The highest-rated television program year in and year out is the Super Bowl, proving the NFL is king among sporting events in North America. Regardless of whom one was rooting for, Super Bowl LII, played indoors Feb. 4 in Minnesota, was a great game, taking us deep into the evening.
The pace and scoring of the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots were frenetic, reminding us for a second of Alydar and Affirmed dueling down the stretch of Belmont Park in 1978. While a Triple Crown didn’t hang in the balance, a last-ditch Hail Mary pass by the Patriots’ Tom Brady had us hanging on until the game hit the wire.
Back in 2001 New England coach Bill Belichick used a video of Tiznow’s Breeder’s Cup Classic (G1) win at Belmont Park as a motivational tool for his football team, who famously won the rest of its regular season games and later defeated the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.
Belichick was on hand in early 2002 to present Tiznow with his 2001 Eclipse Award as champion older horse. In a brief introduction he drew some parallels between football and racing.
“I know that the people in this room can really appreciate the teamwork that goes into racing, and that’s a great appreciation that I have for the sport as well,” he said. “You have the owner, the breeder, the trainer, the jockey, and the most important part of the equation—the horse. I know a lot of fans see the race out there and they see the two minutes where everybody runs around the track, but it’s the preparation, it’s the training, it’s the getting up at 4 o’clock in the morning and taking care of the horse and all that leads up to the few races of the year, and that is very similar to the work that I’m involved in. There are so many hours of preparation and teamwork that go together to make a championship team. That’s something that we had this year and I’m very proud of the way our coaches and players pulled together and had a single mind in purpose and were able to achieve a tremendous goal.
“One of our big messages to the team this year was about a horse race: It doesn’t matter what the odds are, doesn’t matter who’s favored; it doesn’t matter about anything really except which horse crosses first at the finish line. That’s what it’s really all about in professional sports.”
Belichick gave that brief talk after New England won its first Super Bowl. The team has since won four more and made it to the big game and lost three other times. That’s quite a dynasty.
While not quite a dynasty, Tiznow, at 21, has sired 75 stakes winners, including three champions and Tourist, winner of the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1T).
He stands at WinStar Farm, which had a pretty good Super Bowl weekend with Audible, a colt it co-owns with China Horse Club International and SF Racing, winning Gulfstream Park’s Holy Bull Stakes.
Like the guys at WinStar, we all know racing is very much a team sport, going well beyond the racetrack characters Belichick noted. It’s veterinarians and vet techs; grooms for stallions and mares; the night watchman; and the foaling staff and the maintenance crew that make it possible for Thoroughbreds even to make it to the track. From there, super dreams are possible.