Corporate America makes deals on the golf course; American thoroughbred breeders often make
theirs in the early morning on the backside.
WinStar Farm Vice-President and Bloodstock and Racing Manger Doug Cauthen
was taking an extra long look at Tiznow as he came off the track on the Friday
morning before the Breeders' Cup. He also noticed Frank Taylor of Taylor
Made Farm near the rail devoting an equal amount of attention to the colt.
Like two poker players a card away from the jackpot, they nodded at each other.
Cauthen approached Taylor to inquire about putting a double-team on Tiznow's principal
owner Michael Cooper to bring the California bred to Kentucky for his stud
career. Before Tiznow went into the starting gate, an agreement in principle
was unfolding, but not finished.
"Doug was the point man on this," explained Duncan Taylor of Taylor Made. "He talked with Frank and Frank liked his ideas. Frank then told us and it started in motion.
"Before the Classic we started talking how we both kind of hoped to make a play for him," Cauthen recalls. "Then it dawned on me that we were two strong forces that aren't that competitive with each other in a lot of ways and it might make sense to join forces. Plus we were already working together with Kris S."
Taylor Made and WinStar had a successful arrangement with Kris S. after the Taylor family brought the stallion from Florida to stand for the Preston Brothers at Prestonwood Farm, which is now, the Kenny Troutt and Bill Casner owned WinStar in Versailles, Ky.
As soon as Tiznow edged Sakhee at the finish line to become the first back-to-back winner of the $4 million Classic, Cauthen shifted into high gear with his partnership plan.
"The next week at the Keeneland sales, every moment I had between trying to buy horses and them (the Taylors) trying to sell, we would have a mini-meeting in the midst of the sales," Cauthen said. "Then we met with Michael Cooper and (Cooper's bloodstock advisor) John Fulton at the sales. They liked what we both brought to the table."
"Both teams had something to offer," said Taylor. "He (Cooper) saw we had
the marketing/sales aspect covered and Winstar has the broodmares and they
also race. And on top of that, they are buyers and breeders. I think all of this was a real
appeal because he wanted the opportunity to control some of the horse and he
will. It will help all of us in long term value by keeping some of the
"They have more man power over there and they've done a great job of
promoting their stallions Saint Ballado and Unbridled's Song," Cauthen adds.
"And we are strong financially with a great broodmare band. There were six
or seven other farms competing for this deal, but two worked out better than
one. The synergy was there. I think he (Cooper) is looking at this like we
are, that is how much money and fun there'll be down the road with Tiznow's
progeny in five, 10, 20 years."
Cooper and Cee's Stable will control 50 percent of the syndicate with Winstar
and Taylor Made dividing the other half. The farms beat out, among others,
Gainesway and Ashford to make the deal. "I didn't ask who we were up against,
I just wanted to put our best foot forward," said Cauthen.
Taylor points to this formula of marketing and broodmares as similar to that
of venerable Claiborne Farm: "They've had success after success through this kind of
control. This way they can protect the horses they want to race or sell and
give them every chance without pushing anything to insure their breeding
futures. They have the stallions and mares necessary to get a good mating."
If winning the Classic for the second straight time wasn't enough to make him
an attractive stallion prospect, Tiznow's dam Cee's Song sold for $2.5
million and his full sister, a weanling, sold for $950,000 at Keeneland
"He (Tiznow) is a monster to look at up close. And the way his dam and half
sister sold authenticates the full pedigree," Cauthen said.
"Not only is he good looking but so is his dam and his full sister has
excellent conformation," Taylor notes. "Conformation means so much in the
industry right now. With Tiznow's record and good family, it all fit
And Taylor is wasting no time in striking while the iron is hot. He is
planning media packages and considering web site chats involving trainer Jay
Robbins and jockey Chris McCarron as ways of letting breeders know Tiznow is
at WinStar and getting ready for business.
"You can't take anything for granted in this business. Look at some of the
experts who had written him (Tiznow) off before the Classic. It can change
in a heartbeat and we aren't overlooking anything in promoting the only two-time winner
of the Breeders' Cup Classic."
"We are going to price him very reasonably and emphasize mare selection,"
Cauthen said. "I'm happy and proud to be a part of this. All of us at
WinStar are, especially with Tiznow being the first stallion acquisition for
us." He joins stallions such as Distorted Humor, Victory Gallop and of course, Kris S that came with the farm when it was purchased from the Prestons.
Losing a few hours sleep to get up before dawn and see Tiznow gallop one more
time has paid off for Cauthen. As any good horseman knows in the corporate
world of jeans and hardboots there is no time to make it to the tee.