By Jenny Kellner
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Tizway handled a deep and talented field, two turns, and 1 1/8 miles with aplomb Saturday afternoon at Saratoga Race Course, rolling to an emphatic three-length victory over Flat Out in the 84th running of the Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney Invitational Handicap.
Before a crowd of 34,412, Tizway stayed comfortably close to fractions of 24.31, 49.11 and 1:13.85 set by Friend Or Foe before making his move at the five-eighths pole. Taking over on the turn, Tizway barreled into the stretch with a clear lead and easily held off the late run from Flat Out, cruising under the wire in 1:52.43.
“He really picked it up at the three-eighths pole,” said winning jockey Rajiv Maragh. “He was definitely overpowering in the middle of the turn and he kept going. At that point, I thought he was going to be tough to catch.”
The Whitney victory not only gave the 6-year-old son of Tiznow his second straight Grade 1 and a claim as the top older horse in the country, but an automatic berth in the 1 ¼-mile Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 5 at Churchill Downs as part of the “Win and You’re In” series of races.
“He’s just a great horse,” said winning trainer James Bond of Tizway, whom he trains for longtime owner William Clifton, Jr. “He’s a fast horse, he’s a miler, and now he’s shown us he can make two turns and carry it on. There’s one more big hurdle, and that’s 1 ¼ miles.”
Sent off as the 4-1 favorite on the heels of his brilliant victory in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park on Memorial Day, Tizway returned $10.20 for a $2 win bet and earned $450,000 to become racing’s newest millionaire. Now 7-1-5 from 20 starts, Tizway has bankrolled $1,359,274 in a career that has been interrupted time and again by foot issues that have been resolved.
“I think it was a pretty strong training effort,” said Bond, who won the 1997 Whitney with Will’s Way. “The barn did a tremendous job. I want to thank my team – my riders, my grooms, the night watchmen, everybody. Believe me, I’ve got a great crew.”
Flat Out, who was the 9-2 second choice following his runaway victory in the Grade 2 Suburban at Belmont Park, was 3 ½ lengths in front of 2010 Grade 1 Donn Handicap winner Giant Oak, who in turn nosed out Friend Or Foe.
“He tried all he could; he just got outrun today, I think,” said Charles “Scooter” Dickey, trainer of the runner-up. “It’s a pretty tough bunch of horses. He’s a game horse, he tried really hard, and we’re proud of him. It was just [Tizway’s] day today.”
Completing the order of finish in a stellar lineup were Headache in fifth, followed by Mission Impazible, Rail Trip, Rodman, Apart, Duke of Mischief, and Morning Line.
Tizway, whose Met Mile victory had earned him an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, will now be pointed toward the $5 million Classic, with the Grade 1, 1 ¼-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational at Belmont on October 2 as the intermediary step.
“He’s the best miler in the country, and he is the best older horse in the country,” said Bond. “[Looking ahead] I am as confident going 1 ¼ miles as I was going 1 1/8 miles coming here today.”