Updated on 09/15/2011 2:16PM

Classic: Tiznow goes as Tiznow wants

Michael J. Marten/Horsephotos
Tiznow on good behavior - unlike Thursday morning, when he had a cantankerous workout.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Tiznow turned in a workout on Thursday that his trainer, Jay Robbins, called "one of his best ever," but not before causing Robbins a great deal of anxiety with his increasingly cantankerous behavior.

Tiznow, who won last year's $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic and will be one of the top choices in this year's race on Oct. 27 at Belmont Park, sped a mile in 1:35.60 at Santa Anita. But the work had to be improvised, because Tiznow refused to follow the itinerary mapped out by Robbins and jockey Chris McCarron.

Robbins said Tiznow "took 30 minutes to decide to get going." Robbins said Tiznow would not cooperate with a pony that accompanied him to the track. Robbins had been galloping Tiznow in blinkers in recent days to try to get him to focus on his task. But after Tiznow first began to act up on Thursday, he was taken to the starting gate, where the blinkers were put on his head. Tiznow responded by refusing to budge.

Off went the blinkers.

Robbins originally wanted Tiznow to work seven furlongs, beginning at the seven-furlong pole on the clubhouse turn, but Tiznow was moseying around the track at a snail's pace, showing no interest in breaking into a work. McCarron finally got Tiznow to break off for a workout at the half-mile pole, and Tiznow roared through one lap around the track, back to the half-mile pole on the backstretch.

"I'm very frustrated," Robbins said from his barn at Santa Anita.

Robbins, well-versed in veterinary science, is as meticulous a trainer as you will find. He has spent hours trying to figure out what has caused Tiznow to act this way, since behavior like this is usually indicative that something is amiss. "I've gone over him, and I can't find a physical reason for this," Robbins said. "I'm beginning to think Chris is right, that he's bored. I'm almost getting a little more comfortable, since I know there's nothing wrong with him physically."

McCarron said Tiznow's antics remind him of what happened with two-time Horse of the Year John Henry when he got older.

"I remember John started doing this when he was 6, and everybody was saying, 'He doesn't want to go, something must be wrong,' " McCarron said from Robbins's barn office. "But he went on for another three years. All I can think of is that horses do get bored as they get older. The older John Henry got, the more time he wanted to spend on the track. With Tiznow, if he decides he's not ready to go, he stops. Once he does train, he trains beautifully.

"There's no problem with soundness. He's moving great. Believe me, I recognize and understand his value. If there was anything wrong, I'd tell Jay and Mike," McCarron added, referring to co-owner Michael Cooper. "They'd be the first to hear it, and they'd do the right thing. But he feels fine."

McCarron, who wears a watch on his wrist and times works while on horseback, had Tiznow's final seven furlongs in 1:22.91.

Tiznow is scheduled to be flown to New York on Saturday. Robbins said Thursday's work was the last for Tiznow before the Classic, mirroring the training schedule Robbins used a year ago before Tiznow's victory in the Classic at Churchill Downs. Last year's win nailed down Horse of the Year for Tiznow.

There was little activity related to the Classic at Belmont Park on Thursday morning. But most horses in the race will have serious moves this weekend. Aptitude and Macho Uno are scheduled to work Saturday. Include worked seven furlongs on Wednesday at Pimlico in 1:24.40.

The expected field for the Classic, including jockeys, is: A Fleets Dancer (Robert Landry), Albert the Great (Jorge Chavez), Aptitude (Jerry Bailey), Black Minnaloushe (John Murtagh), Fantastic Light (Frankie Dettori), Freedom Crest (Kent Desormeaux), Galileo (Mick Kinane), Gander (undetermined), Guided Tour (Larry Melancon), Include (John Velazquez), Macho Uno (Gary Stevens), Orientate (Pat Day), and Tiznow (McCarron). Brahms, Numerous Times, and Sakhee also were pre-entered in the Classic, but are expected to run in other Breeders' Cup races.

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