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Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships Newsletter

TIZNOW ON THE COMEBACK TRAIL; MAY RETURN AT DEL MAR

While three-year-old sensations Point Given, Congaree (see Swaps result below) and Galileo (IRE) have been grabbing the headlines in recent weeks, Michael Cooper and Cecilia Straub-Rubens Trust’s 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner and Horse of the Year TIZNOW had been idle with his future racing career uncertain. Official Equibase Past Performances for TIZNOW

An abrupt turnaround came Friday morning at Santa Anita when the California homebred by Cee’s Tizzy breezed three furlongs in :36 2/5 under regular rider Chris McCarron, his first workout in nearly three months. Tiznow won the Santa Anita Handicap when he last raced, on March 3.

After the Santa Anita Handicap, trainer Jay Robbins became very concerned over a nagging back injury that was detected when the colt didn’t train up to expectations. A lot of time and patience appears to be yielding rewards. “We’ve been using muscle relaxants the last month,” said Robbins on Friday after the workout.

“The last few days he has been looking good galloping. After the work he galloped out well, and Chris had trouble pulling him up. I got him the last eighth in :11 3/5. He cooled out well and looked like his old self. It’s kind of unexplainable after all these months why he was so perfect this morning,” said Robbins.

The trainer shipped Tiznow and the rest of his stable to Del Mar and indicated that if things with the colt continued to go well and there were no further setbacks, he would be pointed for a return in the $250,000 Del Mar Breeders’ Cup Mile on September 2.

Since the Santa Anita Handicap, when Tiznow was the undisputed leader among the nation’s older horses, the reputations of other division leaders have risen and fallen. Mike Pegram’s four-year-old Captain Steve rocketed in the polls when he won the Dubai World Cup, but he has since finished second in the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs and was a tired fourth in the controversial renewal of the Hollywood Gold Cup.

In the East, Robert Meyerhoff’s four-year-old Include became an emerging star with an upset victory in the Pimlico Special over Tracy Farmer’s heavily favored Albert the Great. However, Albert the Great gained revenge with an easy score in the Suburban Handicap at Belmont. Include finished third and came out of the race with an injury that will have him sidelined for two months.

Until the star three-year-olds begin to take on older rivals later in the summer and early fall, the older horses, such as Juddmonte Farms’ team of Aptitude and Skimming and Miller Trust’s Futural and those mentioned above, will have to continue to separate themselves. The next major events in the Classic Division are the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga (July 28) and Pacific Classic at Del Mar (August 19).

ROAD TO THE WORLD THOROUGHBRED CHAMPIONSHIPS

A listing of the upcoming major stakes races this weekend:

Road to the Breeders' Cup Classic

July 21 - $500,000 Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park. Run at 1¼ miles for three-year-olds.

Road to the Breeders' Cup Turf

July 22 - $250,000 American Derby at Arlington Park. Run at 1 3/16 miles on turf for three-year-olds.

July 22 – $250,000 Hong Kong Jockey Club Trophy Stakes at Woodbine. Run at 1 3/8 miles on turf for three-year-olds and up.

Road to the Breeders' Cup Distaff

July 21 - $350,000 Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont Park. Run at 1½ miles for three-year-old fillies.

July 21 - $250,000 Delaware Oaks at Delaware Park. Run at 1 1/16 miles for three-year-old fillies.

July 22 - $600,000 Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park. Run at 1¼ miles for fillies and mares.

Road to The Breeders' Cup Sprint

July 22 - $200,000 Bing Crosby Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Del Mar. Run at six furlongs for three-year-olds and older.

Road to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf

July 21 - $400,000 Ramona Handicap at Del Mar. Run at 1 1/8 miles on turf for fillies and mares.

MAJOR STAKES RECAP - JULY 14-15

Race: $500,000 Swaps Stakes (G1), 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles

Finishing Order: 1-CONGAREE, 2-UNTIL SUNDOWN, 3-JAMAICAN RUM

Road to the Breeders’ Cup Classic – Stonerside Stable’s CONGAREE, making his first start since finishing third in the Preakness, was more than ready for his comeback and won Sunday’s Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park by four lengths under jockey Gary Stevens. San Gabriel Investments and Sid Port’s improving UNTIL SUNDOWN ran well to be second as Southern Nevada Racing Stable’s JAMAICAN RUM rallied for third in the field of six. Trained by Bob Baffert, Congaree was sent off as the 1-to-10 favorite and led throughout the race while setting a moderate early pace. The trainer did not specify a particular race for the Arazi colt’s next start. Baffert reported that The Thoroughbred Corp.’s Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Point Given continues to train forwardly for his anticipated return, which could come in Monmouth Park’s $1 million Haskell Invitational on August 5. One option for Congaree could be the $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga the day before the Haskell. Official Equibase Past Performances for CONGAREE; UNTIL SUNDOWN; JAMAICAN RUM

Race: $250,000 Sunset Handicap (G2), 3-year-olds & up, 1½ miles on turf

Finishing Order: 1-BLUEPRINT (Ire), 2-KUDOS, 3-NORTHERN QUEST (Fr)

Road to the Breeders’ Cup Turf – Fog City Stable’s six-year-old Irish-bred BLUEPRINT didn’t make much of an impression in three races last summer after arriving from England, where he had won the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket for previous trainer Michael Stoute. However, the son of Generous appears to have adjusted well to American racing this year with trainer Bob Hess Jr. and won Sunday’s 12-furlong Sunset Handicap at Hollywood Park by a half-length. Jockey Gary Stevens has ridden him in all three starts this year. Prior to the Sunset, he had won the 12-furlong San Luis Rey Handicap at Santa Anita in his first start in six months. Last out in the San Juan Capistrano at 14 furlongs, Blueprint finished a respectable third to California turf division leader Bienamado. Hess said after the race that he planned to run Blueprint only once more this year before a possible start in the Breeders’ Cup Turf—either the Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga (August 11) or Turf Classic at Belmont Park (September 29). Official Equibase Past Performances for BLUEPRINT (Ire)

Race: $150,000 Hollywood Oaks (G2), 3-year-old fillies, 1 1/8 miles

Finishing Order: 1-AFFLUENT, 2-COLLECT CALL, 3-SECRET OF MECCA

Road to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff – Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally has collected three Breeders’ Cup Distaff trophies—two for Bayakoa (ARG) (1989-90) and one for Paseana (ARG) (1992)—and may have a solid candidate for a fourth in Janis Whitham’s homebred three-year-old filly AFFLUENT. Saturday at Hollywood Park, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Affirmed made an impressive last-to-first rally to win the Hollywood Oaks by 2 ½ lengths over Rod and Lorraine Rodriguez’ COLLECT CALL in the field of five. Affluent’s second dam is Bayakoa, two-time Eclipse champion for Whitham and her late husband, Frank. Third to Golden Ballet in the Santa Anita Oaks, Affluent appears to be improving with each start. McAnally did not indicate what might be next for the promising prospect. Official Equibase Past Performances for AFFLUENT; COLLECT CALL

Race: $400,000 Princess Rooney Handicap (G3), fillies & mares, six furlongs

Finishing Order: 1-DREAM SUPREME, 2-HIDDEN ASSETS, 3-SUGAR N SPICE

Road to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint – Kinsman Stable’s four-year-old filly DREAM SUPREME was widely regarded as the best sprinting female in the nation after capturing the Test and Ballerina at Saratoga last summer. She completed her three-year-old campaign with a respectable sixth-place finish behind Eclipse champion Kona Gold in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, beaten by only four lengths. The daughter of Seeking the Gold out of Grade I winner Spinning Round added victories in the Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct and Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs this spring to her imposing resume. Saturday at Calder Race Course, she overpowered a strong field to win the Princess Rooney Handicap—the richest filly and mare sprint on the North American racing calendar—by 4¾ lengths under Pat Day. The victory pushed her significantly closer to another career milestone, as she has now won more than $950,000 from her nine victories in 14 starts. She is expected to bid for the million-dollar mark when she goes for a repeat victory in the Ballerina (August 26). Trainer Bill Mott didn’t rule out another chance in the Breeders’ Cup but indicated it was a doubtful goal at this time. Official Equibase Past Performances for DREAM SUPREME

Race: $250,000 Carry Back Stakes, 3-year-olds, six furlongs

Finishing Order: 1-ILLUSIONED, 2-BEYOND BRILLIANT, 3-GALLANT FROLIC

If owner-breeder George Steinbrenner and trainer Bill Mott opt not to try Dream Supreme in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, they still may be well-represented by the stable’s three-year-old colt ILLUSIONED. In the race before the Princess Rooney at Calder Saturday, Illusioned made only the fifth start of his career in the Carry Back Stakes and coasted to a 4 ½-length victory under jockey Jorge Chavez. The homebred son of Woodman won his first two starts at Tampa Bay Downs early this year with trainer Richard Ciardullo Jr. and then finished third in Hialeah’s Bahamas Stakes. Transferred to Mott in New York, Illusioned won a six-furlong allowance at Belmont Park by seven lengths in late May prior to the Carry Back. Mott wasn’t certain where the talented chestnut might start next. Official Equibase Past Performances for ILLUSIONED

Race: $250,000 New York Handicap (G2), fillies & mares, 1¼ miles on turf

Finishing Order: 1-ENGLAND’S LEGEND (Fr), 2-GAVIOLA, 3-SPOOK EXPRESS (SAf)

Road to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf – Trainer Christophe Clement’s magic with European-raced imports, particularly fillies, over the last decade has been remarkable, and the talented French-born horseman has another good one in Edouard Rothchild’s four-year-old filly England’s Legend. Saturday at Belmont Park, the French-bred daughter of two-time Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Lure stalked Twilite Farms’ 8-to-5 favorite GAVIOLA from second to the top of the stretch and edged clear to win by 1 ½ lengths under jockey Corey Nakatani. After four starts last year in France with Christophe’s brother Nicolas Clement, England’s Legend made her American debut at Gulfstream in February, finishing fourth. When Clement shipped another horse to Santa Anita for a stakes engagement in mid-March, he sent England’s Legend along as company, and she won a “two other than” allowance race impressively. It was to be her final start until Saturday, when she made just her seventh career start, in the New York Handicap. Clement speculated that her targets likely would be the Beverly D. at Arlington Park (August 18) and/or the Diana Handicap at Saratoga (September 3). Official Equibase Past Performances for GAVIOLA

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