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COMMENTARY

All Road Signs Point to Tiznow

November 17, 2000|BOB MIESZERSKI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

In this particular election, the choice is so clear there should be no confusion.

Tiznow, the California-bred who didn't win his first race until May 31, is the horse of the year.

Owned by Michael Cooper and the late Cece Straub-Rubens, Budroyale's younger brother earned the most coveted Eclipse Award by winning his final three starts of 2000 in a span of five weeks.

After beginning with a six-length win against a mediocre field in the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 30, Tiznow returned to California and knocked off Captain Steve and five others in the Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap at Santa Anita.

He then completed his hat trick with a gritty victory by a neck over Giant's Causeway, the brilliant 3-year-old from Europe, in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.

Although a late bloomer for trainer Jay Robbins, Tiznow finished with five victories from nine starts. He had two Grade I wins and was second in two other Grade I races--the Swaps at Hollywood Park in July and the Pacific Classic at Del Mar a month later.

In becoming the first horse bred in this state to win a Breeders' Cup race, he also proved he didn't need to carry his track around with him. He won at four venues in three states.

The same can't be said for Lemon Drop Kid, who still has his supporters for horse of the year.

A dud in the final two starts of his career in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and Breeders' Cup Classic, the 4-year-old Kingmambo colt won five races this year, but all were in New York.

In his last two road trips, Lemon Drop Kid was third in the Pimlico Special in Maryland and fifth at Churchill Downs in the Classic.

If all of Tiznow's victories had come in California, he wouldn't even be considered for horse of the year. He proved he could travel and in the biggest race of the year, he delivered.

Horse Racing Notes

Funeral services for longtime owner-trainer Brian Sweeney will be held Monday at 10 a.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church in South Pasadena. Sweeney, 64, died of an apparent heart attack on Tuesday. In lieu of flowers, the family requested that donations be made to the Anne M. Sweeney Memorial Fund, care of the USC Norris Cancer Center. Details: (323) 865-3441. . . . A field of 10 3-year-old fillies were entered Thursday morning for Saturday's $150,000 Matiara Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. From the rail out, the field includes High Walden, Elderberry, Mauricienne, Vencera, Janet, Lucky Lune, Eurolink Raindance, Vapor Trail, Four Plus Four and Fancy Locket.

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