There are a few sires out there that I’m currently drooling with anticipation over in hopes that they will soon have a Derby winner. Dual-Classic winner Tiznow makes that shortlist as a stallion with obvious distance-siring class, albeit with very few prospects showing enough competitiveness early on to even make the cut for the starting gate of the May classic. But as I’ve learned this year, one can hold out hope and extinguish pedigree bias.
I first saw Tourist at Belmont Park on September 28 in what would be his debut race. The race was far too short for the long-legged colt, who would finish a good third in a field of 10 colts, barnstorming 7 furlongs on a track that did not favor his off-the-pace tactics. Tall and lofty, while he didn’t win that day the look of him as a racehorse certainly captured my attention. He made his second start on October 26, again at Belmont going a mile, but was on the receiving end of some interference by longshot Cool Samurai in the race won by Wicked Strong. He ultimately finished a shuffled-back 7th.
Sire Tiznow needs little introduction as the only winner of two Breeders’ Cup Classics and was a late-but-true bloomer as a three-year-old, a trait which he seems to pass on. Well Armed, Tiz Miz Sue, Morning Line, Colonel John, Tizway, and others all seemed to hit their stride no sooner than the middle of their three-year-old year but were unquestionably excellent horses once they developed. Dam Unbridled Melody is by the late, early-bird sire Unbridled’s Song, who frequently passes on speed early, and Tourist is her second foal to race. A winner thrice at the allowance level going shorter distances, her damsire Sky Classic was a champion in Canada as a two, four, and five-year-old racing on the turf, just missing the Breeders’ Cup Turf in 1992 by a nose but still won the Eclipse Award. Another key notable is Tourist’s repeated references to Northern Dancer (x3) and Seattle Slew (x2), and two mentions up close of the mare Incantation, best known as the broodmare of Seattle Song, a G1 winner in France and the U.S. This makes Tourist an uncommon link to both the Man o’ War male line through Tiznow and the female line through Incantation, who goes back to U-Boat.
While WinStar is known to usually have some strong contenders on the Triple Crown trail, at this point Tourist is still a ways off from breaking his maiden. Trainer Bill Mott is not particularly well known for bringing in heavy artillery for the Kentucky Derby, if any at all. But hey, Gemologist made it… Revolutionary was 2nd this year… eh?