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ECLIPSE AWARDS: LOCAL HORSE MAKES GOOD: TIZNOW WINS.

Byline: Kevin Modesti Staff Writer

Tiznow was named the 2000 Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old Tuesday, completing an unlikely journey from a California breeding farm to North American thoroughbred racing's highest honor.

Tiznow became the first California-bred to be voted Horse of the Year or top 3-year-old since Swaps in 1956.

His victories, announced at the annual Eclipse Awards dinner in New Orleans, capped a strong year for California-based horses and horsemen, as the champions included Kona Gold (sprinter), Riboletta (older filly or mare), Surfside (3-year-old filly), Bobby Frankel (trainer) and Tyler Baze (apprentice jockey). Also, Santa Anita chairman Frank Stronach was named top owner for the third consecutive year as well as top breeder.

The Eclipse honor left Tiznow's co-owner, Michael Cooper, groping for the right words to express his feelings.

``On the chance that we might win this award, I was trying to write a speech today and started looking back on the history of this award,'' he said. ``But I became intimidated.''

He said what scared him was the addition of his horse to a list that includes Secretariat, Forego, Seattle Slew and Affirmed.

``I'd like to thank the fans for their support and we're happy to continue racing Tiznow again this year,'' Cooper said.

As late as five months ago, Tiznow attracted interest only because, as a son of Cee's Tizzy and Cee's Song, he's a full brother of the popular Budroyale. Born at Harris Farms near Coalinga, he had his racing debut delayed by illness and injury until April 22, 2000, at Santa Anita.

By the time Tiznow won for the first time on the third try May 31 at Hollywood Park, the Triple Crown was two-thirds complete back east and Fusaichi Pegasus and Red Bullet ruled the 3-year-old division.

But as those and other top horses faltered in the summer and fall, Tiznow and jockey Chris McCarron went on a three-race winning streak that began with the Sept. 30 Super Derby for 3-year-olds at Louisiana Downs, included a trip home for the Oct. 15 Goodwood Handicap against older horses at Santa Anita, and was capped by a $20.40 upset in the Nov. 4 Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.

For the year, the Jay Robbins-trained colt won 5 of 9 starts, earning $3.4 million for owners Cecilia Straub-Rubens and Michael Cooper. When Straub-Rubens died of cancer just days after the Breeders' Cup, her children became co-owners with Cooper. Tiznow won his 2001 opener in the Jan. 13 San Fernando Stakes and will be favored in Saturday's Strub Stakes at Santa Anita.

In the complex Eclipse Award balloting, which gives the award in each category to the candidate who gets a plurality in at least two of three voting blocs, Tiznow became Horse of the Year by winning among turf writers, Daily Racing Form staffers and racetrack executives. He received more than 70 percent of the total vote.

Also getting Horse of the Year votes were Lemon Drop Kid, Riboletta, Kona Gold, Giant's Causeway, Fusaichi Pegasus, Perfect Sting, Kalanisi and War Chant.

The contest for outstanding trainer mimicked the presidential election, as Frankel prevailed even though Joe Orseno beat him 53-51 in the ``popular vote.'' Frankel won among turf writers and tied with Orseno among Racing Form staffers, while Scott Lake won among racing executives. Frankel also received the award in 1994.

Other champions named Tuesday: Macho Uno (2-year-old), Caressing (2-year-old filly), Lemon Drop Kid (older male), Kalanisi (turf male), Perfect Sting (turf female), All Gong (steeplechaser) and Jerry Bailey (jockey).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 31, 2001
Words:597
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