Tiz the Bomb broke through the gate before the start and had to overcome a wide post, but those obstacles proved no matter as the improving colt picked up his second straight stakes win in Sunday's GII Castle & Key Bourbon S. at Keeneland, punching his ticket for the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.
Easily the most expensive progeny of his sire to sell in 2020 when hammering for $330,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearling Sale, the bay only beat one horse home debuting over five furlongs on the Churchill dirt May 14, but improved drastically stretching out to a mile in an Ellis off-the-turfer July 2, cruising to a 14 1/4-length graduation. Stepping up in his first start on turf and initial try against winners to annex the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile S. Sept. 6, Tiz the Bomb was made a fractional favorite in this full 14-horse field despite breaking through his stall and running off for about a furlong before being corralled and reloaded.
Finding a good spot racing in the clear in fourth behind fractions of :22.94 and :47.54, he got shuffled back a bit midway around the far turn and appeared to be spinning his wheels in sixth as the field straightened for home. Starting to find his best stride passing the three-sixteenths marker, Tiz the Bomb drew alongside a trio of battling leaders a furlong out, forged to the front soon after and inched clear to prevail. Stolen Base rallied late to get into second.
“It's not a good omen, typically, and yeah, it makes a trainer nervous when it happens, but [jockey] Brian [Hernandez] did a great job wrangling him up and keeping him under control,” winning trainer Ken McPeek said of Tiz a Bomb breaking through the gate. “It's worse if he comes off or something like that. This horse has got a lot of talent and we're fortunate to have a guy like Brian who handles things on the oval. He does a great job.”
“We were ready, we were set up, and as the last horse was walking in, I turned his head to set him to where we could leave the gate in good order,” related Hernandez. “He got a little anxious and just charged forward one step and the gate popped open. Most of the time when that happens, horses have a hard time recovering from it, but when we finally reloaded and he left the gate in good order the second time, we were able to get around the first turn in good order. I was really confident in him, and he took care of it from there.”
The win capped a big weekend at Keeneland for McPeek, whose Rattle N Roll (Connect) ran away to an impressive success in Saturday's GI Claiborne Breeders' Futurity. McPeek, however, said that Rattle N Roll may pass on the Breeders' Cup while indicating that Tiz the Bomb will be on a plane to Del Mar.
“I think for this horse definitely the Breeders' Cup Juvenile [Turf] is ideal,” he commented. “Everything happens for a reason. You could have made the case that Tiz the Bomb could have run yesterday for sure, and Rattle N Roll–of course, they're apples and oranges. It's a high-level problem we've got right now. We're just going to enjoy this, relish the moment and make those decisions as we get closer.”
One of seven stakes winners for Spendthrift Farm's Hit It a Bomb, Tiz the Bomb becomes his fifth graded stakes winner with the victory. He's the second foal to race out of his dam, who was fourth at 22-1 in the 2014 GI American Oaks. A $330,000 Keeneland September buy by Spendthrift, she has a yearling Free Drop Billy filly and foaled a colt by Mor Spirit this season before being bred to Gormley.
CASTLE & KEY BOURBON S.-GII, $200,000, Keeneland, 10-10, 2yo, 1 1/16mT, 1:43.69, gd.
1–TIZ THE BOMB, 120, c, 2, by Hit It a Bomb
1st Dam: Tiz the Key, by Tiznow
2nd Dam: Cabbage Key, by A.P. Indy
3rd Dam: Mayville's Magic, by Gone West
1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. ($330,000 Ylg '20 FTKSEL).
O-Phoenix Thoroughbred, LTD; B-Spendthrift Farm, LLC (KY);
T-Kenneth G. McPeek; J-Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.
$120,000. Lifetime Record: 4-3-0-0, $447,841. Werk Nick
Rating: A++. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Stolen Base, 118, c, 2, Bodemeister–Running Wild, by
Indian Charlie. ($45,000 2yo '21 OBSAPR). O-Three
Diamonds Farm & Deuce Greathouse; B-Peter E. Blum
Thoroughbreds, LLC (KY); T-Michael J. Maker. $40,000.
3–Credibility, 118, c, 2, Nyquist–Class Edge, by Indygo Shiner.
($32,000 Ylg '20 KEESEP; $15,000 2yo '21 OBSAPR). O-Harry
Rosenblum; B-DJ Stable, LLC (KY); T-Mark E. Casse.
Margins: 3/4, HF, 3/4. Odds: 2.90, 7.90, 45.00.
Also Ran: Red Danger, Dowagiac Chief, Rocket One, Play Action Pass, Lucky Boss, On Thin Ice, Brit's Wit, Martini'nmoonshine, Heaven Street, Fast N Steady, Waita Minute Hayes. Scratched: Red Run, Vivar.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs, or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.