Archives for November 2011

THREE CLASSICS IN THE CLASSIC

The 2011 Breeders’ Cup is the 28th edition. The Breeders’ Cup Classic has had some finishes that qualify as classics. The opinion here is that the three best were run in 1989, 2000, and 2001. Two of these involved Tiznow.

In 1989, the 3-year-olds Sunday Silence and Easy Goer had battled one another in the Triple Crown events, with Sunday Silence winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes and Easy Goer getting a measure of revenge by handily taking the Belmont Stakes. In the Breeders’ Cup, dark was beginning to engulf Gulfstream Park when these two future Hall of Fame colts met for the fourth and last time. Sunday Silence was able to hold off a rapidly closing Easy Goer to win by what Tom Durkin famously called “a desperate neck.” (Click here to watch the race.)

The first Breeders’ Cup Classic of the 21st century, held at Churchill Downs, was a battle royal between two 3-year-olds that have proved to be among the top sires of their generation, both standing in the United States. Tiznow, a horse with a less than stellar pedigree, met the blue-blooded multiple Group I winning Irish-owned champion Giants’ Causeway. Also in the race was the 2000 Kentucky Derby victor Fusaichi Pegasus and the 1999 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Cat Thief. Tiznow held off a furious late challenge by Giants’ Causeway to win by a nose. Giants’ Causeway showed his mettle by traveling from Europe to a different time zone and racing on dirt. Tiznow is in the American Hall of Fame. (Click here to watch the race.)

In 2001, Tiznow was back in the Classic at Belmont Park. Similar to his victory a year earlier, he had to hold off a formidable European contender, the 4-year-old Sakhee, who had a month earlier won the prestigious Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. The Irish 3-year-old Galileo finished sixth; today he is the leading sire in the world and stands at the famous Coolmore Stud in Ireland. (Click here to watch the race.)

Copyright © 2011 Horse Racing Business

FLANDERS, WE HARDLY KNEW YOU

The 1994 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs came down to a thrilling duel to the wire between stablemates Flanders and Serena’s Song, both trained by D. Wayne Lukas. The amazing fact about this race is that Flanders was able to beat the future Hall of Fame Serena’s Song while suffering severe career-ending injuries: a condylar fracture of the cannon bone and a fractured sesamoid.

Flanders broke her maiden at Saratoga Race Course on August 10, 1994 and then reeled off wins in four straight Grade 1 races—the Spinaway, the Matron, the Frizette, and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. However, she was disqualified from the win in the Matron for testing positive for the therapeutic drug isoxuprine.

As Flanders’ owner William T. Young remarked upon her retirement, we will never know how good Flanders would have been. She was already exceptional and certainly as courageous as they come, but she did not run enough races to qualify as great. Hence she is not in the Hall of Fame.

Impeccably bred, by Seeking the Gold and out of the Storm Bird mare Starlet Storm, Flanders gave birth to 13 foals. Eight of them were winners and the best was the 2000 3-year-old filly champion Surfside.

The star-crossed Flanders was euthanized in 2010 after a paddock accident. Her foal, a colt by Bernardini, survived so we may not have heard the last of the brilliant Flanders.

Copyright © 2011 Horse Racing Business

Click here to watch the race.