Inside Horse Racing

Nov. 05, 2001
Nov. 05, 2001

Table of Contents
Nov. 5, 2001

Boxing [bonus Piece]

Inside Horse Racing

Tiznow, And Again
A career-threatening injury couldn't stop a repeat winner in the
Breeders' Cup Classic

This is an article from the Nov. 5, 2001 issue Original Layout

Those who saw Tiznow in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic last
Saturday will remember that the race alone was a punishing
endeavor. Tiznow made a measured run down the backstretch, just
off the lead, followed by a modest move at the quarter pole that
promised little. Then, in the cold autumn gloaming at Belmont
Park, he pounded through a desperate stretch run that carried him
to a nose win over gifted European champion Sakhee and made him
the first horse in the 18-year history of the Breeders' Cup to
win consecutive runnings of the Classic.

But as tough as it was to win the Classic, getting to the race in
good health was even more problematic. On April 20 the 4-year-old
Tiznow left trainer Jay Robbins's barn at Santa Anita for a
routine morning workout. At the time, Tiznow was not only the
reigning Horse of the Year but also a genuine threat to replicate
that performance in 2001. On March 3 he had won the $1 million
Santa Anita Handicap by five lengths, drawing clear in the lane
with a burst unlike anything jockey Chris McCarron had felt.
Still, the ride toward a Classic repeat was interrupted when
Tiznow returned from that April workout scarcely able to walk.

At first Robbins thought Tiznow might have suffered a recurrence
of the broken tibia in his left hind leg that had kept him from
racing as a 2-year-old. But the veterinarian who examined Tiznow
gave him a tranquilizer and a muscle relaxant and suggested that
he might have injured his lumbar vertebrae (near his tail). It
was a slippery diagnosis; horses' backs are as inscrutable as

Robbins rested his horse for 30 days, and in mid-May, Tiznow
began exercising lightly, still apparently uncomfortable. "He
could hardly move," Robbins says. "I put a poultice on his back
every day and walked him around, but he wasn't right. I was
thinking, I don't know if I can put him through this. My peers
were saying every day, 'Why don't you retire him?' Some days I
was thinking the same thing."

Robbins nursed his horse patiently. On July 13 Tiznow went three
furlongs at Del Mar in 36 2/5 seconds, his first encouraging work
in three months. He was short in third-place finishes in the
Sept. 8 Woodward at Belmont and the Oct. 7 Goodwood at Santa
Anita, but in each race he gained fitness. Only after arriving in
New York a week before the Classic did Robbins see the old
Tiznow. Only in the last 200 yards of the Classic did McCarron
feel the old Tiznow in his hands.

Robbins still isn't sure what ailed the horse, only that it
healed sufficiently for Tiznow to make history. "Maybe a ruptured
disk," he said late on Saturday, shrugging. If Tiznow stays
sound, owner Michael Copper says he will race as a 5-year-old,
and in the winter the war between health and speed will begin

Foreign Affairs
Big Returns for Arabs and Euros

Tiznow's Classic victory on an afternoon dominated by foreigners
was a face-saving one for horses bred, trained and raced solely
in America. Of the eight Breeders' Cup races, five were won by
horses with significant connections outside the U.S.

Tempera, winner of the Juvenile Fillies, and the sensational
5-year-old Turf winner Fantastic Light run for Godolphin Stable,
owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum and two of his
brothers, from the royal family of Dubai in the United Arab
Emirates. Surprise Juvenile winner Johannesburg has British and
Irish owners, is trained by Aidan O'Brien of Ireland and raced
exclusively in Europe before the Breeders' Cup. Mile winner Val
Royal is a French-bred horse who had run only twice in the U.S.
before Saturday, and Filly and Mare Turf champion Banks Hill was
bred in England, had raced only in Europe and is owned by Prince
Khalid Abdullah of Saudi Arabia's Juddmonte Farms.

Three of the five foreign winners--Tempera, Fantastic Light and
Johannesburg--are Kentucky-breds. "The Arabs and the Irish are
beating us up with their wallets, not their horsemanship," said
U.S. trainer Bill Mott, standing in the paddock after Fantastic
Light's victory. "I've been the underbidder to those guys on
several yearlings. They've got money to spend, so they're getting
the best horses."

Arabs have worked U.S. yearling sales for two decades, spending
hundreds of millions of dollars. "You know how, when you go to
Kentucky, you see the miles and miles of white fences around the
[breeding] farms?" says trainer Bob Baffert. "There would be a
lot less white fence in Kentucky if it wasn't for the Arabs."

It is inevitable that aggressive, wealthy outfits like Godolphin,
Prince Ahmed bin Salman's Thoroughbred Corporation and that of
Michael Tabor of Britain, who co-owns both Johannesburg and
Galileo (winner of the Irish Derby and sixth in Saturday's
Classic), will continue to win big races. Europeans have always
been strong in grass events, but on Saturday, Tempera and
Johannesburg won on dirt. "They're learning how to beat us at the
American game," says trainer D. Wayne Lukas. "You can see it in
the pedigrees they're buying. In the beginning they took
Nijinskys, which are good on the turf. Now they buy from other
lines that have speed on dirt."

Godolphin in particular is obsessed with winning the Kentucky
Derby. To that end, last year the stable began sending
2-year-olds to train for the summer with former Baffert assistant
Eoin Harty in California, a program that readied Tempera for the
Breeders' Cup. So far, Godolphin hasn't conceded that any of its
60 juveniles need to race in the U.S. as 3-year-olds, before the
Derby. "That won't change," says Godolphin racing manager Simon

Yet the group's passion is palpable. "I remember when I won the
'99 Derby with Charismatic," says Lukas. "I was on the infield
for the trophy presentation, and [Godolphin's] whole group just
stood by the opening to the infield and soaked up the
presentation. Nobody does that when they don't win."

COLOR PHOTO: HEINZ KLUETMEIER Tiznow and and McCarron (10) held off the Godolphin-owned Sakhee in a thrilling stretch duel. COLOR PHOTO: JOHN IACONO

Juvenile Jinx

Trainer Aidan O'Brien says that Johannesburg (above, orange and
blue), the European-based upset winner of the Juvenile, "travels
well" and won't have a problem with the Kentucky Derby's
mile-and-a-quarter distance. However, he may run head-on into
history: No Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner has won the Derby.
Here's a look at how the baby boomers have gone bust in their


Macho Uno

Lost lowly Ohio Derby in September; finished fourth in last
Saturday's Classic



Lost all three starts in 2000, including a 13th-place Derby
finish; retired with a bad ankle that year


Answer Lively

Lost all seven subsequent starts


Favorite Trick

Won four of eight starts in 1998; retired after finishing eighth
in Breeders' Cup Mile that year


Boston Harbor

Started only once more; forced to retire because of a fractured
left front leg


Unbridled's Song

Fifth in Derby and won only once after that


Timber Country

Third in Derby, won Preakness but was then retired because of a
torn tendon in left front leg



Finished fourth in Derby; sold for $2.5 million and retired to stud


Gilded Time

First 3-year-old start was in Breeders' Cup Sprint, in which he
finished third



Heavy Derby favorite finished eighth; retired after finishing
11th in the 1992 Breeders' Cup Mile


Fly So Free

Raced through 1993, winning eight of 27 starts



Missed the Derby but won three of 10 starts in 1990, including
Travers; earned $1.6 million in career


Is It True

Won the Jim Dandy and the Riva Ridge in 1989


Success Express

Never won another race



Did not finish the 1987 Derby; never won again



Won four of his 16 subsequent career starts


Chief's Crown

Finished third in Derby and Belmont, got up for second in Preakness