Relaunch and Tiznow

Relaunch 1

The immortal Man O’ War has been acclaimed as the best race horse in the 20th century, according to a 2000 poll conducted by the industry leading Blood-Horse magazine. His sire line was one of the strongest during the early part of the last century through sons such as War Admiral, Hardtack and War Relic. The latter’s branch has been the line that has survived to the present day.

From War Relic came Intent, who sired Intentionally. Standing stud in Florida, Intentionally sired the short lived but influential sire Tentam, and In Reality whose dam was another Floridian native in champion My Dear Girl by Rough ‘N Tumble. This breeding of In Reality was completely away from the then fashionable lines coming from Kentucky’s elite male lines, such as the descendants of Nasrullah, Princequillo, Hyperion, Bull Dog etc, and soon to be overwhelmed by descendants of Northern Dancer and Raise A Native. In Reality was foaled in 1964, which was a very good crop that included legendary champions Damascus and Dr. Fager.

When In Reality was bred to the grey broodmare Foggy Note in 1975, a grey son named Relaunch was foaled the following year. Relaunch was not one of the top stakes winners by In Reality, the Del Mar Derby was his biggest stakes victory, but he did go on to be the prime link to continue the male line. He would stand his stud career at Wimbledon Farm in Lexington Kentucky. As well as the strong influences in his sire’s pedigree from the emerging breeding from Florida, his dam Foggy Note would bring in blood from Mahmoud, Djeddah and La Troienne, with additional multi crosses of Teddy and The Tetrarch further back.

Relaunch sired the dams of some very important runners and sires of recent memory. His daughter Baby Zip would be the 2005 broodmare of the year when her son Ghostzapper by Awesome Again won the Breeder’s Cup Classic, emulating that one’s sire who had won the event in 1998. Ghostzapper also won the Woodward Stakes, the Vosburgh Stakes and the Metropolitan Handicap, the latter victory being his only race as a five year old. Ghostzapper is currently standing at Adena Springs in Kentucky, along side his sire, and is in high demand as he has already sired forty-two stakes winners in his first six crops of racing age, including Hunter’s Bay, Moreno and Judy The Beauty.

Baby Zip also produced City Zip by Carson City, winner of the Hopeful Stakes and a current sire at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky, with fifty-two stakes winners from nine foal crops to date. Among his top get are Dayatthespa, Work All Week and Personal Diary.

Turbo Launch by Relaunch produced a daughter by Turkoman named Turko’s Turn. Turko’s Turn is the dam of Point Given by Thunder Gulch, the Eclipse Award Champion Three Year Old in 2001. Point Given won the Preakness Stakes, the Belmont Stakes, the Travers Stakes, the Santa Anita Derby and the Haskell Invitational during his championship season. Point Given currently stands at Calumet Farm and is the sire of Canadian Horse of the Year Sealy Hill (Canadian Oaks, Glorious Song Stakes, Bourbonette Oaks etc), Points of Grace (Dance Smartly Stakes, River Memories Stakes), Go Between (Pacific Classic), Coil (Haskell Invitational), and Point Ashley (Del Mar Debutante Stakes).

Relaunch has sired Launch a Pegasus (Widener Handicap), One Dreamer (Breeder’s Cup Distaff), Special Happening (Alcibiades Stakes), With Anticipation (United Nations Handicap, Man O’ War Stakes, Sword Dancer Stakes twice each), and Honor and Glory (Metropolitan Handicap). The latter has had some success as a sire as in his first crop came Caressing (Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Fillies), and Blues and Royals (UAE Derby) from his third crop. Another UAE Derby winner sired by Honor and Glory was Honor Devil.

Waquoit was a versatile grade one stakes winner by Relaunch. This grey son of Relaunch won stakes races ranging in distance from six furlongs to twelve furlongs. His most prestigious victories came in the Brooklyn Handicap twice, the Jockey Club Gold Cup, when this race was at the twelve furlong distance, and the Michigan Mile Handicap.

Skywalker was the most decorated son of Relaunch on the track. As a three year old, he won the Santa Anita Derby, however as a four year old he would have his greatest moment when he won the 1986 Breeder’s Cup Classic. In this race he stalked the early pace set by Herat and Precisionist, take the lead entering the far turn and widen his advantage by five lengths in the stretch, holding off the hard charging favourite Turkoman by a length at the wire. Skywalker, named after the Star Wars movie hero, then went to stud at Cardiff Stud in California. He sired Eclipse Award winner Bertrando (Woodward Stakes etc), who in turn sired fifty-three stakes winners, including Officer (Champagne Stakes etc).

The son of Relaunch that would become the vital branch to continue the male line is Cee’s Tizzy. Bred by the Lucy Ruspoli Stable from the broodmare Tizly by Lyphard, Cees Tizzy was subsequently purchased by Cecilia Straub-Rubens and raced in the silks of the Cees Stable. He was a moderate stakes placed winner, having showing nothing special as a race horse, when he was retired to stud at Harris Farms in California. Here he became a good regional sire, with thirty-nine stakes winners to his credit, but did get one horse of exceptional quality. This son is none other than two time Breeder’s Cup Classic winner Tiznow.

Tiznow 10

Tiznow was bred by Straub-Rubens, who also raced the beautiful dark bay colt in partnership with Michael Cooper. His pedigree shows a 4 x 4 inbreed to Northern Dancer, with Seattle Slew also appearing in his third generation on his dam’s side. Tiznow was actually a twin while in utero. Since twins in the equine world are generally small and weak, a veterinary procedure called pinching is performed early during a pregnancy to abort one fetus and allow the other to develop fully for the remaining gestation time. This may sound barbaric, but the foal that is to be born would have a much better chance of survival. If both were foaled, neither would have much chance to survive at all.

Likely due to his being originally a twin Tiznow was a late maturing colt. He became fast and durable, and came to hand during his three year old season in time to defeat the Triple Crown campaign colts of his year to earn the first of his two divisional Eclipse Awards, as well as the Eclipse Horse of the Year Award as a three year old.

During his three year old season Tiznow, trained by Jay Robbins, gradually built up his resume with wins in the grade three Affirmed Handicap, the grade two Goodwood Handicap and the grade one Super Derby. He had two 2nd places in the grade one Swaps Stakes and the Pacific Classic, all this before his supplemental nominated appearance in the Breeder’s Cup Classic at Churchill Downs. Here he would face the reigning Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus, the defending race winner Cat Thief, European Champion Giant’s Causeway, and top class G1 winners Lemon Drop Kid, Albert the Great and Captain Steve. Tiznow stalked the moderate early pace around the first turn and down the backstretch, took command at the top of the stretch from Albert the Great, and engaged in a thrilling all out battle to the wire with Giant’s Causeway, prevailing by a short head margin. The two were heads apart throughout the stretch run.

On the basis of this Breeder’s Cup Classic victory against a top field, he was named Eclipse Award Horse of the Year. Tiznow would be back as a four year old, with wins in the San Fernando Stakes, the Santa Anita Handicap and a 2nd in the Strub Stakes and a pair of 3rd place finishes in the Woodward Stakes and Goodwood Handicap. His final race came in the 2001 Breeder’s Cup Classic against another stellar field. This race would truly be a classic of the ages.

The entries included Galileo and Sahkee from Europe. Galileo was the reigning Epsom Derby winner, while Sahkee was the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner. Macho Uno, Include, Aptitude and Albert the Great were also G1 winning worthy entrants in this running of the Classic at Belmont. Albert the Great and Orientate set a strong early pace, the first half mile was run in 47 seconds flat, with Tiznow stalking in 3rd. As the field moved through the far turn, Sahkee, under Frankie Dettori launched his move around the outside. Albert the Great stayed on the rail and would carry the lead until mid stretch, keeping Tiznow behind him, when Sahkee assumed the lead. Tiznow however found more in reserve and came through between Albert the Great and Sahkee, to put in a glorious battle with the Arc winner who had gone by him at the top of the stretch. Tiznow won by a nose, literally as the photo would show. He became the first, and still only, two time winner of the Breeder’s Cup Classic.

After winning another Eclipse Award, this time as the champion older horse, Tiznow was retired from racing to take up stud duty at WinStar Farm in Versailles, Kentucky. The first crop of foals sired by Tiznow stamped him as a sire to be reckoned when his daughter Folklore won the Matron Stakes and then the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Fillies, earning the Eclipse Award as the top Two Year Old Filly. Well Armed won the Goodwood Stakes at five and the Dubai World Cup as a six year old.

The list of group one winners sired by Tiznow early in his career is impressive. He has sired Tough Tiz’s Sis (Ruffian Handicap, Lady’s Secret Stakes), Bullsbay (Whitney Handicap), Morning Line (Carter Handicap), Tizway (Metropolitan Handicap), Da’ Tara (Belmont Stakes), Gemologist (Wood Memorial), Colonel John (Travers Stakes, Santa Anita Derby).

Additional important stakes winners sired by Tiznow are Bear Now (Champion older mare in Canada), Strong Mandate (Hopeful Stakes), Tizdejavu (American Derby), Tiz Wonderful (Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes) and American Lion (Illinois Derby, Hollywood Prevue Stakes).

Tiznow is out of Cees Song by Seattle Song, a very good grade one stakes winner by Seattle Slew. The second dam of Tiznow is Lonely Dancer, a daughter of little known stakes winner Nice Dancer by Northern Dancer. The representation of Seattle Slew and Northern Dancer in the second and third generations of Tiznow’s dam is significant, even though the immediate offspring in this pedigree from those two breeding legends are not. Tiznow seems to cross very well with descendants from the major sire lines in North America.

Tiznow is a big fellow, standing 16.3 hands and is full of character. His popularity with turf fans while racing has been continued on to his sons and daughters that are winning stakes races around the continent. He has sired fifty-six stakes winners from nine crops so far in his stud career. He has become one of, if not the, most popular stallions that fans flock to see during WinStar Farm’s open house stallion viewings.

Tiznow did not receive as many top broodmares at the start of his stud career as he does now, as some breeders were hedging their bets on him due to his less than fashionable pedigree. Tiznow has made himself fashionable with the early success of his progeny. His sons are also getting respect as sire prospects as they are retired to a career of stud service. It is only a matter of time before we will know if he can get an heir or two as a sire and whether or not his daughters become outstanding broodmares.

Tiznow was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 2009. He is justifiably regarded as a world class sire in current bloodstock markets, and we may someday refer to his line as the Tiznow male line instead of a revival of the Man O’ War line. I’m just getting ahead of myself here.

(Photo of Relaunch source unknown. Photo of Tiznow courtesy of WinStar Farm.)



  • I love this article. Tiznow was a great race horse, and is a great stallion. I, and many others, tune in to the cameras at Winstar to see Tiznow every day. His coat is a shinny black color, and as he prances his way to the breeding shed, or shakes his head at another stallion who dares walk by his stall, you are reminded of the “Black Stallion” in those famous books. He is always sticking his head out of his stall door, doing hall monitor duty; he will stand there for hours. He is very intelligent, beautiful, and loaded with character. At the old barn, he learned where the latch was, and let himself out, but he can’t reach it now, but that doesn’t prevent him from still trying to figure out how to do it. He is feisty, but not mean, and I notice that he responds to affection, respect, and a quite strong, but kind hand. His temperament seems to be like what I heard of Seattle Slew “He will do anything, if you ask but you don’t want to get in a fight with him, or you will lose.” Every week we get to ask questions of the grooms, and there are always one or two questions about “THE KING”. Thank-you for your great article!

  • A wonderful article

    I visited Tiznow at WinStar several times. He is such a commanding figure and came out of his stall with so much authority I had to, and did his portrait. I have visited him several times since and just completed his sires portrait (Cee’s Tizzy) that I am titling “Patriarch”.

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