Tizway earned himself a spot in the Breeders' Cup Classic with a spectacular win in the Grade 1 $750,000 Whitney Invitational Handicap. The race was a Breeders' Cup "Win & You're In" race guaranteeing the winner a berth in the Breeders' Cup Classic.
Tizway, trained by James Bond and ridden by Rajiv Maragh, left the gate as the slight favorite at odds of 4.1. The son of Tiznow looked much the best going into the race and showed that he in fact was the best. He earned a Beyer speed figure of 111 for his effort.
Tizway vied for the lead at the start of the race with Friend or Foe and Morning Line. Friend or Foe won out while Tizway settled into third. The trio set a moderate pace and maintained their positions until reaching the stretch.
At the top of the stretch, Tizway broke away from the pack, leaving Friend or Foe and Morning Line in his wake. Friend or Foe couldn't hold off the closers Flat Out and Giant Oak, who finished second and third, respectively. Morning Line folded at the stretch and finished last in the field of eleven.
The performances of the five horses who last met in Churchill Downs' Stephen Foster Stakes, Flat Out, Giant Oak, Apart, Mission Impazible and Duke of Mischief, leave an even bigger question mark on that race than when it was won by 36-1 Pool Play.
Flat Out finished sixth (the worst finish of the five) in the Stephen Foster, but went on to win the Suburban Handicap by 6 1/4 lengths a month later, and, now second in the Whitney. The remaining four had not raced since the Stephen Foster.
Giant Oak, who finished fifth in the Stephen Foster, trailed the eleven-horse Whitney field until making his move deep in the stretch. He was able to grab third place by a nose over Friend or Foe.
Mission Impazible, who lost the Stephen Foster by a neck, never showed much effort in the Whitney and could do no better than sixth. Apart and Duke of Mischief finished ninth and tenth, respectively, in the Whitney.
Looking ahead toward the Breeders' Cup, Tizway is definitely a horse to follow. His sire, Tiznow, won the Breeders' Cup Classic in 2000 and 2001. Although Tizway finished fifth in last year's Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, he now has back-to-back Grade 1 victories for the year. He appears to be getting better with each race.
On the flip-side, last place finisher Morning Line is also a son of Tiznow. The four-year-old is the same age his dad was when he won the 2001 Breeders' Cup Classic. Morning Line also appeared in last year's Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile and completely out-performed his older brother, Tizway, losing the race by a head. Morning Line is better than his performance in the Whitney showed.
The Breeders' Cup Classic is now just under 3 months away. Will we still be talking about these sons of Tiznow in November at Churchill Downs or will there be yet another new contender of interest? There is plenty of opportunity for the division to sort itself out between now and then.
Photo: Courtesy Breeders' Cup