03/11/2002 1:00AM

Team Tiznow - Cooper and Robbins - split


ARCADIA, Calif. - Win the Breeders' Cup Classic. Win it again. Then, get fired.

Four months after Tiznow's second Breeders' Cup victory, and with no foreseeable resolution to a strained relationship, trainer Jay Robbins and Tiznow's co-owner Michael Cooper have split company. Ordinarily, the breakup would be no big deal. After all, Tiznow has retired from racing.

But Tiznow's younger brother is just getting started. Tizbud, an unraced colt who is a full brother to Tiznow and $2.8 million-earner Budroyale, has re-entered training at Santa Anita. While Tizbud's pedigree (Cee's Tizzy-Cee's Song) assures he will be one of the most closely scrutinized maidens of spring, the 3-year-old will not grow up in Tiznow's shadow.

That is because Cooper has switched barns, and sent Tizbud - trained by Robbins last summer - to trainer John Sadler. Despite Robbins's success with Tiznow (eight wins and $6.4 million in earnings), and the trainer's familiarity with Tizbud, Cooper chose a different direction.

"I wanted Tizbud to have a chance to be himself," Cooper explained. "What are the odds he could be anything like Tiznow? It's off the chart. Why put Jay [Robbins] in that spot? Nothing is forever. I just thought this is what's best for Tizbud."

Cooper insists that mounting tension between he and Robbins was not a factor in Tizbud going to Sadler. The tension between Cooper and Robbins stems partly from disagreements over Tiznow's campaign last fall.

"Jay thinks this was a slam [against him], but it certainly wasn't intended to be," Cooper said.

Robbins, however, believes the trainer switch was the result of simmering unease between the two men.

"I knew our relationship was getting frayed the last six or seven months," Robbins said. "We had problems in the past, and things were getting a little tight. I'm disappointed, but it wasn't totally unexpected, either."

Robbins was training Tizbud last summer when Tizbud sustained the same injury that delayed Tiznow's debut until spring of his 3-year-old year - a stress fracture of the tibia. Tizbud was turned out for six months, and two weeks ago Robbins received a letter from Cooper informing him Tizbud would go to a different trainer.

"He thought Tizbud's career would be better served by a larger operation," Robbins said.

Robbins said Cooper offered to allow him to train three other horses of lesser potential, including Cal-bred allowance filly Cee's Elegance. Robbins declined. Cee's Elegance and two unraced maidens will go to trainer Doug O'Neill at Hollywood Park.

Tizbud on Saturday breezed three furlongs in 35.60, his first work since returning to the track March 5. Sadler was reluctant to comment on the trainer change.

"It's probably the best pedigree to come into my barn, I'll say that much," he said.

Kalookan Queen to face the boys

Out of options in the female sprint division, the crack sprinter Kalookan Queen will take on males in the Grade 2 Portrero Grande Handicap on March 30.

"She's sharp now," said Kalookan Queen's trainer, Bruce Headley.

In her most recent start Feb. 23 in the Grade 3 Las Flores Handicap, Kalookan Queen finished second as the 2-5 favorite after being compromised by a slow start.

"The ground broke out from under her," Headley said, explaining the loss to Above Perfection.

Kalookan Queen has won eight races and $630,009. She is expected to face San Carlos runner-up Alyzig in the Portrero Grande.

Headley's promising 3-year-old filly Diamond Tiara will be out of action for "a long time" with an unspecified injury, he said. Diamond Tiara scored a four-length allowance win Feb. 21, and was considered a potential stakes filly.

"She'll come back, but I don't know how long she'll be out," said Headley.

He added that Kona Gold is three months away from a return tentatively scheduled for the Hollywood Park spring-summer meet.

McCarron makes the difference

Bosque Redondo benefited from an assertive ride by Chris McCarron and scored a head victory over 6-5 favorite Reba's Gold in the $79,350 Tokyo City Handicap on Friday at Santa Anita. Bosque Redondo ($6.40), owned by John Toffan and Trudy McCaffery, won for the fifth time in 12 starts.

It was McCarron's ride that made the difference, according to trainer Paco Gonzalez.

"He won the race going into the first turn," Gonzalez said. "He sent him, and when [Reba's Gold] got out on the first turn, he was able to [kick away]."

Bosque Redondo, a 5-year-old by Mane Minister, raced one mile in a quick 1:35.54 and may be nominated to the Grade 2 San Bernardino Handicap at 1 1/8 miles April 6. Bosque Redondo has never raced beyond 1 1/16 miles. Meanwhile, Gonzalez's promising 3-year-old Earl of Danby, winner of the California Breeders Champion Stakes on Dec. 28, is expected to be turned out and pointed for a fall comeback.

Purses increased 5 percent

An uncharacteristically dry winter and a strong overnight racing program has led to increased handle at the Santa Anita winter meet, and a subsequent 5 percent purse increase. The Santa Anita purse increase is effective Wednesday, and retroactive to the first day of the meet, Dec. 26.

In a prepared statement, track president Jack Liebau said: "The purse increase is the result of handle figures that exceed our pre-meeting expectations. The increase in handle is directly attributable to good weather and tremendous support at the entry box from our horsemen."

* You and Habibti, one-two finishers in the Santa Anita Oaks Saturday, will train up to the Kentucky Oaks on May 4.

* A small field is expected Saturday for the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Handicap at 1 1/2 miles on turf. Probables include Denon, Continental Red, Kalypso Katie, and Keemoon.

* Apprentice rider Elvis Trujillo, out with a fractured left arm, is pointing for an April 3 comeback, according to agent Bill Barisoff.

* Jockey Carlos Arias sufferd a dislocated right shoulder Saturday when he was thrown from his mount, La Pascale, in the second race.