Tizbud, a full brother to 2000 Horse of the Year Tiznow, attempts to duplicate his victory last year in the $250,000 California Cup Classic Saturday as the Oak Tree Racing Association presents the 15th annual championship day of racing for state breds at Santa Anita Park.
Big things have been expected of Tizbud, whose brother Tiznow won the Breeders' Cup Classic in 2000 and 2001. Tiznow, now a stallion at WinStar Farm in Kentucky, is the king of California racing, having earned an all-time leading $6.4 million. But his younger brother, now a 5-year-old, has been slowed by shin problems during the past two years.
On Saturday, he'll be making his first start since winning the 2003 Cal Cup Classic by three lengths for trainer John Sadler. Tizbud has six starts in his career, winning twice, with earnings of $219,266.
The 1 1/8-mile Cal Cup Classic, the marquee event in the 10-race series for horses bred in California, drew a field of 10. It goes as the eighth race on the 10-race program at 4:18 p.m. on the West Coast.
Tizbud's breeding – by Cee's Tizzy out of Cee's Song, by Seattle Song, was the work of the late breeder Cecilia Straub-Rubens of Irvine, who died in November of 2000, shortly after Tiznow won his first Breeders' Cup Classic. The mating also produced graded stakes winners Budroyale and Tizdubai.
Tizbud, like Tiznow before him, was bred at Coalinga's Harris Farms, where he received his early training. He runs for Cees Stable, LLC.
"We gave him a lot of long workouts," Sadler said about Tizbud's preparation following his long layoff. "He's worked seven-eighths twice, he's worked a mile and galloped out a mile and an eighth. Plus with this horse, the thing that helps him is he has a lot of natural stamina. He can run a long distance. He's probably best at a mile and a quarter but a mile and an eighth is well within his range."
Tyler Baze replaces Victor Espinoza aboard Tizbud, who carries 117 pounds and breaks from post position 1. Espinoza, who had ridden the dark bay colt in each of his six starts, has the mount on Commander's Flag, who was third in the race last year for trainer Jeff Mullins.
Kedington finished second to Tizbud last year and returns for a second crack. Unlike his rival, he's had the benefit of a prep race for Satuday's event, finishing third in an allowance race on the turf for trainer Rafael Becerra.
Kedington, who carries 114 pounds, is a strong closer.
Two others figure to merit quite a bit of attention, the co-high weights in the field at 120 pounds -– Yougottawanna and Excess Summer.
Excess Summer finished second in the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic in January and third in the Governor's Cup Handicap over 6 1/2 furlongs at Fairplex Park last month. Excess Summer, conditioned by Mullins, a leading Southern California trainer, is expected to be favored. He has six wins – four in stakes races – in 12 starts and earnings of $501,461.
Yougottawanna, who upset Officer in the 2001 California Cup Juvenile, captured the Governor's Handicap at Sacramento on Aug. 28, his second stakes win of the year. He also took the Seabiscuit Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
Calkins Road won the Cal Cup Classic in 2002, but has just one stakes victory since, that coming when he defeated Yougottawanna in the Joseph T. Grace Handicap at Sonoma County Fair Aug. 7.$250,000 California Cup Classic (Race 8, 4:18 p.m. PT), 3 & up, 1 1/8 miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, ML Odds
1. Tizbud, Tyler Baze, 117, 6-1
2. Intuit, Garrett Gomez, 114, 20-1
3. Excess Summer, Gary Stevens, 120, 5-2
4. Yougottawanna, Russell Baze, 120, 9-2
5. Calkins Road, Rene Douglas, 117, 6-1
6. Lava Man, Jon Court, 112, 20-1
7. Kedington, Omar Figueroa, 114, 8-1
8. Cozy Guy, Corey Nakatani, 112, 15-1
9. Commander's Flag, Victor Espinoza, 115, 8-1
10. Anziyan Royalty, David Flores, 116, 6-1