Last updated
Tiznow horse.jpg
Tiznow standing at Winstar Farms, Kentucky
Sire Cee's Tizzy
Grandsire Relaunch
DamCee's Song
Damsire Seattle Song
Sex Stallion
CountryUnited States
Colour Brown
BreederCecilia Straub-Rubens
OwnerCecilia Straub-Rubens and Michael Cooper (2000)
Cees Stable (2001)
Trainer Jay M. Robbins
Earnings$6,427,830 [1]
Major wins
Affirmed Handicap (2000)
Super Derby (2000)
Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap (2000)
San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes (2001)
Santa Anita Handicap (2001)

Breeders' Cup wins:
Breeders' Cup Classic (2000 & 2001)
American Horse of the Year (2000)
American Champion 3-Year-Old Male Horse (2000)
California Horse of the Year (2000, 2001)
NTRA "Moment of the Year" (2000, 2001)
American Champion Older Male Horse (2001)
U.S. Racing Hall of Fame (2009)
Tiznow Stakes at Santa Anita
Tiznow Handicap at Louisiana Downs

Tiznow (foaled March 12, 1997 in California) is an American Thoroughbred racehorse best known for his wins in the Breeders' Cup Classic in 2000 and 2001, becoming the only horse to win this race twice. He was the 2000 American Horse of the Year and was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2009.



Tiznow is a bay horse with a white tornado-shaped [2] blaze and four white socks. A California bred, he was sired by Cee's Tizzy out of the Seattle Song mare Cee's Song. A full brother, Budroyale, finished second in the 1999 Breeders' Cup Classic. Tiznow's unraced full sister Tizamazing produced 2013 Preakness Stakes winner Oxbow, by the stallion Awesome Again. [3]

Tiznow was trained by Jay Robbins and ridden by Chris McCarron in his major races. He was originally owned by his breeder, Cecilia Straub-Rubens, and Michael L. Cooper. When Straub-Rubens died shortly after the 2000 Breeders' Cup Classic, [4] Tiznow's ownership was changed to Cee's Stable. [1]

At maturity, he reached 16.3  hands (67 inches, 170 cm) high. [5] His frame is rather angular but his conformation is generally correct. [3]

Tiznow is known as a quirky horse. Especially towards the end of his career, he was sometimes reluctant to work in the mornings, including one occasion before the 2001 Breeders' Cup where he spent 40 minutes resisting jockey Chris McCarron's urging to break into a gallop. [6] In the WinStar stallion barn, Tiznow learned how to unlatch his door to let himself out into the main hall. [3] He does not like the feel of concrete on his feet and will adjust his steps so he doesn’t have to walk over it. Tiznow also does not like cold weather and is usually kept inside if the temperature goes below freezing. "He's a California horse all the way," said Amy Nave, a bloodstock assistant at WinStar. "I think in a way it shows how intelligent he is." [7]

Racing career

Tiznow missed his two-year-old season due to a leg fracture. [3]

2000: three-year-old season

At three years old, it took Tiznow three tries to break his maiden, finally winning for the first time on May 31 by 8+12 lengths. [8] In his next start, the Affirmed Handicap on July 1, he defeated grade 1 winner Dixie Union by a neck, displaying what would become his trademark quality, gameness. [9]

In his next start, the Swaps Stakes on July 23, Tiznow finished second behind Captain Steve after a troubled trip. [10] In the Pacific Classic, Tiznow faced older horses for the first time and finished second when Skimming got an early lead and kicked clear of the field. [11] This was the first time he was ridden by jockey Chris McCarron, who quickly learned that Tiznow disliked the whip and adjusted tactics accordingly. "From that point on, that’s the way I rode him. I didn’t hit him a whole lot. I just tried to encourage him to run by chirping to him and moving my hands, and if I felt it was necessary, to show him the stick and tap," McCarron said. [12]

For his next race, Tiznow shipped to Louisiana for the $500,000 Super Derby, then a Grade One race. He won in gate to wire fashion by six lengths under a hand ride, breaking the track record for 1+18 miles. [13]

Returning to California for the Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap, Tiznow grabbed the early lead and then withstood a challenge down the stretch from Captain Steve to win by 12 a length. [14]

The 2000 Breeders' Cup Classic

Tiznow's final start of 2000 was in the Breeders' Cup Classic, held that year at Churchill Downs. Tiznow had to be supplemented to the field at a cost of $360,000 as he was not nominated as a foal. [15] The field included Irish champion Giant's Causeway, Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus, Belmont Stakes winner Lemon Drop Kid, and Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Albert the Great. Tiznow and Albert the Great went to the early lead while being stalked by Giant's Causeway. As they entered the stretch, Albert the Great started to give way, but Giant's Causeway was closing fast on the outside. Giant's Causeway almost got even but Tiznow rallied gamely to win by a neck. [16] The race was voted the NTRA Moment of the Year.

Only days after the Breeders' Cup, Straub-Reubens died, leaving her share of the horse to her children. In January 2001, Tiznow received Eclipse Awards for 2000 Horse of the Year and Champion Three-Year-Old. He was the first California-bred to receive these honors since Swaps in 1956. [17]

2001: four-year-old season

Tiznow started his 4-year-old campaign by winning the San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes, then finishing second to Wooden Phone in the Strub Stakes. [18]

At high weight in the Santa Anita Handicap, Tiznow dueled with Wooden Phone for a mile before finally drawing away to win by 5 lengths. [19]

Tiznow then missed a good portion of the year due to back problems, and came into the Classic off defeats in the Woodward Stakes and the Goodwood Handicap. [20]

The 2001 Breeders' Cup Classic

The 2001 Breeders' Cup was held in October at Belmont Park, just twelve miles away from Ground Zero and under heavy security. It was only six weeks and four days after the dreadful terrorist attacks that took place just miles to the west in Lower Manhattan, but the 2001 Breeders' Cup went ahead as planned, but with armed marksmen lining the rooftop at Belmont Park.

The field for the Classic included European superstars Galileo (Epsom Derby and Irish Derby winner), and Sakhee (Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner), who were both racing on dirt for the first time. [20] The American runners were led by Aptitude, winner of three straight races including the Jockey Club Gold Cup. [21] Tiznow was the fourth betting choice in a field of thirteen.

Tiznow tracked the leaders down the backstretch and made his move on the turn where he swung five wide. He dueled with Albert the Great but could not get by, and then both were overtaken mid-stretch by Sakhee. [22] McCarron hit Tiznow once left-handed and Tiznow responded with a final lunge to win by a nose as track announcer Tom Durkin called, "Tiznow wins it for America!" [20] The race was again voted the NTRA Moment of the Year. Sakhee was a close second and Albert the Great was two lengths back in third.

Tiznow is the only racehorse to have won the Breeders' Cup Classic twice. He was inducted into racing's Hall of Fame in 2009.

Race record

4/22/2000 Santa Anita Park Maiden6 Furlongs6
5/11/2000 Hollywood Park Maiden8 ½ Furlongs2
5/31/2000 Hollywood Park Maiden8 ½ Furlongs1
7/1/2000 Hollywood Park Affirmed Handicap 8 ½ Furlongs1
7/23/2000 Hollywood Park Swaps Stakes 9 Furlongs2
8/26/2000 Del Mar Pacific Classic 10 Furlongs2
9/30/2000 Louisiana Downs Super Derby 10 Furlongs1
10/15/2000 Santa Anita Park Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap 9 Furlongs1
11/4/2000 Churchill Downs Breeders' Cup Classic 10 Furlongs1
1/13/2001 Santa Anita Park San Fernando Stakes 8 ½ Furlongs1
2/3/2001 Santa Anita Park Strub Stakes 9 Furlongs2
3/3/2001 Santa Anita Park Santa Anita Handicap 10 Furlongs1
9/8/2001 Belmont Park Woodward Stakes 9 Furlongs3
10/7/2001 Santa Anita Park Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap 9 Furlongs3
10/27/2001 Belmont Park Breeders' Cup Classic 10 Furlongs1

Retirement and stud career

Retired to stud at WinStar Farm, Tiznow was considered an uncertain stallion prospect due to his relatively modest California breeding. [23] His pedigree is unusual for a great horse; he is one of the few modern Thoroughbreds whose sire line does not end at the Darley Arabian. Tiznow is instead a direct male line descendant of Man o' War whose sire line traces back to the Godolphin Arabian. He is considered the best hope for the survival of this sire line into the 21st century. [24]

He made a promising start to his career as a stallion, leading the freshman sire list in 2005. That first crop included 2005 Eclipse Award champion juvenile filly Folklore, who won the 2005 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. He was third on the American general sire list in 2008 and fourth in 2009. His progeny have typically needed some time to mature and most are best at a mile or more. [3]

Tiznow has established himself as an important sire, particularly of classic distance types like 2008 Belmont Stakes winner Da'Tara, Well Armed, the winner of the 2009 Dubai World Cup, Colonel John, winner of the 2008 Travers Stakes and Gemologist, winner of the 2012 Wood Memorial Stakes. Tiznow is also a developing sire of sires, having at least 13 sons at stud in the U.S. [23]

On October 21, 2020, WinStar Farm announced that Tiznow had been retired from stud duty. [25]

Notable progeny

Notable offspring of Tiznow include: [26]

Tiznow is also a top broodmare sire, [27] known for transmitting stamina. Notable descendants as a broodmare sire include:

Sire line tree


Tiznow's sire Cee's Tizzy, who was raced by Cecilia Straub-Rubens, was one of California's most successful sires. At the time of his death in October 2015, he had sired 39 stakes winners and numerous California champions. His progeny earnings were more than $37 million. [44]

Tiznow's dam, Cee's Song, was also raced by Straub-Rubens. Cee’s Song produced nine foals by Cee's Tizzy, including Tiznow and stakes winners Budroyale, Tizbud, and Tizdubai, plus two Grade-I-stakes producing daughters: Tizso (dam of Paynter) and Tizamazing (dam of Oxbow). After Straub-Rubens death, Cee’s Song was purchased carrying Tizamazing for $2.6 million at the 2001 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. Relocated to Kentucky, Cee’s Song produced four more offspring including stakes-placed C’Mon Tiger, by Storm Cat, and his winning full sister You’re Beautiful. Cee's Song died in 2011 from the infirmities of old age. [45]

Pedigree of Tiznow
Cee's Tizzy
In Reality Intentionally
My Dear Girl
Foggy NoteThe Axe
Silver Song
Lyphard Northern Dancer*
Tizna Trevieres
Cee's Song
Seattle Song
Seattle Slew Bold Reasoning
My Charmer
Incantation Prince Blessed
Magic Spell
Lonely Dancer
Nice Dancer Northern Dancer*
Nice Princess
Sleep Lonely Pia Star
Sulenan (F-No.26)

* Tiznow is inbred 4S × 4D to the stallion Northern Dancer, meaning that he appears fourth generation on the sire side of his pedigree and fourth generation on the dam side of his pedigree.

See also

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  28. Come Dancing
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