Giant's Causeway and Tiznow

Courtesy of Rob Fundter, The Amateur Capper


has earned his sire's place atop the North American sire standings from his home at ASHFORD STUD.  The son of legendary OVERBROOK stallion STORM CAT is a product of AIDAN O'BRIEN's prolific yard in Ireland.  TIZNOW stands at WINSTAR FARM and his progeny are showing the potential to make his sire career as legendary as his back-to-back Breeders' Cup Classic wins.  This may not have been possible if TIZNOW, who at age four became the equine version of Allen Iverson ("Practice; we talkin' ‘bout practice?), were handled by anyone other than patient JAY ROBBINS.

On track, GIANT'S CAUSEWAY was 2000 champion 3y.o.  in England and Ireland as well as European Horse of the Year.  He won eight graded stakes in 13 starts and culminated his career with a "tough beat" to TIZNOW in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Rival TIZNOW won seven graded stakes in 15 career starts was named American Horse of the Year and Champion 3y.o. of 2000, and Champion Older Horse of 2001.  His stirring stretch runs winning back-to-back Breeders' Cup Classics, including "TIZNOW wins it for America" post "9-11" at Belmont Park in devastated New York gave the California bred a legitimate shot at a "second career".

GIANT'S CAUSEWAY has a slight edge thus far in the breeding shed.  He has sired many good horses including European champion 2y.o/England champion 3y.o. SHAMARDAL in his first crop; there was also HEATSEEKER (G.1 Santa Anita H., multiple G.2's) and dual juvenile G.1 winner FIRST SAMURAI.  GIANT'S CAUSEWAY has also been good with his daughters like $1.3 million earner MY TYPHOON (G.1 Diana S., multiple G.2) and last year's G.1 Spinster S. winner CARRIAGE TRAIL.  Most recently, SWIFT TEMPER became a millionaire when she captured the G.2 Delaware H.

While TIZNOW was represented by champion 2y.o. filly FOLKLORE in his first crop, his sons have had more top-class success of late.  WELL ARMED won the G.1 Dubai World Cup this year as decisively as he was beaten by CURLIN in the 2008 edition.  COLONEL JOHN was second favorite in the 2008 Kentucky Derby (troubled 6th) on the strength of his G.1 Santa Anita Derby win and proved he could win on dirt with a hard-fought G.1 Travers S. win.  DA' TARA upset the '08 Belmont S., denying a troubled/spent BIG BROWN the Triple Crown.  TIZNOW also sired two solid, if unspectacular 3y.o. fillies of 2007 in TOUGH TIZ'S SIS (G.1 Ruffian, G.1 Lady's Secret) and G.2 winner BEAR NOW ($1.08 million earnings).  It was their misfortune to be born the same year as RAGS TO RICHES.

Young trainer AIDAN O'BRIEN will always be heard from; thus far in 2009, he is the leading trainer in Ireland and ranks second in Great Britain.  His connection to the COOLMORE group led by JOHN MAGNIER assures this brilliant conditioner will always be well stocked with talented horses.  This year alone, he's represented by top 3y.o.'s:  Irish Derby winner FAME AND GLORY, St. James' Palace Stakes victor MASTERCRAFTSMAN, and Coral Eclipse runner-up RIP VAN WINKLE.  He's also training venerable 8y.o. marthoner YEATS, most recently a winner of his fourth Ascot Gold Cup.  Oh, by the way, he's also bringing along undefeated CAPE BLANCO; the son of GALILEO took the G.3 Tyros S. on July 23 and may return in the G.2 Futurity S. August 22 as a prep for the 2000 Guineas.  He's also trying to get 2,000 Guineas future book favorite STEINBECK back to the races. You get the picture...he's always loaded!

On the other hand, veteran conditioner JAY ROBBINS toils in relative anonymity with a very small stable in Southern California.  In a recent interview with Pasadena Star-News' Art Wilson, his father DR. JACK ROBBINS said this about his son:  "Jay's only problem is he can't take owners that tell him what to do."   DR. ROBBINS added, "He's fired more good opportunities than he's preserved over the years."  Through the end of the Santa Anita winter meeting, JAY ROBBINS had a record of 14-1-2-2 for a mere $130,380.  That is a far cry from the TIZNOW years when his patient hand conditioned the 2000 Horse of the Year to a record of 15-8-4-3 in 2000-1 with earnings in excess of $6.4 million.

TIZNOW and JAY ROBBINS teamed up for their first Breeders' Cup Classic win in 2000, surviving a heart-pounding stretch battle with Europe's top hope GIANT'S CAUSEWAY for AIDAN O'BRIEN.  The battle on the track won by TIZNOW rages on in the breeding shed for the equine warriors.  As for the trainers, they were two ships that passed in the glorious Breeders Cup Classic night at Churchill Downs.

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