The Tin Man (horse)
|The Tin Man|
|Breeder||Ralph and Aury Todd|
|The Tin Man is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Lizzie Rolfe by Affirmed. He was born around 1998 in the USA, and was bred by Ralph and Aury Todd.|
Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Championship Stakes (2002, 2006)|
American Handicap (2002)
San Luis Obispo Handicap (2003)
Arlington Million (2006)
American Handicap (2006)
San Marcos Stakes (2006)
Shoemaker Mile (2007)
|Horse (Equus ferus caballus)|
|Last updated on August 13, 2007|
The Tin Man (foaled February 18, 1998 in Kentucky) is an American thoroughbred gelding racehorse. He was sired by the great Affirmed, the last horse to win the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing out of the unplaced Lizzie Rolfe by another great horse, Tom Rolfe, who was an exceptional racehorse but a better broodmare sire.
He was retired at the age of 9 due to complications following exploratory surgery on an ankle.
A Liking for Grass
A dark brown gelding, bred and raced by Ralph and Aury Todd (who live in California's Santa Ynez Valley), The Tin Man's sire never ran on grass, but his descendants have proved themselves over and over on the turf. Affirmed's daughter Flawlessly twice earned Eclipse Awards as Champion Grass Female, and was inducted to the Hall of Fame. One of his top sons, Charlie Barley, was a Canadian Turf Champion. Trained by Richard Mandella, The Tin Man is proving himself worthy to be included in their company...but only as he grows older. It seems his greatest racing days were not his youngest, but his oldest. He just gets better with time.
The Todd's began their adventure with race horses by buying a mare called Dancin' Liz by the legendary Northern Dancer. Right out of the gate, she became a stakes winner and a stakes producer. Her foals include the Grade II winner Oraibi, by Forli. She also dropped a Skywalker foal, the stakes placed gelding, Santero. Her filly by the noted Tom Rolfe is The Tin Man's dam.
The Tin Man was Lizzie Rolfe's ninth live foal. She died in 2000 giving birth to a full sister to The Tin Man. This sister is called She's a Rich Girl.
A Slow Start
As a two-year-old, The Tin Man bowed both tendons, injuries that required surgical repair. This early injury sidelined him for quite some time. "He had some injuries that would've stopped some horses along the way," said Mandella. "His body must have a great ability to overcome them." Mandella also decided to geld him. "I thought it might be a good idea to geld him for two reasons. First, it keeps them from developing that heavy chest, heavy neck, and that's 60 or 75 pounds of weight up front that you keep off. The second part was that he might behave himself better and have less chance to injure himself than a colt would."
He won the Grade I Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Championship Stakes and the Grade II American Handicap. He placed in the Grade II Del Mar Handicap and came in third in the Grade III San Francisco Breeders' Cup. All these races were on the turf.
And a Fast Finish
Due to an ankle injury in the Hirsch, thereby incurring major soft-tissue damage, The Tin Man was away from the races for fifteen months. He spent that time at River Edge Farm near Buellton, California, where the Todd's board their mares. Ralph and Aury often went to see him. "He's a dandy," says Ralph Todd, "...we'd go to visit, and as soon as he saw us, he'd come right over." Somehow, The Tin Man seemed to come out of his enforced "vacation" a different racehorse than he went in. Mandella said, "When we started him back, he just got better and better."
He won at Santa Anita Park in December 2005 in an allowance race in his first race back.
In January 2006, he took the Grade IIT San Marcos Handicap. A runner up in the Grade I Dubai Duty Free Stakes in the United Arab Emirates, he then, ridden by Victor Espinoza, wired the Grade I Arlington Million on turf as well as having again won the Grade II American Handicap.
The Tin Man's Heart
After the Arlington Million, Mandella said he'd happily look at the 2006 running of the Breeders' Cup Turf. (The Tin Man has twice run fourth in the BC Turf.) Mandella's win in the Arlington was his seventh attempt. "I've been trying to win this race for a long time, and it's nice to finally win it," said Mandella. "The Tin Man has been around for a long time. He's a pretty cool guy."
With his second win in the September 30th, 2006 Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Championship Stakes, The Tin Man's winnings amounted to $3,126,860. With this win, he'd beaten John Henry's record as the oldest horse to win the Hirsch (known, in John's day, as the Oak Tree Turf).
Richard Mandella opted to keep The Tin Man out of the Breeders' Cup Turf in 2006, saying he would start him in the Citation Handicap for the first time. But after some disappointing workouts, Mandella gave his horse the rest of the year off.
In 2006, The Tin Man was under consideration for Eclipse honors.
In early February 2007, The Tin Man re-entered training.
The Tin Man won the Grade I Shoemaker Mile, Hollywood's Memorial Day feature, defeating the likes of Kip Deville, running his current winning streak to four. Sweeping wide from a position just off the pace entering the final stretch, The Tin Man rallied and drew clear to secure yet another gutsy victory.
With this win, The Tin Man became the first horse in North America to win a Grade I stakes race at 9 since John's Call won two such races in 2000.
"It's just phenomenal that he's stayed so good after all these years," said Racing Hall of Fame conditioner Mandella moments after the victory.
On June 30, he finished second in the American Invitational Handicap, losing by a head to the Brazilian colt Out of Control. The Tin Man carried 10 more pounds, and Mandella said a key workout leading into the race had not gone well. "There was a loose horse on the track, and he didn't get much out of a work that he really needed."
The Tin Man was the defending champion when he returned to the Arlington Million on August 11, 2007. No other horse in the 25 yr old signature race at Arlington Park had ever won it back to back years and only 1 other horse had won it at age 9. Going off as the betting favorite he took the lead after the last turn, on the softer turf ground, but found himself overtaken by the Canadian gelding, Jambalaya, and losing by 3/4 of a length in a time of 2:04:76, paying $3.80 and $2.60, elevating his career earnings to $3,613,780.
His final start of 2007 - and final start of his career - took place in the Grade 1 Oak Tree $250k Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship Stakes held at Santa Anita October 6. This noted turf race is held at a distance 1 1/4 mile. He was nipped at the eighth pole by six-year old Artiste Royal, who had been 0 for 9 starts in the US, held on to win by 1-length. The Tin Man had gone off as the 3-5 favorite and his defeat was a shock to the crowd.
His 2007 record alone was 4 starts 1-3-0 with the victory being a Grade 1 and his second place finishes being 2 Grade 1s and 1 Grade 2.
Surgery and Retirement
The Tin Man emerged from his final race on October 6 with body soreness. Despite his age, trainer Richard Mandella hoped that The Tin Man could return in 2008 and race as a 10-year-old. He was taken out of training and his owners sent him in for exploratory tests. Among the test findings there were suggestions of possible damage to an ankle, which prompted the need for an exploratory arthroscopic procedure.
On October 25, 2007 The Tin Man underwent the procedure without issue. However, when coming out of anesthesia, he spooked and "sustained a fractured knee". Such injuries are rare but do occur in large animals when reviving from anesthesia, as was the case with Ruffian. The injury was serious enough for the owners and trainer to retire The Tin Man. They made the announcement October 31, 2007.
On April 14, 2008, he arrived at Martin and Pam Wygod's River Edge Farm near Buellton, California where it is expected he will enjoy a long retirement. His movements are a bit constricted due to calcium deposits on his knee, but solutions are being sought for this. "He's had trouble with that knee...it has definitely cramped his lifestyle a little bit, but he gets around fairly well," said Russell Drake, River Edge farm manager. "Right now, I've got him out in a big, grass paddock, and his main thing is to just eat and be happy for awhile. He's just one of those upbeat little guys that loves to eat grass, be in the sun, and have a good time."