Tiz the Bomb Comes Home in Jeff Ruby Steaks

In a three-race 100-point warm-up day for the GI Kentucky Derby, it was TIZ LA BOMBE (c, 3, Hit It a Bomb–Tiz the Key, by Tiznow)– a colt not officially pointing to the Derby – who won Saturday’s GIII Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park to clinch one of those coveted 100-point places. Drifting 6-5 to 8-5, but still clearly favored as the gates flew out, Tiz the Bomb had a smooth break and made a trip to outside midfield by fractions of :23 .25 and: 47.06. Breathing menacingly down the necks of the leaders, he was dropped by Brian Hernandez, Jr. at around six furlongs and quickly entered the fray. Tiz the Bomb overhauled a simultaneous-moving Tawny Port (Pioneerof the Nile), which had knocked down pilot Manny Franco before the race, and took command with ease after a few left-handed jabs, winning by leaps and bounds as he threw his ears forward crossing the wire.

Only eight races on the Kentucky Derby track give the winner up to 100 points – good for a guaranteed place in the Derby’s starting grid – but trainer Kenny McPeek suggested before the race that Tiz the Bomb will likely bypass the Derby and will target the G1 QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on April 30 and/or the G1 Cazoo Derby at Epsom on June 4. He wasn’t as firm on that stance immediately after the race.

“We’re not going to make a decision quickly,” said McPeek, who said the owning team wasn’t going to rule out the Kentucky Derby. “We will have to sort out some details. I think the further it goes, the better. Just a really special colt. We have a few options and they are really great options. Right now, we’re going to take advantage of that and go from there.

He added of Jeff Ruby Steaks’ journey: “Brian had put him in a really good position and it looked like he was going to have to carry some outside ground to get there, but he’s a pretty good horse to handle it. I’m glad he got him out of trouble This colt went the farthest distance and did it anyway… We shouldn’t rule out Kentucky just yet I think he might be able to handle that.

The Turfway feature, now in its 51st run, has been contested under seven different names/sponsorships over the years and has produced two Kentucky Derby winners in Animal Kingdom (Leroides Animaux {Brz}, 2011) and Lil E. Tee (At the Threshold, 1992).

The Jeff Ruby Steaks was Tiz the Bomb’s second win in as many starts on Turfway’s synthetic turf, coming off a win at the John Battaglia Memorial S. Mar. 5 after a second dirt experience that led to a speedboat. finish behind White Abarrio (Race Day) and Simplification (Not This Time) in the GIII Holy Bull S. at Gulfstream on February 5. These two were one to three in Saturday’s GI Florida Derby. Last year, Tiz the Bomb was winner of Keeneland’s GII Bourbon S. and runner-up in Del Mar’s GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, in addition to winner of Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile S.

Genealogical notes:

McPeek is known for his prowess in selecting horses at sales that may be overlooked by others and succeeding with them. While no one would have called Tiz the Bomb a bargain at $330,000, as he was by far Hit It a Bomb’s most expensive yearling and one of only two to bring in six figures, it took nerves of steel to buy a yearling by an unproven sire for so far above the average and median of this stallion. McPeek was awarded Hit It a Bomb’s most successful runner to date. The War Front stallion, who stands at Spendthrift and won the 2015 GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, has two ranked winners and three black type winners from two small crops to race.

In contrast, broodmare sire Tiznow, who is retired at WinStar, is no stranger to the stakes scene as he has 52 black-type winners among his daughters, including GI Belmont S./GI Travers S./GI Florida Derby/GI Champagne S. winner Tiz the Law (Constitution), who also finished second in the 2020 GI Kentucky Derby.

Tiz the Bomb was bred by Spendthrift after the farm bought Tiz the Key for $330,000 – the same price her son would eventually fetch – as a September 2012 yearling from Keeneland. She was bred exclusively with Spendthrift stallions, with 2-year-old filly Bel Rosso (Free Drop Billy), which sold for $180,000 at FTKOCT at Rocket Ship Racing, and a year-old colt by Mor Spirit in the pipeline. She gave birth to a Gormley filly on February 25. Tiz the Key comes from one of the best families in the studbook, as his fourth dam is Gay Missile (Sir Gaylord). Among Gay Missile’s many influential foals was Lassie Dear (Buckpasser), dam of Broodmare of the Year Weekend Surprise (Secretariat), who in turn produced AP Indy (Seattle Slew). Gay Missile was out of blue hen Missy Baba (My Babu {Fr}), whose notable foals included Broodmare of the Year Toll Booth (Buckpasser).

Saturday, Turfway Park
JEFF RUBY STEAKS S.-GIII$600,000, Turfway, 4-2, 3-year-old, 1 1/8m (AWT), 1:48.60, ft.
1-TIZ THE BOMB, 123, c, 3, by Hit It a Bomb
1st dam: Tiz the key, by Tiznow
2nd dam: Cabbage Key, by AP Indy
3rd Dam: Mayville’s Magic, by Gone West
($330,000 Ylg ’20 FTKSEL). O-Magdalena Racing, lessee;
B-Spendthrift Farm, LLC (KY); T-Kenneth G. McPeek; J Brian
Joseph Hernandez, Jr. $351,400. Lifetime record: GISP,
8-5-1-0, $1,044,401. Rating Werk Nick: A+.
Click for it eNicks report and 5-cross pedigree.
2–Port Tawny123, c, 3, Pioneer of the Nile–Livi Makenzie, by
Macho Uno. 1ST TYPE BLACK, 1ST TYPE BLACK GRADE.
($430,000Ylg ’20 KEESEP). O-Peachtree Stable; B-WinStar
Farm, LLC (KY); T-Brad H. Cox. $114,000.
3–Rich Strike123, c, 3, Keen Ice–Gold Strike, by Smart Strike.
TYPE BLACK 1ST GRADUATED. O-RED TR-Racing, LLC; B-pipe
Farm (KY); T-Eric R. Reed. $57,000.
Margins: 2 1/4, 3HF, 3/4. Odds: 1.60, 3.70, 26.20.
Also raced: Dowagiac Chief, Royal Spirit, Cabo Spirit, Stolen Base, Red Run, Constitutionlawyer, Swing Shift, Great Escape, Optigogo. Striped: Blackadder. Click for it Chart Equibase.comthe TJCIS.com PP or the free Equineline.com catalog style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

Dino S. Williams