Tiznow Won Two of the Closest Finishes in the Breeders' Cup Classic
Only Tiznow, foaled from the pairing of Cee's Tizzy--Cee's Song, by Seattle Song in 1997, has captured two Breeders' Cup Classic titles, and he did it twice in heart-stopping fashion in back-to-back seasons. His playground was Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, the first time (2000); then he went east to Elmont, New York's Belmont Park the next year and repeated his victorious feat.
Tiznow Won Two BC Classics
The Breeders' Cup Classic began in an eight-race format in 1984. Ten Horse of the Year Eclipse awards were determined from the first twenty-one runnings of the Breeders' Cup Classic.
Tiznow earned his Horse of the Year trophy in 2000, as well as the Three-Year-Old Male Champion hardware. After his 2001 Breeders' Cup Classic triumph, he was voted Handicap Male Champion while the fantastic Point Given, who had won two thirds of the Triple Crown races, scored on the ballots for Horse of the Year and Three-Year-Old Male Champion.
Breeders' Cup Classic Closers
Earning his accolades by finishing strong in 2000, Tiznow led Giant's Causeway by a neck to the wire in a gigantic Breeders' Cup Classic battle.
In the 18th edition of the Breeders' Cup Classic the following year, Tiznow displayed tremendous grit and courage, spotting a lead to Sakhee that he cleared by the shake of a determined nose as the two swept under the finish line.
Zenyatta and Blame
The close encounter of a Breeders' Cup Classic kind that still sticks in most people's recent memory is the finish at Churchill Downs in 2010.
Zenyatta, Jerry and Ann Moss's beloved six-year-old mare, raced to 19 straight career victories and shattered the 16-consecutive-win marks of Citation and Cigar and others before she reached a Breeders' Cup classic gate for the third time. Zenyatta participated in three of two of the most coveted Breeders' Cup titles -- the Ladies Classic and the (boys) Classic.
Zenyatta won the girls division in 2008, then swarmed past all boys in the 2009 Classic to become the first female winner of that event. She entered the Classic in 2010 with the likely task of having to beat four-year-old Blame to grab a third classic title.
Her Hall of Fame jockey, Mike Smith, saw all Blame when the race ended in Zenyatta's first ever defeat. The huge bay trailed the field the first furlongs in her usual style, but she was farther back than fans were willing to concede before Smith asked her for the powerful move she always was capable of producing. A small traffic jam caused Smith to have to yank the big mare right and through a narrow opening to have a chance for a run at the leaders.
Claiborne Farm's Blame opened up an advantage that seemed too much to gain on, yet the mare strode onward, eating up the ground, picking up inches and feet, closing the distance to the front. She never quit, and two strides past the wire she caught the boy named Blame -- too late for a Classic back-to-back triumph.
For the third consecutive year, Zenyatta vied for Horse of the Year and Older Female Champion honors. This time she hit the wire first in both categories. Blame wasn't to blame for garnering just the Older Male Champion trophy.
Sunday Silence and Easy Goer
Gulfsteam Park hosted one of the Breeders' Cup Classic's closest finishes in 1989.
Sunday Silence and Alydar son Easy Goer had battled one another all through the Triple Crown races, with Halo son Sunday Silence prevailing in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes before Easy Goer finally took control in the Belmont Stakes.
The Breeders' Cup Classic was more of the same with the two colts storming alone to the wire. Fans will argue forever about the matches between these two Thoroughbreds. Who was really the best? Sunday Silence won the Classic by a neck and took home all the year's hardware, Horse of the Year and Three-Year-Old Male Champion.
Ferdinand and Alysheba
The best Thoroughbred of The Shoe's latter career was Ferdinand. William (Willie, The Shoe) Shoemaker let everyone who asked know that in 1986 after the chestnut son of Nijinsky II won the Kentucky Derby. The Shoe was 56 at the time, and the Derby win was his fourth from 23 rides in the Run for the Roses.
At Hollywood Park in the 1987 Breeders' Cup Classic Ferdinand and The Shoe were challenged hoof-to-hoof and hand-to-hand by that season's Kentucky Derby winner, Alysheba, and his rider Chris McCarron.
In the final furlong of the race, barely the wideth of a rider's whip separated the two striding chestnuts. Ferdinand's nose caught the wire first.
The Shoe's mount won the Horse of the Year as well as the Handicap Male Champion hardware. Alysheba's name was on the same two trophies the following year.