Tiz and The Iron Horse

A look at the leading North American sires list shows Tiznow ranked No. 2 and Giant’s Causeway No. 3. What else is new? They wouldn’t have it any other way.

The two horses have been pretty much joined at the hip from the time they lined up against each other in the starting gate of the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic (Tiznow in post 12 and Giant’s Causeway in post 13) and their ensuing epic stretch battle.

This year, Giant’s Causeway’s offspring have won 22 stakes, while Tiznow’s offspring have won 19 stakes, but from far fewer runners.

A visit with Tiznow last week brought back a flood of memories from 2000 and 2001, when he became the only horse to capture the Breeders’ Cup Classic twice. Although most people remember his memorable and emotional victory over Sakhee in 2001, less than two months after 9/11, his dramatic win over Giant’s Causeway the year before was equally as memorable, mainly because both horses had a reputation as tough, fierce competitors who hated to lose. When you have two such horses locked in combat, the result, regardless of who wins, is going to be unforgettable.

With both horses atop the leading sires list and a number of their offspring heading to the Breeders’ Cup, what better time to look back at that special day, Nov. 4, 2000, when two of the most durable, tenacious, and courageous horses ever to grace the Turf hooked up in a battle of the ages.

A good deal of what you will read has been re-written from my recap of the race that appeared in the Blood-Horse, with the remainder being fresh material.


Both horses had been here before. At first, it seemed like just another brawl, in another alley, in another town. Tiznow and Giant’s Causeway thrived on bare-knuckle street fights, and because of this lust for battle, their reputations preceded them as they strutted into Louisville, Ky. for the 17th Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Sneak up from behind if you have to, but do not under any circumstances look them in the eye. In this skirmish, however, things were different. When Tiznow and Giant’s Causeway looked into each other’s eyes, they saw something they’d never seen before:  a fire that matched their own.

Here was Giant’s Causeway, a chestnut streak of light who brightened many a gray afternoon for racing fans in England and Ireland. They could not recall a horse with the toughness and tenacity of this son of Storm Cat. How fitting that a horse with such a big heart be born on Valentine’s Day. His five consecutive group I victories at five different tracks over a period of only 11 weeks, all of them head-to-head slugfests, was a feat unheard of in Europe. Did the “Iron Horse of Ballydoyle” have any more to give after a grueling campaign and in his first ever attempt on dirt?

Right alongside Giant’s Causeway was a dark chocolate-colored mountain of a horse, with a large splash of white on his face that resembled a tornado. A latecomer to the racing scene due to a stress fracture suffered the previous October, Tiznow was a rapidly building force that was fueled by competition. He had eyeballed eventual Haskell Invitational winner Dixie Union, Belmont Stakes winner Commendable, and Kentucky Cup Classic winner Captain Steve, and none were able to stand up to this new bully on the block.

Tiznow’s fight and spirit did not emerge overnight. It was born in him, with the same blood that flowed through the veins of his bulldog of a brother, Budroyale, who had finished a courageous second in the previous year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. The odds of full brothers, bred in California, and by relatively obscure parents, making it to the Classic in back-to-back years were astronomical.

But here was Tiznow ready to tackle the world. Unlike his brother, however, he had the muscle to go along with the grit. Budroyale had not yet emerged in the national spotlight when his dam, Cee’s Song, gave birth to a massive 144-pound colt on March 12, 1997, at Harris Farms near Coalinga, Cal. Already 25 to 30 pounds heavier than the average foal, Tiznow was placed with a group of youngsters who played particularly hard. “It taught him not be bullied,” farm manager Dave McGlothlin said. “They all took turns beating on each other and he got used to doing things rough.”

Farm manager Per Antonsen said Tiznow was so strong and competitive he quickly emerged as the leader of the pack. “Dave put him in with a tough bunch to make sure he had horses who could stand up to him,” he said.

The big, burly colt wasn’t much easier on the people trying to break him. “He was always fighting you,”Antonsen said. “He’d bite and snap at you and buck. He was like a big bull, and was such a handful we had to give him extra work before we even took him to the track.”

When Tiznow was turned over to trainer Jay Robbins the following year, all Antonsen said to him was, “This is a big, tough boy.” He had no idea just how tough.

The veteran Robbins, with only eight horses in his stable, had to watch the previous year as Budroyale became a star after having been claimed from him for $32,000.

Fast forward to Oct. 31, 2000, four days before the Breeders’ Cup. Tiznow has just arrived at Churchill Downs and is stabled in the stakes barn. He wants no part of being cooped up in his stall, and after being walked for 40 minutes and jogged once around the track, he refuses to go back in his stall. It takes some pushing and prodding to finally get him in. His coat is resplendent, with dapples peaking out from his neck and shoulders.

“Tomorrow, when we gallop him, I’m going to need an anchor to pull him up,” said exercise rider Ramon Arciga. As predicted, Tiznow galloped like a wild horse the following morning, with Arciga having to pull hard to restrain him.

Robbins knew he was ready, despite making his third start in 35 days. It was a lot to ask of a relatively  inexperienced 3-year-old. After shipping to Louisiana and breaking the track record for 1 1/4 miles in the Super Derby (going in 1:59 4/5), Tiznow returned to California, and two weeks later had to slug it out with Captain Steve (eventual Dubai World Cup winner) in the Goodwood Handicap. Now came the all important decision for owners Cecilia Straub Rubens and Michael Cooper. Do you put up a staggering $360,000 supplementary fee to run your Cal-bred off only 20 days rest against the likes of Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus; Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Albert the Great, who had run the fastest 1 1/4 miles by a 3-year-old in the history of New York racing; Lemon Drop Kid, winner of the Belmont, Travers, Whitney, Woodward, Suburban, and Brooklyn; Cat Thief, winner of the previous year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic; Golden Missile, winner of the Pimlico Special and Stephen Foster; and the mighty Giant’s Causeway, the pride of Europe?

“The whole barn deserved the chance to see what this horse can do,” Cooper said. “Chris (McCarron) gave me the thumbs up, the vet said the horse was doing great, and Jay said we ought to go, so it really was an easy decision.”

Another reason to run was that, unbeknownst to most people, Cecilia Straub-Rubens was suffering from cancer and no one knew how much longer she had to live. She and Cooper had not had much success together in 19 years, running in mostly claiming races. Cooper had been touched by the scene at the 1990 Kentucky Derby when trainer Carl Nafzger called the race for Unbridled’s 92-year-old owner Frances Genter and then said to her, “Oh, Mrs. Genter, I love you.” Cooper had always dreamed of playing out that same scene with Straub-Rubens, who would be celebrating her 84th birthday the following month. His wish would come true, but sadly, Straub-Rubens would live only three more days. She thought of Tiznow right to the end, and her final words to Robbins on the day she died was, “Take care of my boy.”

So, all the reasons were there for Cooper and Robbins to take the gamble and run Tiznow in the Classic. But Robbins knew what he was asking of his colt, and despite outward confidence that he was making the right decision, the questions and doubt remained bottled up in his subconscious. In the middle of the night, his wife Sandy could hear him talking in his sleep, repeating over and over, “20 days…20 days.”

Now those days were down to a precious few. The strong gallops continued. The colt’s coat continued to shine. He became more focused and remarkably displayed all the signs of a horse itching for another fight. The young brute who had left a trail of fallen exercise riders behind him had turned into a seasoned pro, and at just the right time.

Robbins remained in good spirits, and when he was reminded one morning by a member of the West Coast media that the record of Cal-breds in the Breeders’ Cup was 0-for-46, he responded, “I better call to see if they have a flight back tomorrow. Can we get our money back?”

Meanwhile, at the far end of the stable area, Giant’s Causeway had settled into his new home, and when he made his long-awaited appearance the day before the race, it was an odd sight seeing him being ponied to the track by none other than Wayne Lukas, who had Cat Thief primed for another big effort in the Classic.

“Wait until they get my bill,” Lukas said from atop the pony, as he led Giant’s Causeway to the track, with trainer Aidan O’Brien walking briskly behind trying to keep up. Lukas had trained horses for Giant’s Causeway’s owners Michael Tabor (including Kentucky Derby winner Thunder Gulch) and Susan and John Magnier, and he felt it was “the sporting thing to do.” He had met with O’Brien earlier to discuss the shoeing process, the medication rules in Kentucky, and introduced him to starter Roger Nagle.

After the colt’s gallop, O’Brien dashed after Lukas, who told him that Giant’s Causeway “wasn’t a bit concerned about this saddle horse, but I would definitely send a pony with him in the post parade. On the turns, he had a tendency to look at things in the infield, but he’ll be better tomorrow.”

The European media was glowing in their praise of Giant’s Causeway’s toughness and will to win. Adrian Beaumont of the International Racing Bureau stated emphatically, “If you go eyeball to eyeball with him he will win.”

Noted turf writer and commentator John McCririck said, “To see him fight back and beat Kalanisi in the Eclipse Stakes was tear-wrenching. Imagine the constitution of this horse to run in eight Group I stakes in the last four months, and he’s still coming back for more. Everything is against the horse (in the Classic). All you’ve got is the guts and the bravery of the animal himself. He has earned a special place in the public’s imagination.”

O’Brien admitted the Classic would be a tough task for Giant’s Causeway, but added, “If any horse can do it he can. We’ve never seen a horse like this. Even though he’s been running hard races every two to three weeks, he’s still bigger and stronger now than he’s ever been. He’s 15 kilos (33 pounds) heavier than he was for his last race. He’s an amazing horse.”

Jockey Mick Kinane added, “He always seems to raise himself up for a fight. I’ve never ridden a horse like this. And I’ve never even gotten to the bottom of him.”

Fast forward once again to the quarter pole of the Classic and to the beginning of the story. Here they were, two of the most rugged, courageous horses seen in America and Europe in many years, battling to the wire, their courage and will to win tested for the first time by a foe of equal character and tenacity. Something had to give. Tiznow had the advantage of being in front, as Giant’s Causeway moved in for the kill. Both horses reached back for everything they had. Still, neither would crack. No one would have expected them to. Kinane went to switch sticks and lost his right reins. Giant’s Causeway was relentless and continued to battle on near-even terms right down to the wire. But in the end, it was Tiznow who prevailed by a neck. The son of Cee’s Tizzy found himself back at Harris Farms, once again the feisty, precocious kid turning back another challenge and asserting his dominance.

As darkness fell on Churchill Downs, Tiznow returned to his stall after walking the shed and proceeded to attack his hay rack and wolf down mouthfuls of alfalfa and a bag of carrots. Occasionally, he’d lift his head and place it atop the hay rack and just stare at all the activity outside the barn. Once, he even worked his head under the webbing as if he wanted to come out and join in the celebration.

Jay and Sandy Robbins, exhausted mentally, left and picked up some sandwiches at Kroger’s before returning to their hotel to pack.

Jeffrey Sengara, owner of Budroyale, had watched the race on TV and was overcome with emotion seeing the horse’s brother win the Classic. He recalled the previous year’s Classic when he and his family, thrilled over “Bud’s” gutsy performance, were leaving the track and were approached by Straub-Rubens.

“Tears were streaming down her face,” Sengara said. “She gave me the biggest hug and said, ‘You must be so proud. I’m so happy for you. I feel like he’s still mine.’ I told her, in many ways he still is. Then I asked myself, ‘Could I be that happy and congenial if I had lost a horse like that?” I guess the racing gods have a way of noticing those kinds of things. Ironically, the last thing I said to her was, ‘I hope his brother you have coming up is as good as he is.’”

As remarkable as the story of the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic is, who would have thought it was only Chapter 1 in the Tiznow saga.

Although Giant’s Causeway, who seems to be forever linked with Tiznow, was retired after the Classic, Tiznow returned the following year, where more amazing adventures and another date with history awaited him. But that’s a story for another time.


Leave a Comment:


Great Piece of writing as always Steve.  Quick question.  With the new announcement today that the winner of the newly created Kentucky Challenge Stakes in Europe will get an automatic birth in the starting gate the first Saturday in May...do you think this may be the first step to a Win and You're In format for the Derby in coming years??

17 Sep 2008 6:00 PM

Great article, Steve! Isn't WinStar just a joy to visit? No crowds, nice stallions, nice people. It's one of my favorite farms.

I'm so grateful my daughter and I were there for Tiznow's 2001 BCC win for so many different reasons.

He gave us a lot to be excited about during his racing career. Now he keeps on giving; his progeny are running well on dirt, grass, and synthetic tracks. Way to go, Tiznow!

17 Sep 2008 6:21 PM

Steve, Please don't wait too long for part 2!  And thanks for part 1.  I think that Tiz Now gets his grit from Man O'War and his daddy Fair Play how many generations back!

17 Sep 2008 7:39 PM

I sure hope not Bryan, too many unpredictable 2 year olds and young 3 year olds out there. I've seen many 3 year old graded winners fall off the map when they reach KD time. But basically it's the same anyway considering that graded earnings determine derby starters. But I feel the non graded stakes(or group races) should not have the win and your in format attached to it, because it degrades the historically rich graded races the top level competition has to earn in order to start. Let these British horses come over here and earn their respect. This is our race. They don't run on dirt anyway, and to run a turf horse in the KD just to see if he can handle the surface is proposterous. I think you bring up a great argument here, and something that needs to be talked about.

17 Sep 2008 7:43 PM

Steve, that's right, I had forgotten you were going to go see him. Man you get to have all the fun.

17 Sep 2008 7:45 PM

Wow, Steve, you've blown me away with another wonderful, beautiful story featuring a horse I have come to love after following Colonel John.  When Tiznow was actually running, I was only following racing during the Triple Crown season, so I had no idea he was such a great horse.  Thank you so much for this story to fill me in on what I missed back then.  I'm sure paying more attention now - lol!  Thank you for your beautiful descriptions of events that become such vivid images through your words.

17 Sep 2008 8:44 PM

GREAT writing Steve, I always enjoy readinh your articles and books(Dr. Fager is in my top 5 all time favorite books) especially when they are about my boy Tiz. Saw you around the sales barns this past week, hope you had as much fun as I.

17 Sep 2008 8:49 PM
Richard Ieler

Steve , Great article about my most favorite horse ! Tiznow ! I make a point to visit him every year while I'm in town for the Derby .Thank you for your article's about him .

17 Sep 2008 9:25 PM
Matthew W

Wow! Thank you Steve! I've said many times the Tiznow/Giants Causeway battle was the greatest Classic of them all! Name any other horse that outduels The Giant the length of the stretch! And, yes, I have noticed the "rivalry" in the breeding shed of those two monsters---Tiznow was such a specimen and it's great to see him getting such runners! Obscure breeding or not, Tiznow was just a cut above in so many ways, and that bulldog fron across the pond, with his head low and always trying--I can watch that last 1/2 mile over and over again, Tiznow and Giants Causeway: a race for the ages!

17 Sep 2008 9:59 PM

man steve, you make me feel like i was there, great writing. i you should write a autobiography of your life and how horse racing have affected you, and it put the best races your seen. i will buy that book. i know you said that you were done writing book but you should consider it.

17 Sep 2008 10:06 PM

Just reading your article has left me with goosebumps.  I was there.  I have a wonderful picture of Ms.Straub-Rubens and Chris McCarron walking back through the tunnel after the trophy ceremony.  We should all be so lucky to feel that joy.   Two great horses, both champions on and off the track but as Mr. Haskin has eluded, Chapter 2 in my opinion made Tiznow a legend.  

17 Sep 2008 10:13 PM

What a great field for the 2000 BCC! I hope we get a chance this year to see all of the great horses of this last year.  The dream race lineup is Curlin, Go Between, Well Armed, Big Brown, Colonel John, Commentator, Henrythenavigator, and Zenyatta.  This field may pale in comparison to the 2000 lineup but sure could end up being another race for the ages!

17 Sep 2008 10:48 PM

Thanks for the story, Tiznow has been a favorite of mine since his first classic.  I have watched his stallion career and have loved watching Colonel John this year and hope he gets the challenge in the Classic that his sire got.  What a great heart, I have to admit when I need a pick up sometimes I go to Winstar's website and watch his classic victories again, they are so inspirational, what a great horse!

17 Sep 2008 10:53 PM

Thanks for this article. It was so interesting to learn about these two great horses.  I always enjoy your work.

17 Sep 2008 11:09 PM


You have such a great gift!  That was just beautiful and thank you for all the emotions it makes one feel.

I remember Tiznow well and picked him for both the 2000 Classic and the 2001 Classic even though he didn't have a great year, I knew he would do it again.  What a magnificent animal!

18 Sep 2008 12:23 AM

I'll never forget the 2000 Breeder' Cup Claasic because I almost won the Trifecta that day. I knew Tiznow would win and I picked Giant's Causeway to run second and almost had third with Albert the Great but he was nipped at the wire by Captain Steve. It was the closest I've ever come to hitting a trifecta and still sick about it. However, I'm proud of the fact that I knew the 3 yr olds were great that year and  I just loved Tiznow. I also knew to respect a horse like Giant's Causeway. I had watched his races on Racehorse Digest and he wouldn't ever let a horse get by him in the stretch. Thanks Steve for letting me relive a great race and two great racehorses.

18 Sep 2008 1:40 AM

I'm with Marcia...I've always been a fan of the Relaunch line. And I remember that Classic like it was yesterday. I was screaming my lungs out down the entire stretch (but then again, who wasn't?). Both Tiznow and Giant's Causeway had enormous heart. But for me Tiznow's 2001 Classic win was more emotional, especially after 9/11. Thanks for this blog, Steve, and please come back with part 2 soon!

18 Sep 2008 3:07 AM


I agree with you...and hope it does not lean that way.  Just with the way everything is going these days, I wouldn;t be surprised if this is at least proposed in the next year or two.  

I also agree that the Europeans should come over here early to prep.  I am hoping that one of these days the Sheik wakes up and realizes he probably has ruined more promising three year olds by bringing them to Dubai to prep for the Derby than leaving them in capable hands of American based trainers.  

Here's hoping that eventually the Derby organizers also realize that 20 horses is too many and at least get rid of the auxillary starting gate, but add an AE field.

Steve, sorry to take away from the great story you wrote with a sort of not related thread, but look on the bright side, at least I'm not talking about Curlin vs. Big Brown:)

18 Sep 2008 6:49 AM

Steve, Tiznow is my absolute favorite racehorse, as you well know, LOL,  but thanks for putting into words what we less talented can't... a great, great race with a superior group of horses who still impact our sport in the breeding shed...a race for the ages, a race to measure other BC's by.

The emotions I feel about this particular race are the same goose-bumps I felt when as a child I thrilled to the "classic race" between "The Black" and the island stallion "Flame"...we should all feel very blessed as racing lovers to have seen this Breeder's Cup in our lifetime.

Rachel in New Hampshire

18 Sep 2008 7:22 AM


Great story - great memories.  I contacted Sengara a few years ago to ask how Budroyale was doing - he was kind enough to get back to me and tell me the old boy was living the life of Reilly in retirement - and just as bulldoggish as ever!

When you think of it - I wonder if there's ever been a tale of two full brothers in racing (horses) that had the back to back success that Bud and Tizzy did?

I'll say it again - Tiznow will sire the next Triple Crown winner - he is certainly passing on the talent - and no one can doubt he's passing on that incredible tough heart of his!

18 Sep 2008 8:21 AM

Cgriff, I agree Tiznow will sire the next Triple Crown winner!

Clay & Bryan, I agree wholeheartedly against "win ONE race (this one is for winners share of a lousy $150,000) and you're in..." I absolutely could not believe what I was reading...wanting more international flavor in America's Kentucky derby...come train and race here in OUR graded stakes and you CAN be in!

18 Sep 2008 10:51 AM
Steve Haskin

Thank you again for all your comments. I got to know Tiznow so well, as well as Jay and Sandy Robbins and Michael Cooper. Part 2 is even more of a soap opera than part 1 and not only because of 9/11. It was fun for me to relive that first Classic, because it was so special, and still is. I have a video put out by Coolmore that shows all of Giant's Causeway's victories and comments from racing people. All I can is, you can't believe it until you see it. It makes you appreciate the horse Tiznow beat even more. If you're in Lexington, go see him at WinStar. He'll take your breath away. I can't remember seeing a more magnificent stallion.

Bryan, the Euro Derby challenge is fascinating, but I don't see a Win and Your In format in this country. Any race worth winning will get you enough earnings to get in anyway. We really don't need it here.

18 Sep 2008 10:58 AM
burry from canada

Great story as I love Tiz Now but clued into Cee's Tizzy offspring before Budroyle and when I saw Bud in the classic I immediately did Win, Place as I had been watching the offspring and they were running well although definitely blue collar horses. Not so anymore, lots of Tizzys running their hearts out

18 Sep 2008 11:19 AM

Sorry to get off the topic Steve, but sometimes I get worked up on an issue and have to respond. But on the topic I have to say I love Tiznow horses and have won many races betting them, much more than Giant. Also if a Tapit firster runs you better get on 'em cause he will at least finish in the money. I think everybody else knows this cause a Tapit firster always has low odds.

18 Sep 2008 11:53 AM
s lee

The thing about Tiznow and Giant's Causeway, and later Tiznow and Sakhee, is that they're such great races and such fantastic duels that I swear, one of these days when I watch the reruns, Giant's Causeway will find those extra inches, and Sakhee will squeeze in front.

But I also know, that just like Affirmed repelling Alydar at Belmont, that nobody, but nobody, was going to get by Tiznow on those special days!  

They say that the best victories come over the best competitors, and I think that's where Tiznow's glory comes from - he beat the best - the hard way - TWICE!

18 Sep 2008 12:14 PM

Nice article Steve. Tiznow is undoubtedly a great horse, but O'Brien said afterwards Giant's Causeway would have won if Kinane hadn't dropped his stick. Indeed, it was a big contributing factor to Kinane being fired as Coolmore jockey. Would you agree with Aidan?

18 Sep 2008 12:28 PM
Mike S

TIZNOW is an incredible horse. Not only was he a great racehorse he is on his way to becoming a great stallion. WinStar Farm needs to start advertising him with the slogans "If you want to compete in the 3 year old classics you're gonna need a TIZNOW!" or "If you want to compete in the handicap division you're gonna need a TIZNOW!" Maybe this is premature, but next year's handicap division is going to belong to TIZNOW! Look at his good colts: COLONEL JOHN, WELL ARMED, SLEW'S TIZNOW, DA' TARA, MERCHANT MARINE, TIZ NOW TIZ THEN, SLEW'S TIZZY, LIQUIDITY, TENFOLD, INFORMED, BULLSBAY, ONLY FOR NOW and TIZDEJAVU!

Steve...thank you for the great article!

18 Sep 2008 1:23 PM
Steve Haskin

Sorry Sinndar, you're wrong on both counts. As I said in the story, Kinane dropped his right rein, not his whip. No one has any idea whether he would have won or not had he didnt. It didnt look like it had any bearing on the outcome, but who knows for sure. Kinane rode first call for O'Brien for several years after that, and won back-to-back BC Turfs with High Chaparral. He also won the BC Juvenile on Johannesburg among other major races.

18 Sep 2008 1:46 PM
The Deacon

As always Steve very insightful writing. Tiznow and McCarron made a great team. They took two great left hooks from Europe (Giant's Causeway and Sakhee) and with a gutty performance won those fights in the 15 round.  I first noticed Tiznow when he finished 2nd to Skimming in the Pacific Classic at age 3. He is one of my favorite horses of the past 20 years. I loved to watch him run. Tiznow, Afleet Alex, Point Given and Sunday Silence were my favorites...............  

18 Sep 2008 2:12 PM

Thank you for that great article.  I was at Churchhill in 2000- My foot was dislocated and in a cast and I was crutching around the bleachers, but all I could see is one of the greatest races of all.  And Tiznow is the sire for the future if this breed wants stamina and toughness and I am so happy to see there are so many other fans like me out there.

18 Sep 2008 2:15 PM

Saw the race live. These were two pretty decent horses, and I have seen the likes of many great ones, including Seattle Slew, who Tiznow is related to, so it is no wonder where he got his toughness from.  I have  soft spot for Tiznow because he made sure Sakhee and his Arab Sheik owners did not go home with the Classic trophy,  thank god for Tiznow.

18 Sep 2008 4:15 PM

Thank you.  I read it and got goosebumps and welled up with tears.  Gotta love writing like that!

I absolutely love Tiznow and am so happy to see him a successful sire, especially after there was grumbling that he wouldn't be/wasn't successful in the beginning.  As for his breeding, Relaunch pushed John Henry to a World Record, Seattle Slew was Seattle Slew, Lyphard was one of the best horses to race in France, and Tiznow was always a force to be reckoned with.  Lots of good stuff in that pedigree, if you ask me!

18 Sep 2008 7:03 PM
Laura P in DC

Thank you for your wonderful way with words, Steve, and for sharing them plus your inimitable horse sense with us!  You concoct a clever and appealing theme -- like Tiznow and Giant's Causeway still racing neck-and-neck -- and then [horse]flesh it out and bring it to life.  What a gift to horse lovers and racing fans!  

19 Sep 2008 1:15 AM
Jill Wachbrit

I had the good fortune to visit Winstar last year and see Tiznow.  I fell in love with him and his special stall with the "V" so he could stick his neck out and look at everything going on.  Since then I have been following all of his kids racing out here in California--first Colonel John whom I bet when he broke his maiden and then Well Armed and many others.  I hope someday to actually own one of his offspring.  

Your article was wonderful and I enjoyed getting to know him better through reading it.

19 Sep 2008 1:16 AM
The Colonel

I missed out on Tiznow's second Breeder's Cup victory when my first foray into the business of horse racing ended with Point Given's disappointing finish in the 3001 Kentucky Derby. I'm still kicking myself for it, but I was a middle school student; what did I know? I've been following him pretty meticulously ever since, and get chills every time I watch his runs against Giant's Causeway and Sahkee. It's such a wonderful feeling knowing that both Tiznow and the Iron Giant aren't just superior racehorses but becoming excellent sires as well.

Will you be writing about Tiznow's second victory? I'm looking forward to it.

19 Sep 2008 5:00 AM
Steve Haskin

Thanks, Laura, the gift is all mine, to be able tell these stories and bring people a little closer to the game.

Colonel, you are forgiven for missing Act II. But never let a loss get you down. Peaks always follow valleys in this sport...and vice versa. I guess I should complete the story, so, yes, I will be writing about Tiznow's second Classic win.

Jill, it's hard not to fall in love with Tiznow, so I know what you mean. If you ever do own one I hope I'll be writing about him or her.

19 Sep 2008 9:38 AM

hi, steve i know this blog is about tiznow, but this is the only way i could ask you a question. seen that pyro is not runnning in either that mass cap or the super derby do you think that steve is going to make him a experiment and send him to the goodwood stakes in santa anita to see how he handle the track and base on that if he does well he will send curlin and pyro to the classi? or you think that the owners of pyro want him to run the jc gold cup and that why he not in this other races?

19 Sep 2008 10:37 AM
Steve Haskin

Pyro is running next in the $500,000 Indiana Derby on Oct. 4.

19 Sep 2008 11:01 AM

Great Article!  Going back and watching these races again, brings to mind one huge question...How in the world did all the breeders miss the fact that Tiznow was going to be a great stallion??  Look at the list of millionaires(20 of them) that he beat in just those two races!! Incredible!

   How much did Colonel John look like his dad, in digging in and holding off the charging Mambo in Seattle, in the Travers?

   I know that Da Tara has slipped a bit since the Belmont, but it is still possible we could see 3 Tiznow Colt's in the Breeders Cup Classic. Colonel John is in, Well Armed deserves to go after his game fight with Go Between, and Da Tara is still the winner of the most grueling of the Classics.

So here are my questions for Steve..

When will we see part Two?

Has any other horse ever beaten 20 future million dollar plus earners in just two races as Tiznow did in his BC Classic wins?

How often has a Sire had three offspring run in the same Grade I race, as happened in the Travers with Colonel John, Da Tara and Tizbig and could happen in the BC Classic?

Again, great article Steve!

19 Sep 2008 1:17 PM

I attended several Cups in a row and the cold, back to back Tiznow triumphs are the standouts.  The 2001 New York victory confirmed-put an "!"-on that gutsy- wouldn't be turned back- Churchill effort.

19 Sep 2008 1:55 PM
Steve Haskin

Davisondad, I'll start working on Part 2 in the next day or two. Gotta finish the story, right?

19 Sep 2008 2:27 PM
Steve Haskin

Rachel, I'm sending your hat and books out Fed Express tomorrow 2-day delivery, so you should get it by Tuesday.

19 Sep 2008 2:36 PM

Real goose bump stuff. I went from ha-ha, to teary to oh wow,and finally to how grand.

20 Sep 2008 9:37 AM

Steve, With your story it all comes back, just like I was watching it all over again. Someone recorded it for me, watched the tape but really didn't need to with your story. Was watching the Ryder cup in Louisville, can't wait to make a trip to Keeneland. Off subject a little but the Kentucky Derby thing in England should be interesting, what do you think? Hope your trip went well, sounds like you did all the things we'd all love to do.

20 Sep 2008 10:23 AM
Steve Haskin

BHF, It should be interesting, but be prepared for an outcry when a real nice 3-year-old who deserves to be in the Derby gets left out for an all-weather English horse, who very well will be making his stakes debut in the Derby. and if an English horses does win and embarrass our crop of 3-year-olds, what's going to happen if he returns to England, leaving the Preakness and Belmont without the Derby winner, which is a possible scenario. Just looking at potential ramifications. but we'll see how it plays out.

I've just finished part 2 of Tiznow and will post Monday. Be warned however, it's 3,400 words. I couldnt tell the real story of the 2001 Classic and the lead-in to it in anything less. So, I hope you stick with it.

20 Sep 2008 5:14 PM

Sounds like you think the same as I do. I think it's some kind of ploy to get more Euros over here. Not sure it's ever been the dream of the English to win the Derby, just the Darby (you get my meaning)

Look forward to Part 2.

20 Sep 2008 7:51 PM

I'm lucky enough to be a speed reader Steve. But, even if I wasn't I'd read your story, looking forward to it. Only problem is it's a big file to save or print out, but I'll make the space. Interesting take on the KY Derby in England, saw my bud BHF asked about it.

20 Sep 2008 8:02 PM
Steve Haskin

No need to save it, Brad. They're all archived on the website. I'm hoping the two pieces together will provide a comprehensive history of Tiznow's two Classics.

20 Sep 2008 8:20 PM

Steve, Thanks, I'm kind of a weirdo I guess. I like to have it in writing on paper. Even if you aren't compiling your blogs, I am. I also copy the most interesting of the comments. Some for comic relief later on. 3400 words, that sounds like around a chapter in a smaller book, hey all your favorites and your travels. You need to get all of that out of your head so the rest of us can share it. We NEED another of your books. Like the one lady asked about poetry, now there's a part of horse writing that's ignored, you could fill the void. My favorite is the one about Landaluce. Not traditional but beautiful, I have it framed, my wife crys when she reads it. A poem about Lady's Secret, Eight Belles etc wow, go for it.

I started Dick Francis' new book, like Jerry Bailey said those jump jockeys are nuts.

I'm all over the place but did you see Commentator's 12 length victory? Wow, out for a stroll.

20 Sep 2008 8:40 PM
Steve Haskin

Actually, it was 14 lengths :)

Do you realize that excluding his neck win in the Whitney, he's won won his other 12 races by an average margin of 10 1/4 lengths; unheard of. Even with the Whitney it's 9 1/2 lengths.

21 Sep 2008 2:57 AM

Right 14 lengths, I didn't read the final result, just watched the race and that was the guestimate by the announcer, but it sure looked easy. Here's an old guy I hope they can keep going til the BC Classic, the synthetic is a ? but he apparently trained on a version of it at Keeneland, right?

21 Sep 2008 10:48 AM

p.s. see you are doing the late night thing again, all those thoughts running thru your mind I guess.

21 Sep 2008 10:49 AM

I couldn't wait to read partII of the Tiznow saga, so I cheated a bit and found it, or should I say part of it, on the internet.  It must be a very long article... which is perfectly fine with me.  Wouldn't want it any other way.  One question I have been thinking about for a while is when did the thoroughbred become so fragile and delicate.  Tiznow and GCauseway certainly weren't.  So was it just within this decade?  But partII kind of shows that even without a lot of work Tiznow was ready for a huge effort.  Maybe he was just special.  He's absolutely a gorgeous speciman, that's for sure.

21 Sep 2008 1:31 PM
Steve Haskin

Helen, you've read part II in parts? Are you referring to the original magazine recap in 2001? Part II will have a good deal of that recap, plus other compilations and new stuff. I've tried to put it all together to tell the story in as much detail as I can get into 3,400 words. Perhaps those who can't plod through all those words can read it in installments. Believe it or not, there was still stuff I had to leave out.

21 Sep 2008 2:48 PM

Yes Steve, I apparently read page 1 of 3 the way I calculate it.  Didn't do me much good though, because I need the whole thing!

About Commentator,  what difference does it make how many lengths he won by?  Steve, your formula on how to beat Curlin taught me to look more at final times, 3/4 fractions, and splits (!).  Big Brown (sorry, didn't mean to stir up the blob) won the Monmouth Stakes in a time 2 seconds faster than the Mass Cap.  Yet no one at all even commented on his performance.  Is Commentator's Mass Cap considered more impressive?  To me his 14 length victory just means that his competition, for whatever reason, didn't show up.

21 Sep 2008 3:28 PM

Helen, What I, at least, was talking about is the ease with which he has outdistanced his competition. He is doing it so easy and not struggling against lesser competition (if that's what we want to call these horses). BB, Curlin and Commentator are running against  horses who supposedly aren't on their level, the others aren't putting them away in the same manner as Commentator..

21 Sep 2008 5:52 PM

And Steve, you're telling me you don't have enough for a blog compilation yet you're leaving things out? Don't sell yourself short. Oh well, maybe you can tell 'the rest of the story' at a later date.

21 Sep 2008 5:55 PM
Steve Haskin

I never said I dont have enough. I said I have too much.

21 Sep 2008 8:23 PM

Steve, too much for this particular story, right? I was talking about a few blogs back when I was trying to convince you to write a book with all of your blogs and you said you didn't have enough blogs. I personally think you have enough stories to keep us reading for years. I'm sure a book is a huge amount of work so I'll just have to keep looking forward to the blogs on here, like you told me before.

Thanks for keeping us entertained and informed whatever form it takes.

21 Sep 2008 9:07 PM
Michael Blowen

Steve, Great story...

22 Sep 2008 8:54 AM
Larry Zap co-host Race and Sports Radio

nice piece...best kept secret in north american thoroughbred racing is a four year old son of Tiznow named Bullsbay...i picked him out for his current ownership group at the Keeneland yearling sale of 2005...Bullsbay will be heard from in 2009

01 Dec 2008 12:21 PM

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