05/02/2016 3:36PM

Sires of the 2016 Kentucky Derby: Tiznow

Barbara D. Livingston

The tagline associated with Tiznow in WinStar Farm’s promotion of the stallion is, “The Big Horse Sire.”

The line fits the horse’s offspring on a variety of levels. Sons and daughters of Tiznow have won awards and races on the grandest of stages and have been hammered for sticker-shock prices in the auction ring.

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Perhaps the best thing about the “Big Horse” tagline, though, is Tiznow’s foals are just that – big.

Florida Derby runner-up Majesto turned heads at the 2014 Keeneland September yearling sale due to his sheer mass, towering over the other youngsters at the Taylor Made Sales Agency barn. The giant colt eventually sold to owner Grupo 7C Racing Stable for $300,000.

Majesto was far from the exception. One only needs to look at Grade 1 winner Gemologist, a tank of a horse who stands beside his sire at WinStar Farm in Versailles, Ky., to see the “Big Horse” influence of Tiznow and how that influence passes through to Gemologist’s equally massive foals.

“He’s big himself,” WinStar CEO Elliot Walden said of Tiznow. “He’s 17 hands, he’s got such a long shoulder and a really big head, and I think his stature comes through in his offspring.”

Tiznow, a 19-year-old son of Cee’s Tizzy, stands for an advertised fee of $60,000.

Homebred in California by Cecilia Straub Rubens, Tiznow raced for two seasons and won the Breeders’ Cup Classic in both campaigns. His trophy case features the 2000 Horse of the Year honors, along with champion 3-year-old male that season and champion older male the following year.

In total, Tiznow won 8 of 15 starts for earnings of $6,427,830, racking up victories in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap and Super Derby, the Grade 2 Goodwood Breeders’ Cup Handicap and San Fernando Breeders’ Cup Handicap, and the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap. He also ran second in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic against older foes in the summer of his 3-year-old season.

Tiznow retired to stud in 2002 and got off the mark fast with champion 2-year-old filly Folklore in his first crop. His first book also would produce 2009 Dubai World Cup winner Well Armed.

While Tiznow hung a banner for a Triple Crown race following Da’ Tara’s shocking Belmont Stakes win in 2008, the Kentucky Derby is a race that has eluded him. Of his five Derby starters, his most successful performer is Colonel John, who finished sixth in 2008. Other Derby starters for Tiznow include Liquidity (2007), Mr. Hot Stuff (2009), American Lion (2010), and Gemologist (2012).

“It’d be great.” Walden said. “Anytime you can add a Kentucky Derby to your résumé, it’s what everybody strives for, and it would be a tremendous feather in Tiznow’s cap to not only be a factor in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in the ways that he has, but to be a factor in the Kentucky Derby would give him the two most prestigious races that we have in this country. It would get his mark in both of them.”

The list of notable runners sired by Tiznow also includes Canadian champion Bear Now, and Grade 1 winners Tizway, Morning Line, Tiz Miz Sue, Bullsbay, Tough Tiz’s Sis, and Strong Mandate.

While the influence of Tiznow to pass on size is clearly evident, Walden said the recipe to make a successful runner requires a mare that can offer a sense of balance to the mix.

“I like to see medium-sized mares,” Walden said. “If they’re too small, you get a bit of a mismatch. Kind of an average-sized mare – not small, not big – complements him well. So many people make the mistake of trying to breed a really small mare to a big horse trying to improve their size.”

Tiznow is the standout in one of the North American stud book’s fastest-growing families, anchored by his dam, Cee’s Song, and the golden cross with his sire, Cee’s Tizzy.

In addition to Tiznow, the pairing produced Grade 2 winner Tizdubai; Grade 2-placed stakes winner Tizbud; Tizamazing, the dam of Preakness Stakes winner Oxbow and young stallion Awesome Patriot; Tizso, the dam of Grade 1 winner Paynter and Grade 3 winner Tiz West; and Balboa Betty, the granddam of Grade 3 winner Betty’s Bambino.

Now a veteran of the WinStar stud barn, Tiznow has been joined by two of his sons, Colonel John and Gemologist. Gemologist’s first juveniles hit the track in 2016 and were well received at the recent Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. spring sale of 2-year-olds in training, where he had a colt top the second session with a final bid of $550,000.

“Gemologist is a very exciting stallion prospect,” Walden said. “We’re seeing very good things in size and stature, but also with speed. He’s got a nice array of 2-year-olds that went through the sale and breezed very quick, and I think some of that comes from him, and it comes from Mr. Prospector. He’s out of a Mr. Prospector mare, so I think that’s a nice complement to both.”