09/05/2001 11:00PM

Works say Tiznow is ready to go


ELMONT, N.Y. - With the retirement of the swashbuckling Point Given, Tiznow, the Horse of the Year 2000, is once again racing's premier box-office attraction. We should see some indication of his appeal on Saturday when he heads a strong field for the $500,000 Woodward Stakes, a weight-for-age feature at nine furlongs that is a stepping-stone to the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Unfortunately, Tiznow is coming off a lengthy period of inactivity after injuring his back in April, but apparently he has been able to sit up and take light nourishment. Before flying here to Belmont Park earlier this week, the 4-year-old colt by Cee's Tizzy worked a mile Aug. 22 in a crackling 1:35.20, or about as fast as some good races are run. He went out the nine furlongs in 1:48.40 and pulled up 1 1/4 miles in 2:02.49.

Del Mar's strip is usually glib, but this was still a work and a half, and is somewhat reminiscent of the brilliant 1 1/4-mile move of 2:01.60 turned in by Nashua at Tropical Park in Miami five days before he won Hialeah's Widener Handicap of 1956 in slower time.

"We're asking a lot of Tiznow to meet this field after not racing since his Santa Anita Handicap victory in early March," trainer Jay Robbins said. "But he has trained well. In addition to that mile, he's been seven furlongs in 1:24.60 on two occasions and six furlongs in 1:11.20. I love to watch him in action. He is a beautiful mover."

There is a good deal more to Tiznow than captivating action. He has an outstanding record of seven wins and four seconds from 12 starts and has earnings in excess of $4 million. His talent and his desire stood out last fall in the Breeders' Cup Classic when he took the measure of Europe's celebrated Giant's Causeway after a duel that lit up the skies over Churchill Downs.

He had a good winter campaign in his native California and was preparing to come East for the Pimlico Special when vertebrae in his lower back began to bother him.

"We really didn't know what was wrong, but he was uncomfortable in motion and reluctant to walk," Robbins said. "We waited a while and then walked him for 30 days. There were no ill effects so we started him jogging. His muscles became sore, and we put him on a muscle relaxant for 30 days. It seemed to help and he began to train, improving steadily."

Robbins sees Albert the Great as the horse to beat in the Woodward.

"He loves the track and is a very steady colt," the trainer said. "Our horse is fresh and will probably want to run. The two of them may set the pace and sort out the race as they finish."