SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Though Tizway earned a virtual all-expenses-paid trip to the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile by virtue of his victory in Monday's Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park, his connections are inclined to aim a little higher.
Trainer James Bond said Wednesday that he would like to get Tizway to the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, run at 1 1/4 miles on Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs. Toward that end, Bond is aiming Tizway to the $750,000 Whitney at Saratoga on Aug. 6 and the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont on Oct. 1.
"That's the plan right now," Bond said Monday in his office at his Saratoga barn on Gridley Street, a quarter-mile down the road from the stable gate of Saratoga's main track. "We've won at the mile distance. Hopefully, I can prove he can go a mile and a quarter, too. Speed, and being able to carry that speed, is the most dangerous thing in racing."
In Monday's Met Mile, Tizway showed good early speed, stalking Tackleberry from second through a quarter in 23.17 seconds and a half-mile 45.57 before taking the lead leaving the three-furlong pole. Tizway ran a mile in 1:32.90 – missing Honour and Glory's stakes record by .09 of a second – while earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 113.
The Met Mile was a Win and You're In race, meaning he earned an automatic berth into the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, with the Breeders' Cup picking up pre-entry and entry fees as well as providing a $10,000 travel stipend. Owner William Clifton and Bond can use the money they would get for the Mile towardsthe Classic, which has higher pre-entry and entry fees.
Bond said jockey Rajiv Maragh has told him frequently that "this horse will run all day."
Bond noted that in the 2009 Whitney, in which Tizway finished fourth to Bullsbay, he was laid on early and often by Smooth Heir, forcing him to go faster earlier in the race than planned. Following that, Tizway finished third to Summer Bird in the Jockey Club Gold Cup run over a sloppy track. In his race prior to the Met Mile, Tizway finished third – beaten a head for second – to Duke of Mischief in the $1 million Charles Town Classic run in the slop.
"I thought his race in the Charles Town Classic was a very good race, considering he couldn't stand up in that stuff," Bond said.
Bond said Wednesday that Tizway, who shipped back to Saratoga late Monday night, came out of the race "fantastic."
Tizway, a 6-year-old son of Tiznow, won for the sixth time from 19 starts and captured his first Grade 1 victory. It also was Bond's first Grade 1 victory since Buddha won the 2002 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.
"It felt great," Bond said. "A long time in between."
Tizway has had his share of physical issues throughout his career, the most significant was breaking the wing bone in a front foot. Bond had the nerve of the foot removed. The procedure seemed to work just fine, and he made sure to acknowledge the work done by Dr. Alan Nixon of Cornell for "putting him back together."
Courageous Cat close to return
The multiple graded stakes winner Courageous Cat is nearing a return to the races, which may occur in the Grade 3, $100,000 Poker Handicap on June 10.
Courageous Cat, a 5-year-old son of Storm Cat, has not been out since finishing third in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland last October. Trainer Bill Mott said Courageous Cat entrapped his epiglottis in that race and underwent a surgical procedure to correct the problem.
On Sunday, Courageous Cat worked a strong seven furlongs in 1:25 over Belmont's Widener turf course. According to Mott, Courageous Cat went his final six furlongs of that move in 1:12, which is pretty strong considering the rail was out 27 feet and a triple set of traffic cones, known as dogs, were also up, forcing workers to be very wide.
"It was a pretty nice move," Mott said. "He needed the work, he got a good blow out of it but seemed to recover quickly. We're 50-50 to make the Poker."
Mott said one of his first objectives with Courageous Cat is the Fourstardave Handicap to be run at Saratoga on July 31.
Even if Mott doesn't run Courageous Cat in the Poker, he figures to have a busy couple of days Belmont week. Mott is running Drosselmeyer and possibly Birdrun in the Brooklyn Handicap on June 10. On Belmont Stakes Day, Mott will run Aviate in the Grade 1 Just a Game and Al Khali in the Grade 1 Manhattan.
Dialed In targeting Jim Dandy
Trainer Nick Zito's pair of stakes winners, Dialed In and Morning Line, both galloped strongly Wednesday morning over the Oklahoma training track and will be pointed to summer campaigns.
Zito said Dialed In, the Florida Derby winner who finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby and fourth in the Preakness, will likely make his next start in the Jim Dandy at the Spa on July 30 as a stepping-stone to the Travers on Aug. 27.
On Tuesday, Zito marveled at how well Dialed In looks and even toyed with the idea of the Belmont Stakes, but he reined himself in.
"I love the Belmont, I got a history in the Belmont," said Zito, who has two wins and seven seconds in the third leg of the Triple Crown. "Right now, we just decided to wait. We got to try to get to the Travers."
This will be the first Belmont in which Zito has not participated since 2003.
Meanwhile, Morning Line, who missed Monday's Met Mile due to a minor foot issue, is targeting the Whitney on Aug. 6, with a possible prep at Belmont in June or July. In his most recent start, Morning Line won the Grade 1 Carter at Aqueduct on April 9.
"We got time, I'd like to get him on some kind of a breeze schedule," Zito said.
Adios Charlie works for Pegasus
Adios Charlie, winner of the Jerome and runner-up in the Peter Pan, worked five furlongs in 1:01.75 on Wednesday morning over the Oklahoma training track. Breaking from the half-mile pole, Adios Charlie went in splits of 13.28, 25.18, and 48.61.
"He went nice and easy and finished good," trainer Stanley Hough said. "He's doing good, going the right way."
Adios Charlie is prepping for the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park on June 18.
Hough said Tar Heel Mom, who finished second as the 1-5 favorite in the My Juliet Stakes at Parx Racing on Saturday, would likely make her next start in the Honorable Miss Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 7.