Steve Haskin's Classic Story (Cont.)

Passing the three-sixteenths pole, Dettori switched to a left-handed whip on Sakhee, who was charging up on the outside. Aptitude was not able to launch a bid having raced so wide the entire way and faded. Albert the Great hung tough, but it soon became obvious it would be Tiznow once again who would be asked to defend his homeland against the pride of Europe. At the eighth pole, Sakhee, now under left-handed whipping, opened a half-length lead and appeared to have the race won. "I thought I was running for second," said McCarron, who continued to wave the whip at Tiznow with his right hand. "Sakhee seemed to have the momentum."

Up in the stands, Robbins felt pride in his horse, but the reality hit him that a repeat was unlikely. Cooper still was hoping his miracle horse could pull out another miracle, but just wanted Tiznow to continue to battle. "When Sakhee went by him, I thought, 'Keep going, boy; keep going. Show him you got guts, anyway.' "

At the sixteenth pole, McCarron was desperate. He had nothing to lose, so he reached back and gave Tiznow one left-handed crack with the whip. "When I hit him he jumped forward," McCarron said. "It was exhilarating." With the daggers now shooting from Tiznow's eyes, the champ battled back. He wanted Sakhee. McCarron furiously waved the whip in front of Tiznow's left eye, as Dettori went to a series of right-handed whips on Sakhee. The crowd of almost 53,000 was delirious, cheering on their hero against the foreign invader.

In the final yards, Tiznow pulled on equal terms with Sakhee. Both colts made one final lunge for the wire, with Tiznow just getting his nose in front. Albertrani went racing down to the track, believing Sakhee had won. But Tiznow had done it again, covering the mile and a quarter in a sharp 2:00.62. Albert the Great battled hard to the wire, finishing 1 3/4 lengths back in third, with Macho Uno fourth. Galileo continued to race evenly, finishing sixth.

As Robbins headed to the track, Guided Tour's trainer Niall O'Callaghan stopped him and said, "Phenomenal training job. It really was. Unbelievable!" Robbins' wife, Sandy, was trembling, trying to hold back tears. "I said to Jay this morning, 'I just want this for you so badly.' I can't tell you what this means to him." Cooper said his toes were numb, and it wasn't from the cold. "It was like everything just stopped," he said. "For him to pull it out like that, I'm just overcome. I can't believe it."

He also couldn't help but think of his longtime partner and close friend, Cecilia Straub-Rubens, who bred and raced Tiznow but died just days after last year's Classic. "She was such a special lady and a special friend," he said. "I wish she had been here to enjoy this. I think Tiz knew in spirit she was here, the way he came back and gutted it out right down on the line, kind of like the way she was, too. I thought about her and thanked her. At least I know she went out with a big smile on her face."

Frankie Dettori had nothing but praise for Tiznow, and tremendous admiration for his horse. "He's still a winner to me," he said. "For him to run like he did first time on dirt and having run three weeks ago in Paris, he must be a superstar. Full credit to Tiznow. He knuckled down and got me. He has a great reputation and a head like a dinosaur."

Godolphin assistant Laurent Barbarin put it best when he said of Sakhee, "He came a nose away from making history. It would have been something amazing, but we'll be back again."

Back at the barn, when Tiznow immediately dove into a pile of alfalfa, Cooper called over to his trainer, "Hey, Robbins, you got the condition book. He's ready to go again." Tiznow was then treated to carrots, apples, and mints by his admiring family. McCarron showed up and wrapped his arms around Tiznow's massive neck. "You are the man!" said McCarron, who won the Classic for a record fifth time. Jack Robbins, in his typical dry sense of humor, yelled, "When did you figure you had it won, Chris?"

As Cooper departed, he told Arciga and groom Carlos Aguilar, "Good night, guys. Once again, wonderful job. I know it hasn't been easy, but you did terrific. There will be Christmas again this year."

One of the last to leave was Jack Robbins, who went over to Tiznow and said, "You got the job done, White Face. You did yourself proud."

The colt also did New York City proud. At a time when so many heroes have surfaced in the Big Apple, Tiznow, in his way, came to exemplify that indomitable fighting spirit.


In a feat not likely to be equaled, Tiznow, in his two Classic victories, defeated the winners of the Kentucky Derby, English Derby, Irish Derby, Arc de Triomphe, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Belmont Stakes, Breeders' Cup Classic, Travers Stakes, two Jockey Club Gold Cups, Dubai World Cup, Whitney Stakes, Woodward Stakes, Irish Two Thousand Guineas, Eclipse Stakes, Irish Champion Stakes, two Juddmonte Internationals, and Pimlico Special.

Tiznow becomes first repeat winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic and joins Bayakoa, Da Hoss, Lure, and Miesque as two-time winners of Breeders' Cup races.

A record fifth win in the Classic for Chris McCarron. His other wins came aboard Alysheba (1988), Sunday Silence (1989), Alphabet Soup (1996), and Tiznow (2000).