with.  I highly recommend visiting WinStar to anyone that has the chance.  

01 Sep 2010 7:16 PM
SMS

I just read your article and couldn't agree more.  I met Tiznow several years ago and, just as you said, he posed everytime someone picked up a camera.  He's absolutely awsome!  And kind.  He let us rub his head and really seemed to like the attention.  I'll never forget the experience!

01 Sep 2010 7:48 PM
rowdee

Thank you so much for the pics of my favorite stallion, the man, Tiznow.  He is such a handsome creature.

His dappling always impressed me--that and that heart full of determination.

I still get the chills thinking of the two BC races he was determined to win.

BTW, I believe he is well over 17 hand high.  He and Zenyatta are both really big.  That's the only reason I wouldn't want to see them as a royal couple---the fear that the foal would be born about 14 hands tall!  

01 Sep 2010 8:05 PM
TouchStone Farms (Joe Intine)

If one were to ask me to best describe his offspring I would answer: Brilliant minds, unbelievably willing,tremendously easy on themselves, eat a hole in the bottom of their pail, conduct themselves like the classy individuals they are, leave the gate like a rocket and settle anywhere you want. Do I have one? You bet, and God willing I'll see him as a three year old. Right now he's two and learning. Hopefully Tiznow will remain healthy and potent for many years to come so his offspring can pleasure trainers and owners fortunate enough to have one.  

01 Sep 2010 8:13 PM
trakgal

Tiznow is my all-time favorite horse! I've not visited him in Kentucky, but saw him race in California.  Glad to hear he's doing well.

01 Sep 2010 8:24 PM
Karen in Indiana

How wonderful!

I love Tiznow and love the quirks. All you have to do is look in his face and you can see that he is a deep thinking horse. So he doesn't get exercise ridden?

01 Sep 2010 9:55 PM
nina

Nice article and photos. Tiznow is the man. No doubt.

01 Sep 2010 9:58 PM
Robin from Maryland

Tiznow is a wonderful specimen of equine greatness due in part of being a direct male descendant of the Mighty Man O' War.  I know many horsemen will disagree stating that after 4 or 5 generations pass, there's no connection; I beg to differ.  However, no one can disagree with the fact that he's one hell of a horse!  Nice digs too.

01 Sep 2010 11:03 PM
pegaichi

I have always loved this boy.  He was my first big love at the track at Santa Anita.  I remember when he came in second to skimming in the Pacific Classic.  I was at a baby shower and I told my husband to put 10.00 on this young 3 yr old named Tisnow.  He came in second and that was the beginning of a storied career for him.  Been a long time since I've seen him.  Someday, maybe.

02 Sep 2010 12:08 AM
christy tate

how lucky you are. would love to tour any of the farms there in ky.especially to see some of the great stallions like tiznow.

02 Sep 2010 12:26 AM
zowie

Yep! Tiznow's just as gorgeous if not more so now than when he won the B. C. Classics.  I waqtched both and was especially impressed with the 2nd one.  By the way, your picture of him wasn't that bad.

02 Sep 2010 3:10 AM
ezevans

Thanks for sharing....and yes I am a fan.  He is probably top 3 for me.  I followed his racing career and was at both Breeder's Cups.  His win in 2001 brings chills and has not been rivaled by another sporting success yet (And I have attended some big ones).  

02 Sep 2010 6:29 AM
Becky Rose

How lucky you were to have a private tour! We visited Tiznow & Distorted Humor last summer and it was a thrill for us too!  The place is beautiful and it always puts a lump in my throat seeing any of these stars in person.  It was especially fun seeing Tiznow up close and I loved it that the folks at Winstar let us have such an enjoyable visit.  

02 Sep 2010 6:45 AM
wee-o

Great article and loved the pix.  Nice that you got to see the great Tiznow!

02 Sep 2010 7:30 AM
JRusty

I had an opportunity to visit WinStar Farms this past April on a Rolex trip to Kentucky. I LOVE Tiznow and took the same tour at that gorgeous farm. He is spectacular, and you can't appreciate him to the fullest without seeing him in person.  He's such a cool individual. We also got to see Distorted Humor  which was fun for me since I closely followed Funny Cide's triple crown trail.  Colonel John was there too and several others.  

I would highly recommend a visit to WinStar if you're a Tiznow fan.  It's worth it! Everyone was really nice and enough can't be said about the farm itself.

02 Sep 2010 7:30 AM
SuiteLife

Great piece.  Thanks for the update on one of my all-time favorites and a glimpse of Winstar's magnificent facility.  Tiznow looks like he could still take on the competition.  And, like you, I still get chills from watching his two Classic victories.

02 Sep 2010 7:41 AM
seattleslewfan77

I took the Winstar tour in April.  I got to touch Tiznow and that was a thrill of a lifetime.  Me in the presence of a 2x Breeder's Cup Champion.  Wow!!My picture with Tiznow is my facebook picture.  What an incredible animal he is.  The folks at Winstar were so nice and it is something I will never forget.  

02 Sep 2010 8:04 AM
Greg

Will never forget his two Classic wins especially fighting back from apparent defeat and Tom Durkin saying "Tiznow wins it for America" in the aftermath of 9/11.

02 Sep 2010 8:35 AM
DBH

Love this guy !   Those 2 Breeders Cup wins are always some of my favorite things to re-watch on YouTube.  He is turning out to be quite a sire as well.   Thank you for the update !

02 Sep 2010 8:41 AM
SaratogaSinner

“He doesn’t like the feel of concrete on his feet, so he’ll adjust his steps so he doesn’t have to walk over it...”

What this really means is that it hurts so the horse is doing something to avoid pain.  It's got nothing to do with likes and dislikes.

02 Sep 2010 9:14 AM
Ann in Lexington (aka Pedigree Ann)

Why don't modern stallions have as many starters as the top 'toughness' sires of the past? (And Tiznow, is definitely a 'toughness' sire; sound of body and mind.) 1) the better-bred foals are hot-house raised and overtrained to become sales yearlings and 2yos, often compromising their ability to race. 2) big crops (100+) mean that in many cases, the mares sent to the sire include unsuitable ones (on pedigree and/or physical characteristics) as well as ones of marginal merit ('well-bred' failures as racehorses and broodmares). There just aren't enough good mares for all the top sires to have 100+.

As a note, Northern Dancer had about 20 foals in his first crop, of which 10 were true SWs (and a couple of champions in Canada). E. P. Taylor sent him a carefully chosen complement of good, suitable mares to give him the best chance of success and he obliged. Unusual Heat had 15 or so foals in his first crop, of which 12 (I think) won and 7 earned over $100K, 3 of them over $200K, and these were from mares who were blue-collar at best. The more prominent and expensive a sire becomes, the lower his runners/foals percentage becomes. Folks are reluctant to run that $200K yearling for MC40K, even if that is where it belongs.

02 Sep 2010 9:17 AM
sushyne

Visited TizNow and WinStar last spring. It was a miracle, indeed. Amy was a great guide, Tiznow, a charismatic, gorgeous hunk of horse. Loved him!

02 Sep 2010 10:17 AM
Michael

Our first visit to WinStar was several years ago. Tiznow could barely muster up the energy to come to the fence to say Hello! Now we visit him every year as part of a tour offered by Premiere Sports Travel in conjunction with the Kentucky Derby. The week in Lexington that they offer capped off by the Oaks and Derby is second to none. I would highly recommend the package to anyone who has wanted to go the Derby for a reasonable price!

02 Sep 2010 10:19 AM
txhorsefan

Thank you for sharing your visit with and photos of Tiznow.  Although I wasn't following his career when he was actually racing and didn't even realize the Breeders' Cup races existed until 2004, I have jumped on the Tiznow bandwagon big time.  He is such a gorgeous horse and it's one of my bucket list items to get to visit WinStar and meet him and his fellow residents in person.  Thanks!

Celeste

txhorsefan

02 Sep 2010 11:07 AM
Between Friends

Thank you so much for updating Tiznow fans on how life is on WinStar Farm. He looks great and he looks happy.

His two victories in the Breeder's Cup Classic were a thrill to watch then and that doesn't change no matter how many times you watch them.

If I ever get back to Kentucky, this is one place I hope to visit.

02 Sep 2010 11:57 AM
Soldier Course

I fell in love with Tiznow on my first visit to WinStar in 2006. He is absolutely gorgeous. What a ham! He even let me kiss him. He seems to love people and that endears him to visitors. All your pictures are great. Now I'm "homesick" and have to play that YouTube video of the drive down Pisgah Pike, with "My Old Kentucky Home" playing in the background.

02 Sep 2010 12:06 PM
SR71-972

My favorite Horse EVER thanks for the story and the beautiful pictures.......

02 Sep 2010 2:24 PM
Azaria

My family and I went to Kentucky for a vacation this summer, and WinStar was the last farm we toured during our trip. The place is gorgeous and the horses are too.

But it was really disappointing because they didn't even take any of the horses out, not even Tiznow. They made it seem like they were going to but then they didn't. All the previous farms we'd gone to brought out at least 2 of their big horses. And while we were there trying to get a good look at them in their stalls, they fed the horses their lunch so the entire time the horses were faced away from us and rarely moved. It was very disappointing that all I saw was Tiznow's butt (beautiful though it was).

The place was beautiful, but I'd have to say this was my least favourite farm tour. It was pretty impersonal and rushed. Very upsetting considering the horses and success they have.

02 Sep 2010 3:57 PM
Lois

Tall -Dark -Handsome-Smart- One of a kind.

02 Sep 2010 4:03 PM
Susan

Alas, I've never had the pleasure of visiting him because I live in the New Orleans area, and the years are creeping up on me. But I love him with a passion, follow everything he's done on the track and everything he's done at stud. He's a Hall of Famer...now and forever...and nothing much more can be added. But there is this: he has revitalized the Fair Play/Man O War line as a force in

American breeding...As an oldtimer, that means a lot to me. I always keep in mind that he's a direct male line descendant of Big Red, and everything he achieves adds further glory to that line. Great blog....thanks

02 Sep 2010 6:21 PM
Checkers

Someone should do a blog on Medaglia d'Oro because I mean he is the Sire of Rachel Alexandra

02 Sep 2010 8:01 PM
Barbara W

Yes! We toured several farms in May of last year, and as luck would have it, we were the only couple at WinStar at the time, so we got a private tour.

I have to say that not only is Tiznow drop-dead stunningly gorgeous, he had the most PRESENCE of any horse we saw. I will never forget him. I've also seen Zenyatta, and she is the only one who compares favorably to the feeling we got when we were with him. Thanks so much for sharing.

If we weren't all the way down here in Texas, we'd be visiting those farms all the time. They would get so tired of us!

02 Sep 2010 8:15 PM
Justine

A true blue Californian. I love him just for his hatred of (extremely) cold weather.

And it's true - it's easy to spot a Tiznow. They got big solid bodies that can go a route of ground. The kind of horse I'd love to breed, own, and race.

02 Sep 2010 9:11 PM
Tiznowbaby

Thank you so much for the update on my favorite. I'm very glad he's with WinStar.

02 Sep 2010 11:47 PM
Susan W.

I visited WinStar twice in June and saw Tiznow --- he is big and BEAUTIFUL.  He is also very quirky and here are two more quirks:  He has to have a stall door that he can look out of/stick his head out of (and so does Colonel John, who seems to have inherited this quirk) because he is claustrophobic - none of the other stallions at WinStar had to have a stall door like that; also it was mentioned that Tiznow needs to watch two matings before he will do the job himself.  

03 Sep 2010 6:14 AM
Beth

My sister-in-law and I got to visit Winstar in October of last year.  She is a HUGE Tiznow fan and we thought the farm was absolutely breathtaking and as much as the farm was, Tiznow was even more! He is so beautiful and looks so royal standing there.  It was a great visit!

03 Sep 2010 9:16 AM
Lynnie B

Esther- I was fortunate to see Tiznow when I visited Kentucky a few years ago.  I live in California and was lucky to see Tiznow race quite a few times.  The people at Winstar were very gracious to this avid horse fan.  We got to see Tiznow in his paddock first, and then the groom brought him out and we got to pet him.  It was an enormous thrill.  From your photos, I can see he's doing great. He's one of my all-time favorites

03 Sep 2010 1:03 PM
longtimeracingfan

First: Tiznow has always been a favorite of mine, first as a brother to the good racehorse Budroyale and then very quickly for his own merits and success. And what a nice boost for the often-snooted and supposedly inferior stallions in California.. his sire Cee's Tizzy has done quite nicely. As someone else pointed out, here is a rare line to the great Man o'War and his sireline. The breed NEEDS diversity in bloodlines; it is saturated with Mr. P and ND; great as they were in their own right, they are NOT the only good sires and sirelines.  

Saratoga Sinner: Dunno where you get the idea that Tiznow is "in pain" if he walks on concrete. That's downright silly. A lot of horses don't like the noise it makes or the texture of the surface. If you had hooves there would VERY likely be surfaces you would not care to walk on yourself. Myself, I hate gravel, especially barefoot... <G> and 4 of my 6 mares avoid concrete when they have a choice. Two of those have completed the Tevis Cup race (100 miles in one day) and are totally sound and great, lively rides still in their early twenties.

Esther, we love this and I certainly hope you can do more of these "farm visits" for us. I'm 2,000 miles away and trips to KY are few and far between for me.

06 Sep 2010 3:01 PM
cheztoi3

Love Tiznow. Now and always

10 Sep 2010 1:16 AM
Ben Kolbuc

I have on of Tiznow's sons called Vital Sign. He has had 2 races in Toronto,Canada and won one.

He is now in Alberta And will be training and racing in Edmonton at Northlands. I hope he likes the cold better than his dad as it is very cold here for 6 months of the year.

04 Jan 2011 5:06 PM
Tiznow Tim

One of my favorites of all time. I have been fortunate to visit him twice. He's got a lot of attitude and I'm sure that toughness is what helped him prevail in both Classics. He is a great in my opinion.

28 Jan 2011 4:00 PM

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